It was a warm, cloudy day. Few cars were on the road and every store was closed. So were restaurants, but not Vietnamese restaurants. We drove all the way down FM 1960 to Veteran Memorial, and pulled in the parking lot of Phở Danh (with the helpful hand signal of a Vietnamese gentleman, who just happened to stand there for no reason and apparently noticed my clumsy parking skill). But we went next door for Bún Bò Huế Cố Đô, since my mom spotted it out and we were in adventurous mood. There were as few people inside as cars on the road today. Everyone in the neighborhood seems to go to Phở Danh, cuz it’s bigger and more noticeable. We weren’t deterred. So how is Cố Đô?
My dad got the house specialty: bún bò Huế (Hue beef noodle). Rice noodle, beef, beef broth, (sounds like phở so far, isn’t it?), congealed blood, cha lua, a thick side cut of pig leg (not foot), and some good spicy hot pepper. I suppose it wasn’t spicy enough for my dad, so he put in some satay, which makes the broth colorfully pretty. And the whole side of greens (that has more than green):
Bean sprouts, a slice of lemon, plants whose English names I have no idea, and a purplish bundle of thinly sliced young banana flower. The meat was tender and generous, but I’m not so sure if this bowl has everything an authentic Hue beef noodle soup would have. For some reason I had never gotten the crave for it, I must have had it at some point and just can’t remember. It certainly looks good, perhaps a little busy. The noodle is thicker and rounder than the noodle in pho, so bún bò is more filling. The pig leg meat is just all too common pork with a bit of thick skin, pig foot is better and more interesting for the teeth. According to my dad, the soup didn’t quite live up to his expectation, except for being tenderly meaty. But the rest of the crew was actually quite pleased with the other dishes we got:
*Vietnamese restaurants here, even Lee’s Sandwiches, seem to favor the “Cash Only” theme. I wonder why?
Address: Bún Bò Huế Cố Đô
13480 Veterans Memorial Suite P3