Hue Gourmet

Good eating in the Valley of the Sun
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

Well, that was a heck of a feast yesterday, and I can't think of a better way to kick off a thread for one of my favorite places.

I've been hitting Hue Gourmet pretty routinely for about a year and a half now, and it might be my favorite Vietnamese joint in town. This is a humble establishment, a stall in the food court at Mekong Plaza, and it specializes in the foods of Huế, which is located in central Vietnam. This dictates that the menu is very different from the other Vietnamese restaurants in town in terms of composition. That it differs from most in terms of quality as well is an unrelated but happy benefit.

Lan, who runs the place, was an engineer in a previous life, but changed careers out of passion, and the passion shows. I'm continually impressed by the attention to detail in her food, which is almost always shockingly on point despite the humble surroundings. Again, it's a stall in a food court. One of the side benefits of which is that it's extremely inexpensive. Though I think a couple of dishes didn't make it to our bill (intentionally), the following feast ended up costing $8 per person.
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Bánh Bèo
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First off was Bánh Bèo, a special request of Christina's that didn't require much convincing on my part. I love these. They're steamed rice cakes -- mildly flavored with a pleasantly gelatinous texture -- that are topped with salty dried and ground shrimp, and little crisps of fried pork skin. Hue Gourmet serves them either spread out on a platter, or as they are here, in little individual dishes about two inches across. A little splash of nước chấm (seasoned fish sauce) and you're good to go. Having these over at Com Tam Thuan Kieu -- also in Mekong Plaza -- and then here is a great head-to-head comparison that demonstrates the difference between what Lan's doing and a lot of other places in town. And as an example of attention to detail, most places will buy packaged chicharrones and crumble them over the top. Lan dices and fries pork skin herself -- for that tiny 5mm cube that sits on top. She insists the texture isn't quite right on the packaged stuff.
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Bánh Lọc Trần
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Hue Gourmet does a lot of catering, and this is one of the special order items they do in bulk for pickup. When I asked about trying the Bánh Lọc Trần for this feast, Lan kind of cocked an eyebrow and said, "You sure? They're really chewy." They were, indeed, as billed. These are, I think, made with cassava, and the result is something of a workout for your jaw. Not at all unpleasant, but not something I'd go back for if not for the burst of flavor waiting inside, a small, whole, shell-on shrimp surrounded by some kind of pork paste. It's like you're chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing, BAM, there it is. It's sweet with big flavor, and a tiny bit of crunch from the shirmp shell.
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Chả Huế
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This is where I need to brush up on my Vietnamese culinary history. Did pates like this exist in Vietnam before the French? In any case, these are slices of Chả Huế, a very finely textured pork-based pate that I thought had a really pleasant flavor, and a springy, moist consistency not unlike a good, fresh mortadella. In addition to the meat, I got hints of lemongrass, fish sauce and pepper. If you've had your share of banh mi, you've probably had something similar sliced on a sandwich before. But it's nice to appreciate a piece all on its own.
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Nem Chua Huế - Wrapped
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I didn't recognize the Nem Chua Huế at first. It's one of my favorites, but I've only ever seen it cut into small cubes and wrapped in cellophane. When you open the packets, you get this:
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Nem Chua Huế
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It's basically an extremely fresh cured meat -- bordering on raw. Ground pork is mixed with slivered pork skin, chiles, garlic, fish sauce, pepper and maybe another item or two, to which is added a seasoning mix that includes curing salts. The mix sours the meat and cures it, and in a few days it's ready for eating. The texture is that of a moist, dense sausage, but the freshness of the pork and the sourness gives it a very raw-tasting character. And it's that slivered pork skin, exit2lef, that led you to believe there were noodles involved. The skin is cut like a very fine noodle, so that you get an almost vermicelli feel when eating it. With the whole slices of chile and garlic, when you hit those parts the fireworks commence. I've eaten this one a lot -- it's one of my favorites -- and Lan's is an exceptionally delicate and nicely balanced version thereof. I wonder if she does her own curing mix -- it would seem in character for her, and would explain why this one tastes different from the crowd. I should ask. In any case, the Nem Chua is always available, though I think the banana leaf-wrapped version is a special order item.
