Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Public Service Announcement. No more... no less.

See the picture above? This is the most perfect bowl of food. It is nothing fancy. It is nothing that unusual. It is perfect. Do you ever have a bite of something and it reminds you so strongly of something from your past. For me it is a weird one (go figure). The smell of limes and mint are just magical in my book. The smell of limes and tequila too but I will save that for another time. Limes in Mexican food, Limes in Asian food. It reminds me of something. Mint does the same to me.

This bowl of perfection is Bun. The recipe came from Charles Phan. One bite of this food and the flavor punches you in the kisser and makes you fall in love. Be careful who you are dinning with...

Vermicelli (Bun) Bowls

Rice Noodles, cooked, drained, and cooled
Pickled carrots (recipe below)
Shredded lettuce
Spearmint sprigs
Cilantro sprigs
Grilled Shrimp (recipe below)

Put it all in a bowl and sprinkle special fish sauce (recipe below) on it.

Simple Grilled Shrimp

1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbl kosher salt
1 Tbl minced garlic
1-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbl canola oil
1 lb medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. In a medium bowl combine sugar, salt, garlic and black pepper. Pour 3/4 cup of hot water over the mixture and stir until sugar and salt dissolve completely. Stir in the oil and let cool to room temp.

2. Prepare a medium-hot fire for direct heat grilling in a charcoal grill. Add shrimp to cooled liquids. Toss to coat and then transfer to grill.

Pickled Carrots

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 kosher salt
1/2 cup peeled and finely julienned carrots

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add carrots and let stand at least 20 minutes before serving. If not using right away, cover an refrigerate for up to a week. Drain the carrots well before using.

Flavored Fish Sauce

1/2 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 to 2 thai chiles, stemmed and minced

In a small bowl, combine fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add garlic and chilies and stir to combine. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

This concludes my public service announcement.


  1. I could subsist completely on bun. Lately we've been heading to Randolph on IKEA date nights (so much better than Home Depot date nights), and stopping by Pho So Boston 1 for Pho (him) and Bun (me). I'm a sucker for the beef kind, but should probably branch out to some seafood. Of all the places I miss in San Francisco, Slanted Door is near the top for being able to eat a bowl of bun with beef and imperial rolls overlooking the water, with some iced Vietnamese coffee, and eavesdropping on my neighbors. Sigh.

  2. I love Vietnamese food. I am homesick for the bay area. We must be related ;--)

  3. How did I miss this???? You wrote something and I wasn't informed. Oh the horror. But, here I am late to the party yet present nonetheless. You can't get rid of me that easily. I've never had bun. I don't know why that's the case, but I'm going to rectify that right away. All the ingredients I need (shrimp and Thai chiles) are on the grocery list.

    Oh yeah, and yes, smell is a huge memory nudger for me. It usually a good thing....sometimes not so much. :)