Amazing Buns

My favorite restaurant in Wichita is a little Vietnamese joint called Saigon at 11th and Broadway. I’ve only had three different dishes there, and two of them I only had once. #45 became my staple, and when I lived three blocks down the street, I’d order take-out for $6.95 about once a month and literally snarf at my coffee table while watching bad reality shows.

#45 is bun thit nuong, which is the yummiest grilled pork, over a bed of angelhair rice noodles and greens (lettuce, sliced cucumber, cilantro and bean sprouts). It comes with the best egg roll ever (seriously, the Vietnamese have it right — and it’s different from Chinese), and the whole dish is topped with chopped peanuts. Then you get this broth-like vinegary “dipping sauce” on the side. I think it’s made of lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar and water, along with some grated carrots. 


At any rate, I’ve been searching for an acceptable substitute for Saigon’s version of bun here in Chicago, and until yesterday, nothing measured up. I’m sure I’d had it from at least five different places, and I’d been disappointed every time.

So last night we went to the Vietnamese district on Argyle street, where there are at least 10 Vietnamese restaurants back to back to back. We picked “Tank Noodles”, which was excellent. (And we weren’t the only white people/English-speakers in there, which was comforting — some of the other places were truly overrun by the natives.)

And I found the best bun in town. Mmmmmmmmm. I could eat it again right now.

(As a complete aside, the Cubs played the Sox yesterday, which meant my neighborhood was overrun with drunks. As we were walking to the car to head to dinner, a cab drove by, stuffed with inebriated dudes. One of them was hanging out the window yelling at every woman in sight. He caught sight of us and yelled in a drunken drawl, “Heeeey, your wahfe’s got a nahce pooper.” Somehow this rendition of “amazing buns” just doesn’t translate well.  And obviously we looked too old to even possibly be single.)


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Annette said,

    OK, let’s go there the next time you come home! I really need a meal that doesn’t involve macaroni as a main course!

  2. 2

    Heather said,

    Hey, I want to go with you guys. The Dr.’s on my advisory board are always talking of this place. I think I have been there once or twice and go their soup of some sort that was excellent.

  3. 3

    […] Saturday we went for a walking tour of Lincoln Park, stopping at Hai Yen for my very favorite Vietnamese dish and a strawberry bubble tea. (Read more about it here.) […]

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