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Tôm Chua
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The Tôm Chua is one I'd been meaning to try forever. It's sometimes available without a special order, sometimes not. It's a sort of fermented shrimp dish, though that lend the impression that it's funkier than it is. It's pretty clean-tasting, actually, though strong and a little fiery. Shrimp is mixed with galangal, chiles, garlic, some sort of flour paste, curing salts (I think) and other aromatics -- secret recipe type stuff -- and over time it creates a bold but well-rounded flavor, and softens the shrimp shells to make them completely edible. Then it's mixed with sliced pork belly -- steamed, I think? -- and you get this result, which is really quite delicious.
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Fixin's for Wrapping
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It's often/usually served inside a roll, and though Lan offered to bring them out pre-wrapped for us, I figured it'd be fun to get our hands dirty a little bit, wrapping them in rice paper with lettuce, cucumber, mint and rice noodles.
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Cuốn Tôm Chua -- Wrapped and... Wrapped
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Some of us were more successful than others. Those who produced these shall remain nameless to protect the roll-challenged.
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Bánh Tôm Chiên
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This was pretty straightforward and really delicious. It's a fried cake with whole shrimp and shredded sweet potato, all mixed into a batter. It was crisp and sweet and the cake portion had a wonderfully light texture, and in another example of attention to detail, this wasn't served with the same nước chấm, but rather a different one that was slightly sweeter and slightly spicier. So many places throw the same one out there for every dish. Lan's tweaking it where appropriate. In a food court.
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Bún Bò Huế
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Bún Bò Huế is pretty well-known, even if it hurts me to see it referred to as "spicy phở," as though all Vietnamese soups are variations on phở. It's a pork-based soup, heavy on lemongrass and quite spicy, with a thicker, round noodle. There's usually a big, bony chunk of some cut of pork, slices of pate, cubes of congealed pork blood and a lot of aromatics involved as well, and like phở, it's served with a plate of fresh additions that I forgot to photograph -- shredded banana blossom, cabbage, bean sprouts, perilla, lime, etc. There's also a dab of shrimp paste in a tiny plastic cup that you can add to taste to give it some more depth and oomph. For me, the paste is mandatory. It's just a question of how much. I love this soup. it's deep and bold and spicy and Lan makes a killer version.
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Cơm Hến
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When you go searching for special foods from Huế, this is always at or near the top of the list. And I love this dish. Simply translated as "Clam Rice," it's a crazy symphony of textures. I can only begin to name what's in here. There's broken rice at the bottom, but then there are peanuts, chunks of some kind of sesame brittle, more sesame in the form of those large crackers that you break apart before mixing in, numerous shredded vegetables and herbs, slices of fresh green apple (a substitute, I believe, for starfruit -- she has trouble finding good ones), tiny baby clams... there's more. So you mix this all up, and there's a small bowl of hot, briny, intense clam broth on the side that you use to moisten it, and then you dig in. It's just this crazy mix of flavors and textures, all anchored by this fabulous, salty clam broth. This is one of my favorites, and I've never seen it anywhere else in town.
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Bánh Pâté Chaud
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French influence in the house, here. Though this was actually one of my least favorites of the bunch.
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Bánh Pâté Chaud -- Sliced
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The filling is pork-based, and I can't remember what the other elements were. Just a tender, flavorful meatball surrounded by a passable puff pastry. Nothing not to like here. But somehow less exciting to me than that which came before.
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Agar Agar with Strawberries and Kiwi
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Lan threw in a couple of desserts as well. The first was perhaps more visually stunning than it was enjoyable. It's a light and fruity agar agar concoction with chunks of strawberry and kiwi suspended within. Light and refreshing, yes, but not a favorite of mine.
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Sweet Rice Porridge
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This one seemed to go over a lot better with the crowd. It was a sweet rice porridge of sorts, and you'd use sesame crackers to dip and eat. It had a kind of cream of wheat consistency, and I found it simple and delicious.

