There is no doubt that Pho is the dominator of noodle nosh in Hanoi. It's everybody's comfort soup, swilled morning, noon and night but there's more than one type of carbohydrate thread to be had here. Bun is a more tubular shaped rice noodle in contrast to the flat filament that is pho. It is just as often eaten out of soup as in, in dishes like Bun Cha (still in the sticky pipeline!).
Bun Rieu translates into bloody tasty sour crab soup. This soup fill station is chockers at half eleven, with all-comers knocking back the wet stuff. The whacky worse for wear signage reckons they do Bun Dau, too, but in two years of frequent swallowing here, I've witnessed few diverge from the soup.
Get an eyeful of the vessel of vibrant colour above and it's no wonder! The basic dish is flash-dunked bun, topped with a tablespoon of bashed up crab mince paste, ladles of crab and tomato stock and....add whatever you fancy from the glass cabinet of goodies. Select from pressed porky sausagy things (nem), snails (oc), fried tofu pillows or beef and spruice it up with a good measure of chili. Herb clippings aplenty are provided to pile on top. The plastic gloved server will ask you upon ordering if you want purple poison (fermented shrimp sauce). I can handle it dissolved in a soup, just not as a dipping sauce. Mix it in well!
This stuff is hearty, loaded with flavour and heat. One final comment: don't think that the plastic gloves are part of a hygiene push as unfortunately the same gloved mitt seizes dirty dong. But the soup's still good and I suppose the fact that the glove is on is a sign of raised awareness.Glove Grab
Two bowls, lots of extras, and two iced teas - 22,000VND (USD$1.40, AUD$1.80)
20 Thi Sach, Hanoi