By Tristan Ngo
Not only does Vietnamese cuisine taste fabulous, but the fresh vegetables, herbs and other ingredients used to make it has led many to consider it one of the healthiest in the world.
I love Vietnamese food, but like everything else, you’ve got to know where to go to find the good stuff. My suggestion is to go where the locals go. Most often you will not find the real deal in a fancy restaurant, but rather at small restaurants and street vendors.
I have always found it intriguing to search for these local gems, and they motivate me to try my hand at making and introducing good, local and popular (meaning common) daily cuisine.
Located adjacent to the HTV television station in alley 12 off of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in District 1, Bun bo ‘without a name’ (no that’s not the name of the place, it really doesn’t have a name) is a good place to start for some quality, local food.
After turning down the alley, make a left at the first, smaller alley about 25 metres before the end of the cul de sac. It is the only food stand sitting in front of house number 12/12 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai. Here you’ll find a mom-and-son shop run by Hanh and Hao, respectively. This modest bun bo stand is breezy and clean with only four tables and at times even fewer chairs.
Bun bo is a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli (bun) and beef. Instead of pig knuckles or oxtail, Hanh and Bao serve their bun bo rendition like pho, with thinly-sliced beef shank and beef tendon. The soup is mild yet well-seasoned and fragrant with diced green onions, raw onion slices, ginger, basil, persicaria (rau ram) and Vietnamese long coriander (ngo gai).
Just add a dash of lime or chilli if you want an extra kick. Other condiments commonly served with bun bo include thinly-sliced banana blossom, sawtooth herb and bean sprouts.
Open Monday to Friday, 6am to 1pm
VND 30,000 for a bowl
Tristan Ngo is the chef and owner of The Elbow Room and Skewers, two popular restaurants in District 1. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.