$8 per person. Let me reiterate. $8 per person. Like I say, I think there were a couple of items that didn't make it to the bill, but if everything had been meticulously counted, I don't think there's any way we could have broken $12. Frankly, it feels like we got away with something.

And that's that! I've probably mangled some names and details here and there. Hopefully somebody with more Vietnamese experience than me will offer corrections where appropriate. I love this place. I love it more and more every time I go. I'm pretty sure we were the first party of ten that Lan's ever had to deal with, and it was a bit of a challenge at times getting everything out and served to everybody. Unfortunately, that made it a little tough to focus on the food at times, but that's ordinarily not an issue. And foodwise, this lunch was on -- everything was as I've come to expect it. And there's more -- I have a backlog of stuff to write about here. I'm strongly of the opinion that Hue Gourmet is really special and deserving of more attention.

Hue Gourmet
www.huegourmet.com
Mekong Plaza
66 S. Dobson Road
Mesa, AZ 85202
480-251-7429
Dominic Armato
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chrislee
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7 years ago

I am sad beyond belief that I couldn't make this one. Just couldn't do the 2 pm time slot. Been meaning to get here forever. I love the budget numbers! We'll be ferrying the family out there very soon! Thanks for the write up, Dom!
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7 years ago

Me too chrislee! Let's call do-over and tell Lan, "What Dom ordered, please." Can you do Tuesday midday? Or are they open in the evening -- Lee/Carnie clan dinner? -- with Auntie Mari tagging along, of course. You can even have my share of Bun Bo Hue. ;)
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

Just an FYI, I planned this for a day when she had large orders for most of the special order items, which made it easy for her to do some extra for us. This exact same menu on a different day might be a big imposition. If you want to try some of the special order stuff, I'd feel her out and see what she has orders for that day. Or just be aware that small batches of a large number of special items could potentially be difficult, depending on what her large order schedule is like that week.

Also, based on how this one went, I don't know that I'd try to bring such a large group there again all at once. It's a counter service food court stand, and they were clearly struggling with the logistics of a lot of people all eating the same thing all at once -- dealing with cups, bowls, spoons, etc. If I were to do this again, I think I'd probably limit it to about six.

Just a couple of suggestions based on our experience yesterday.

'Course, if you have an extra seat, I'd be happy to plan another :-)
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7 years ago

I would have to say there was nothing aside from the desserts that I was not very happy with.
The Pate and the Cuốn Tôm Chua were probably my least favorite.
The most enjoyable item for me was probably the Cơm Hến, with the battle for second being a race between Bánh Bèo, Bánh Lọc Trần, or Bánh Tôm Chiên.

Of note is how spicy (in a completely excellent way) the Nem Chua Huế were. The extra Bánh Lọc Trần came in handy to cool your mouth off as the resulting heat building in your mouth over the next several minutes. (I guess I liked this more than I thought I did, so maybe this was my second fav with the grouping in third)

Bánh Tôm Chiên tasted a bit of BBQ and I felt really was a nice addition to the flavor of the item.

Last thing I would mention is that their Lime-Aid was tasty though I am a bit regretful I did not try the Artichoke Tea like Dom and Christina did (which I think was the only item he neglected to describe).
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

M_L wrote:Last thing I would mention is that their Lime-Aid was tasty though I am a bit regretful I did not try the Artichoke Tea like Dom and Christina did (which I think was the only item he neglected to describe).
Ooooh, the artichoke tea! How did I forget about that? (Nevermind... I know... no photo :-/)

That was definitely a new experience, and a happy one, though I can't say it's likely to be something I'll be going back for often. I guess I expected it to have just a tiny hint of artichoke. Not so much. It really tasted like artichoke. Plus sugar. I probably would have enjoyed it more had it been colder. Artichoke? Refreshing? Sure, why not?
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AZLobo
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7 years ago

Skillet Doux wrote:Artichoke? Refreshing? Sure, why not?
Exactly what I said when I first discovered Cynar.
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7 years ago

I went back to Hue Gourmet today, wanting to refresh my memory about a couple of things before writing about them, and man, I remembered this one being good, but not THIS good:
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Bánh Canh Cua
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This is Bánh Canh Cua, a crab soup from central Vietnam. It's a viscous broth, made so by the flour coating the noodles that you can't really see here in the opaque soup. It may not look like much, but man, this stuff is fabulously delicious. The noodles are thick, resembling udon but shorter, and not made with wheat. They aren't super chewy, so I'm thinking it's a rice/tapioca blend rather than pure tapioca. In any case, they're cut to order, and they have a nice slippery texture and a little bit of chew. The broth is primarily crab-based with a little bit of pork, and all kinds of other stuff going on -- I have no idea. There are big chunks of lump crabmeat, hard-cooked quail eggs that are still soft in the center, and shrimp that are just barely cooked -- still just a touch sticky. A little dash of fish sauce, some fresh herbs -- this is some seriously killer stuff, and after today's lunch it's jumped into the upper echelon of my favorite dishes at Hue Gourmet.
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7 years ago

