Long Phung : Bun Thit Nuong Hits the Spot


I worked late tonight. Had no dinner and there’s nothing in the refridgerator. I’m hungry. Make that SUPER hungry. Now if there’s something I’ve learnt in all my years of unsuccessful dieting, is that when a greedy girl gets no dinner, she becomes an angry girl.

But if angry girl wants to eventually be a slim girl, then angry girl better stay away from carbs at midnight. So instead, I shall take comfort in the mouth-watering memory of the Bun Thit Nu’ong I tried at Phung Long. Maybe it will help…

Cold rice vermicelli mixed tossed with fresh julienned cucumber, carrot, romaine lettuce, bean sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro and covered with slightly sweet barbequed pork. Each heaped chopstick is dipped into the accompanying dipping sauce, Nuoc Mam Cham.

Eating a moutful of this is almost like slurping up a taste of summer. The crunch of the vegetables and the aroma of the herbs blending wonderfully with the smoothness of the bun (vermicelli) and the salty-tangy sauce…and the lovely grilled pork…who could miss taking a bite of warm, tender, sweet meat?

Nuoc Mam Cham that coats each mouthful of this fresh dish is a combination of 2 words. Nuoc Mam is fish sauce, and Cham, I was surprised to discover, is the Cantonese word for dip. This isn’t so surprising considering Vietnam’s socio-political history has always been closely tied to China -since their occupation of Vietname centuries ago. Mandarin and other Chinese dialects are still widely spoken there and many words have their roots in Chinese.

In one form or another, many Vietnamese meals are eaten with this ubiquitous dipping sauce, and I can see why. It’s a heady mixture of fish sauce (nuoc mam), water, sugar, lime juice/vinegar and crushed chilli and garlic. What’s there not to like about it??

Only drawback is that the Nuoc Mam Cham isn’t the best at Phung Long, and that rather affects the entire dish. Mabye next time I should bring my own…

I included a recipe here (which I ‘borrowed’ from my new favourite Viet food blog ravenouscouple) but am told that adjustments are really up to personal taste. So mix away until you find something you like…

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon rice or plain vinegar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bird chilli
  • 3 clove of garlic, use more or less according to taste
  • ~1/8 cup fish sauce, adjust to taste
  • pickled carrots and daikon, optional.
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About Mizdee

Food, food, food. Apart from love, it's the other thing that makes the world go round. When I'm sad it's a comfort, when I'm happy it's a celebration and when I'm not hungry, it's just greediness. But hey! Why not? Life is short too pass up a good meal.

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