Bánh Tằm Bì Pork Noodles With Coconut Sauce – 273 of 365

Bánh Tằm Bì

I received another Tweet about a recommendation for a great dinner, and off I went to Hai Ba Trung Street in search of a bowl of bánh tằm bì.  At the particular address any semblance of a restaurant was glaringly absent.  Walking up and down a side alley was the same, and I even showed the name to some random passersby who just shrugged their shoulders.  A woman who had parked her cigarette cart out front was about as close to a meal as this stretch of sidewalk came.  I got to thinking maybe things were locked up tight for the holiday.

For the second time in so many days I ventured back with my friend once again in tow, and all we could find was a shoe shop.  Even the cigarette lady had been replaced overnight by a banana man.  So what’s a guy to do when he wants a bowl of bánh tằm bì on Hai Ba Trung Street?  Good question.  I don’t know either.  If anyone finds out let me know because hardly anyone I asked knew of this dish or where to find it.  Since my journey for a bowl of this stuff had already crapped out twice, this mission to eat it took on even more urgency.

Inside the Market

The third day I figured Ben Thanh Market might be a good starting point since its collection of food stalls purvey just about anything found in southern Vietnam.  No, I don’t like going there because it doesn’t exude that gritty feel of a real Vietnamese back alley.  And yes, the market is a magnet for tourists and a mecca for annoying touts.  Nonetheless, I maneuvered through throngs of  both all the while wishing I had a sign hanging off me saying leave me alone, I live here, I know your tourist unfriendly tricks!

Somehow the wonder of all wonders happened.  The first market stall I walked up on miraculously had this dish on offer.  What amazing luck.  Bánh tằm bì at long last, and I must say this is an amazing one.

It’s like dessert and lunch wrapped into one.  Creamy sweet coconut sauce is ladled onto thick udon-like rice noodles.  Assorted herbs, peanuts, scallions and pork are tossed into the mix and a bit of sweetened fish sauce adds that down home Vietnamese flavor so necessary to round out a meal.  Some oily chili pepper paste kicked the tongue burn up a few rungs on the heat ladder.

Did I say how much I like this one?  Is there anything out there that doesn’t taste good with coconut of some sort? Add this one to my go to list of go to meals.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

3 Comments on “Bánh Tằm Bì Pork Noodles With Coconut Sauce – 273 of 365”

  1. no
    September 5, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    My wife said the one that you were looking for is actually on Phan Dinh Phung not Hai Ba Trung, just over the bridge to Phu Nhuan Dist.

  2. September 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    I will have to try that one, too in Phu Nhuan. The one I was looking for did exist at one time on Hai Ba Trung per a business card and pics of the place. It just closed before I could get there.

  3. September 21, 2012 at 3:27 am #

    Don’t know if you already know this but the dish is called bánh tằm because the noodle is shaped like a silkworm (tằm).

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