This sounds incredible Dom. I was already hungry and now I am starving.
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

I forgot to post about another new (to me) dish we had with the Bánh Canh Cua early this week.
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Bánh Bao
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This fellow is Bánh Bao, and it's larger than it looks. Perhaps six inches in diameter? LIke a softball. The Chinese influence here is obvious. The bread is yeasty and just a little sweet, and the pork filling has chunks of carrot, peas, part of a hard cooked egg, and lots and lots and lots of black pepper. Seriously, a ton of black pepper. Between the Chinese-style bread and the abundance of black pepper, I'm guessing this is probably a northern dish, but I don't know that for a fact. I have no frame of reference -- this was my first -- but I thought it was pretty darn good, warm and comforting. And predictably dense and filling. Good stuff.
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Dapuma
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6 years ago

We made it to Hue Gourmet a week ago and tried the Bun Bo Hue (very good) and the Spicy Crab soup (the name escapes me), which was tomato based, a bit acidic / Tomatoey for the summer, but pretty good - also had the rice circles with the cracklin on them (more cracklin!) they were great - just dont tell my wife I didn't type out the proper names for those last two items :mrgreen:
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6 years ago

I've been to Hue Gormet twice now.

The first visit was kind of like a drive by tasting while after eating at Taiwan Express. I really didn't know what to order, so I ended up with the Bánh Bèo, Steamed Pork in Banana leafs, and then the sticky rice balls with shrimp in the middle(Sorry I forget all the actual names.) The Bánh Bèo rice cakes were tasty, and had a nice flavor of shrimp and fish sauce, but they came in an order of 10, I think, and I could only eat a few before being done. The Steamed Pork was very simple, and tasted just like plain, slightly peppery, steamed pork meat. I kind of wish I had gone with the cured pork instead for a bit more of an interesting experience. Finally the shrimp inside chewy sticky rice dough was not my favorite. Maybe a bit too texturally challenging and shrimpy for my taste.

Luckily, my second visit was with Dominic and my Vietnamese friend Van-Lam, and I let them do most of the driving as far as what food was ordered. Dom might have to hop in to provide details of the dishes, but overall, the dishes we tasted were much more to my liking. We started off with some tasty cooked rice cakes topped with shrimp, to which we added pickled veggies, herbs and sauce and then ate with a lettuce leaf. I could eat these little treats all day long.

We moved on to three soup dishes which we shared. The first and most mild was a Duck dish, with thin rice noodles. I'm a big fan of duck, and although the dish was good, the broth was very mild and the duck was boiled and sliced so we didn't get any of the crispy skin. Side by side comparison to the Duck Special soup #5 from UnPhoGettable and i'll take UnPhoGettable's every time.

I'm forgetting the second soup we tried, except the thick home-made noodles, crunchy onions and the more flavorful broth. I remember it being good, but not as memorable as the other two.

The last soup was the Bún Bò Huế, which they also serve at UnPhoGettable (#1 Regional soup, I think). It was nice to have a point of reference. Hue Gourmet's did not disappoint. Spicy full flavored broth, with more fresh herbs than UPGs. The thicker noodles and thin sliced meat were terrific. I could go either way on the pork blood cubes. They don't really add much in my opinion. I felt the soup was lacking just a touch of depth when Dom realized they hadn't given us any shrimp paste on the side. A dab of the stinky stuff was just what the soup needed to give it that extra dimension.

I need to go back to UnPhoGettable to be sure, but I think I give the slight edge for Bún Bò Huế to Huế Gourmet.

Really glad Dom talked me into giving Huế Gourmet another shot. Second meal was terrific and looking forward to more treats in the future.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

