The Vietnamese Dishes That Anthony Bourdain Fell in Love with

13 June 2018

Anthony Bourdain was an incredible chef and a witty, honest writer beloved by many. Not only known for his culinary adventures, Bourdain set an example for many food connoisseur on how to approach another culture and its cuisine with grace, understanding, respect and appreciation. Everywhere he goes, Bourdain spends much time befriending and talking to the local, working people. In remembrance of Anthony Bourdain and his legacy, let’s take a look at the Vietnamese dishes that he enjoyed very much.

Bun Cha

Bun cha is a Hanoi specialty that everyone needs to try when they visit the capital, and Anthony Bourdain isn’t an exception. In 2016, Bourdain introduced this dish to President Obama upon their visit, and Obama fondly recalled this memory in a recent Tweet of his:

Bun cha comprises of fresh vermicelli, grilled pork, fresh vegetables and herbs all dipped in a light fish sauce concoction. The dish is both light, refreshing yet flavorful.

Bun oc (Snail vermicelli)

No need for luxury, Anthony Bourdain often feels more comfortable and relaxed sitting on the sidewalk. He promptly enjoyed a bowl of snail vermicelli from a vendor on Luong Ngoc Quyen street that has been in operation for more than a decade.

Photos of Anthony Bourdain sitting on a low plastic chair slurping on a bowl of noodles on the crowded street have made an immediate impression of his casualness and friendliness. His description of snail vermicelli, a signature Hanoi dish: "hot spicy broth mixed with the flavor of tomato, fresh vegetables, vermicelli and fresh snails" is enough to make many people crave and want to try it.

Banh Mi

Banh mi has long been a famous Vietnamese dish for international food lovers. With someone as passionate about street food as Bourdain, he surely wouldn’t have missed this iconic dish. 

The banh mi place that Bourdain visited was called Banh Mi Phuong, located in Hoi An. Prior to Bourdain’s visit, this banh mi vendor has long been popular with the locals for the exceptional quality and the variety of the ingredients such as Vietnamese meatloaf (cha), lap xuong (Chinese sausage), ham, pate, sausage, cheese, bacon etc. along with many types of vegetables, herbs, pickles and their signature homemade sauce.

After enjoying an authentic Vietnamese banh mi, chef Bourdain had been obsessed with this basic, affordable yet flavorful dish. 

Hue’s Com Hen (Mussel Rice)

Participating in CNN's famous Travel and Dining program, Paris Unknown, Anthony made the trip to Hue to record and enjoy many delicious dishes. One of the special dishes this famous chef cherish is mussel rice.

Bourdain said that the mussel rice with a lot of ingredients make the flavor not only diverse but also extremely special. Apart from rice and mussel, the main ingredients also comprise of peanuts, satay, spring onion in oil, french fried onion, banana flower, bean sprouts and herbs. In addition, the special mam nem with its rich flavor makes the dish many times more delicious.

Bun suon

Hearing about the “cursing” vermicelli place in Ngo Si Lien street, Dong Da district (Hanoi), Anthony and CNN did not hesitate to make a short report on the dish as well as this special culinary culture.
The chef, Anthony Bourdain, also humorously said, "We accept hearing scolds just to enjoy this dish." After enjoying bun suon, chef Bourdain also praised and said that the taste of vermicelli here is very good. "A bowl of hot noodles with spicy chilli fish sauce, bone marrow broth and pork leg meat, all combined to create a great taste," said Anthony Bourdain.

Lang Co Town - A perfect escape for the summer

The small Lang Co town in Phu Loc District, Thua Thien – Hue Province is located on the root of the imposing Hai Van mountain range. With long beach sloping gently to the pure water sea, Lang Co is a quiet note for a summer escape.