Most of the Vietnamese food fans in my life fit squarely into two camps: pho devotees and bánh mì aficionados.
While I appreciate both in their finest forms, I typically look at another part of the menu when I'm lucky enough to be dining on Vietnamese fare -- I am transfixed by the búns.
For those of you not familiar, a bún is a bowl stuffed with cool rice vermicelli, chopped lettuce, mint leaves, pickled carrots and daikon, sliced cucumbers, scallion, flash-fried shallots, and peanuts -- then topped with a variety of different lemongrass-scented, grilled meats and/or a crisp spring roll. Douse it with a vinaigrette spiked with fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, and hot chiles, toss it about, and grab a pair of chopsticks.
Yum doesn't come close to describing it.
Have yet to find a New York City go-to when I need to get a fix, so I've been counting on trips to Philadelphia and San Francisco to get my bún on. The superb specimen pictured above is from one of fave spots in SF called Tin.
Already dreaming of a January visit to Philly, and one in February to San Francisco.
If rail and air miles are necessary to get me my bún bliss, so be it!