ScottofStrand wrote:We started off with some tasty cooked rice cakes topped with shrimp, to which we added pickled veggies, herbs and sauce and then ate with a lettuce leaf. I could eat these little treats all day long.
Those are the Bánh Khọt...
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Bánh Khọt
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...which are basically like bánh xèo, the pancakes you see at a lot of Vietnamese restaurants, except they're cooked on a griddle with rounded pits for individual pieces. I really like these. I find they tend to have a greater textural contrast -- between the crisp bottom and the puffy center -- because of the cooking method. Plus, the individual ones are just kinda fun. Wrap 'em in a lettuce leaf, add some pickles, a couple of mint leaves, a splash of sauce... pop the whole thing in your mouth. Love it.
ScottofStrand wrote:We moved on to three soup dishes which we shared. The first and most mild was a Duck dish, with thin rice noodles. I'm a big fan of duck, and although the dish was good, the broth was very mild and the duck was boiled and sliced so we didn't get any of the crispy skin. Side by side comparison to the Duck Special soup #5 from UnPhoGettable and i'll take UnPhoGettable's every time.
That's the Bún Vịt Xáo Măng...
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Bún Vịt Xáo Măng
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This is one where I really love the gentle flavor. It's mellow, but it's got a fabulous, light flavor. I'll have to give UnPhoGettable's a try.
ScottofStrand wrote:I'm forgetting the second soup we tried, except the thick home-made noodles, crunchy onions and the more flavorful broth. I remember it being good, but not as memorable as the other two.
That was the Bánh Canh Cua, pictured above.

I'm really glad you enjoyed your second pass more. Incidentally, I finally remembered to grab a menu. Lan says it isn't complete, but I think most of the stuff is on there. PDF attached below.
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Dominic Armato
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chrislee
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6 years ago

So after the triathlon today, we were dehydrated & were thinking soup. So of course we headed down to Hue Gourmet. Was Heather, myself & the kids.

We did 2 orders of the Bánh Bèo (the rice coins) as the kids love these, 1 order of the Bánh Khọt (the mini pancakes) as Hayden, Heather and I love these, Cơm Hến (clam rice) for the first time (unfortunately Lan didn't have the rice so we got rice noodles - still great but had already been sold in the dish description), a special of the day soup (had ground soft shell crab, meatloaf, pork & tons of stuff along with thin noodles, a lovely tomato based broth and wedges of tomatoes), and the Bánh Canh Cua (hand cut noodle soup with real crab & shrimp).

It was the Bánh Canh Cua that I was really craving after the race as it looked wonderful and the description sounded amazing. It so, so, so did not disappoint. I am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with this soup. It 2 big shrimp and some chunks of raw crab that basically get cooked in the soup. Also some hard boiled quail eggs. And I love the noodles. We've been trying to avoid wheat so these were perfect. Thick rice/tapioca-like noodles (like Dom said). Perfect thing to quench the persistent thirst. A bit of spice, some salt. This is also going to be perfecto when it gets cold. I'll be heading back here especially for this soup again & again. It's not THAT far from my work so in addition to family trips, I will be sneaking some solo lunches for it. I probably cave on the Bánh Khọt too as I can't resist them.

Yum!!!
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6 years ago

Whoa, man, killer bowl of soup from Hue Gourmet today. The Doux Drop is still on the mend but I needed a couple of things for dinner the next couple of nights, so we did a surgical strike at the market and I grabbed some Bun Bo Hue to go.

Seriously, when it's on (which is usually is) this might be my favorite bowl of soup in the city. Interestingly, for the first time today they asked me if I wanted it spicy or not. I'm wondering if they've had any issues with folks drawn in by the New Times Best Of award. Though Lan told me business has been extremely good over the past few months, so that's very heartening. I'm also a little concerned that some people might not be getting this stuff as it should be, so I guess the moral is, ask for spicy when it comes to the Bun Bo Hue. Absolutely killer flavor, heat and funk with that sweet pork base, tons of fragrant lemongrass, no dumbing it down by taking out some of the cuts of meat... seriously killer bowl of soup today.

Some other interesting goings-on at the Mekong food court, but I'll post about that a little later.
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6 years ago

Another really good bowl of bun bo hue this past Friday, and courtesy of a friend, I got a taste of one of the few things on the menu I hadn't tried yet:
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Bánh Lọc Lá
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Bánh Lọc Lá - Unwrapped
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I think it's the same thing as the Bánh Lọc Trần, upthread, except wrapped in banana leaf. Which would make sense given the name. But it's seasoned, small head-on shrimp and a bit of crispy pork (skin?) suspended in a chewy tapioca dumpling. Same response as above -- a really chewy texture, then suddenly that burst of flavor inside, except I really enjoyed the floral scent imparted by the banana leaf. I might actually prefer this to the Bánh Lọc Trần.
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Dapuma
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5 years ago

