Bun Mam Saigon (Vermicelli noodle fish sauce)

Bun Mam (vermicelli noodle fish sauce) is a robust and glorious Vietnamese soup, especially in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the south, which is packed with contrasting textures, colors, and flavors. Bun Mam challenges your taste buds with its excellent combination of these elements: sour, dark, vibrant, pungent, fishy, sweet, crunchy, and silky.

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Bun mam (vermicelli noodle fish sauce) is a southern Vietnamese dish that is claimed to have originated in the Mekong Delta's Soc Trang Province. To the south of Saigon, this enormous territory is flat, flooded, and fruitful. It is here that a substantial portion of Vietnam's rice, seafood, fruit, and vegetables are grown. In many ways, a bowl of Bun Mam is a good cross-section of all this produce: it's the "Mekong in a bowl."

Bun mam is a southern Vietnamese cuisine that may be found in both sit-down restaurants and portable street food booths around town, just like most other noodle soups. Bun mam isn't subtle: it's robust and confronting, with each flavor and texture vying for dominance over your taste. Because of the density of bun mam, you'll learn something new every time you use it.

Any bowl of bun mam starts with a dark colored broth made with fermented fish sauce (which I believe is similar to Thai pla ra).

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The fermented fish sauce lends a well-rounded, balanced flavor to the soup broth, and it's not quite as fishy as it sounds or smells.

Bun, or rice vermicelli noodles, are poured into the bottom of the bowl with the broth before the complete range of meats, such as squid, prawns, and pig, is scattered on top.

Finally, a piece or two of eggplant, which absorbs all of the broth, is a must-have addition to any bowl of southern Vietnamese bun mam.

In a bowl of bun mam's broth, it's generally sweetened with tamarind juice and sugar, in addition to the delicious fish flavor.

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Leading Bun Mam Eateries in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC):

Bun Mam 6 Ken – 412 Nhat Tao street, Ward 6, District 10, HCMC, Vietnam
Bun Mam Mien Tay – 29 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Ward 2, District 3, HCMC, Vietnam
Bun Mam Phuong – Alley 251 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Ward 2, District 3, HCMC, Vietnam
Bun Mam Cho Ban Co – 666 Nguyen Dinh Chieu street, Ward 3, District 3, HCMC, Vietnam
Bun Mam Phan Boi Chau – 22 Phan Boi Chau road, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam

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