More Bad Bún Chả in Saigon – 325 of 365

Bún Chả in Saigon

Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Albert Einstein had this concept figured out nicely in his quote there.  Why can’t I seem to learn what he found to be so evident?  A decent bún chả just does not exist in Saigon so why do I subject myself to the insanity of eating bowl after insipid bowl of crap in hopes of finding something close to its wonderful Hanoi brethren?

My latest gastronomical calamity occurred down an alley of Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1 at a place called Bún Chả Ha Noi of all things.  Right there in the shadows of Pizza Hut, Indian and Italian joints I thought a crowded bún chả shop might hold the keys to everything about this food I have been craving.  In case you haven’t figured it out from past meals, bún chả is probably my all time favorite food in Vietnam, and eating a proper portion of it in Hanoi is best described as a foodgasm.

This lunch proved anything but a foodgasm though.  Actually I don’t even think it excited any of my senses.  First off, the broth was not a properly sweetened fish sauce concoction.  This one tasted more of warm vinegar.  What would normally be classified as soft, nicely charred slices of pork belly were tough and unseasoned.  Let’s just leave it at that.  Less is definitely more when it comes to certain things in life, i.e. describing bad food.

Bún Chả

The round ground pork medallions accompanying the slices generally are my absolute favorite part of a proper bún chả.  They melt in your mouth and the outer crispy edges are caramelized to perfection.  Oh wait a minute.  That’s in Hanoi…not here.  These tasted like some sort of microwaved junk taken from the freezer section of a grocery store.  The meat was spongy much like when a vegetable burger is overnuked in the radiation box.  Even the noodles hit my tongue with some sourness I have been told is the telltale sign of inferior quality rice vermicelli.  Troi oi!!!

My first clue of impending dining disaster should have been the lack of a grill blocking the sidewalk and sending copious plumes of dense, oil smoke into the air like some sort of smoke signal that an amazing meal is at the end of those fragrant wisps.  All I know is that I need the real deal at least one more time before I leave Vietnam later this fall.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

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