Mrs D and Phi both loved the Bun Bo Hue we got earlier today

They confirmed we wanted it spicy but it was more like "Spicy right?" when ordering and it was quite tasty, a ton of meat, and lots of good odd bits in there

They offered a duck soup as well, we didnt go with it but then we were thinking we just wanted some duck and throw that in the bun bo hue and how awesome that would be with the broth - not sure if that is possible but duck is always good

Not that they dont give a lot of meat, because the brisket was really good in there, and they keep the tendon on the edge of the brisket (which is awesome)
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ScottofStrand
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5 years ago

I grabbed a Bun Bo Hue to-go from Hue Gourmet a couple days ago, while I was shopping at Mekong. Not only was it about 3 meals worth of food, but it was even better than I remember! So rich and deep in flavor with just enough funk. It was a great reminder that I need to get back here more often.
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Skillet Doux
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5 years ago

Ohhh, that was a fun lunch. I'm really looking forward to hearing everybody's thoughts on it. Most everything was on point. I thought the com hen was a little off on this trip. But everything else was sharp.

Sorry for a bit of over-reliance on glutinous rice with the starters. Unfortunately, they didn't have a couple of my favorites available on Friday -- no Banh Tom Chien or Banh Khot. Probably should have gotten some Nem Chua Hue for variety's sake... man, those little buggers are good. Anyway, a quick rundown of the ones I didn't forget to photograph:
huegourmetbanhlocla.jpg
Bánh Lọc Lá
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Same as pictured above. I'm thinking this must be a rice and tapioca mix. Seems to firm for just rice.
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Bánh Bèo
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These were on this visit. So, so good. Love the textures.
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Bánh Giò - Wrapped
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I did pick one that was new to me, and this was it. I've always seen the banh gio on the front counter, and never gotten around to trying one. These guys are pretty large -- like a softball.
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Bánh Giò - Unwrapped
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It's another glutinous rice item, but it's much more yielding than the others. It really falls apart easily, almost crumbling. I'm not quite sure how to describe the texture. The filling is ground pork, sliced woodear mushrooms, a hard-boiled egg, and jicama. And I really enjoyed this. It's much mellower than a lot of the other dishes. Almost earthy, and surprisingly delicate, since it looks like a massive rice bomb. Plus, the scent of the banana leaves works its way through the whole thing... it's great. It's wrapped in plastic in addition to the banana leaf, and I think they're meant to be brought home and steamed. They warmed ours before bringing it out.
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Mì Quảng
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I can't believe I didn't mention the mi quang upthread! Dishes like this are why I'm so loving Hue cuisine. This doesn't look like anything you get at the standard pho/com/bun houses. The noodles are egg noodles, scented with turmeric, and then there's a slew of toppings, like grilled shrimp, roasted pork, quail eggs, lettuce, shredded banana blossom, peanuts, bean sprouts, sesame crackers, and in the bottom, a rich, meaty gravy with Vietnamese aromatics. I think this was actually the best I've had it.

Not pictured are the Banh Canh Cua, Bun Bo Hue (I'm so annoyed that I forgot to add some shrimp paste before serving it up) and Com Hen... and maybe I forgot something else. Anyway, I'm really curious to hear what people liked.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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BarbaraToombs
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Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

5 years ago

That WAS a fun lunch! I'm completely ashamed I always shunned Vietnamese food because I thought it pretty much all had peanuts in it (I have a severe allergy, as most of you know). While there certainly are dishes I needed to avoid because of said peanuts, the stuff I could eat was wonderful. I would have probably never gone here on my own, which is what is so wonderful about the Food Nerd lunches! NOW I will go there...repeatedly!

I'm not going to bother to post any photos, as Dom's got them covered, but to summarize, my favorites were the Banh Beo a/k/a "shrimp coins" (how do you type those special characters, people??? Enlighten me), most definitely the Banh Canh Cua (that unbelievably delicious crab soup!), and the strange but infinitely tasty Banh Gio...those huge "pyramids."

Looking back over the previous posts here, I now want to try the Banh Tom Chien (the fried cake with shrimp & sweet potato), the Banh Pate Chaud (I know this wasn't one of your favs, Dom, but I'm still curious!), the Banh Bao (the softball-sized bread thing with pork filling), and for sure the Banh Khot (the cooked rice cakes topped with shrimp).

Anybody who wants to go again (or try for the first time), let me know--I'm IN! For a little "food court" place, this place is amazing! :)
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