In our new Food Revolutionaries series, we ask influential London foodies what their favourite London dish is. To kick off, Vivi Pham, founder of foodie facebook, The [Foodies] Collective – London tells us what meal really floats her boat.
“Bun Bo Hue is the first dish that I ask my Vietnamese mum to specifically cook for me when I go home. So I’ d say that probably counts as my favourite dish (One of them at least…) To my great regret, Pho is usually the only soup that people know of when you ask them about Vietnamese food. But I don’t like Pho, I like Bun Bo Hue.
The literal translation of “Bun Bo Hue” is easy: vermicelli rice noodles (Bun), beef (Bo) and Hue, a main city in central Vietnam. Why do I like it? Maybe, because of where it comes from, it might actually be genetic, somehow written in my DNA as my mum comes from that region in Vietnam.
The mix of flavours is overwhelming. I like the mild spiciness of the chillies balanced with the freshness of the lime, lemongrass and coriander. What I also love about this dish is the chilli paste, a sort of chutney made of lemongrass, chillies, tomato paste, garlic and onions that you add to the soup. The best part of the meal is to dip it with some French baguette. I have the “bad” habit to sneakily do that with my brother even when the meal is not yet ready with my mum being crossed whilst also smirking at us. That’s really why I would say that it is my favourite dish. It is much, if not all, about the memories it brings back to me when I eat it.
So next time you go for Vietnamese food, please do me a favour and order Bun Bo Hue, you will enjoy and always remember it!”