Bún Đậu (vermicelli with fried tofu and shrimp paste)

A lovely smell is often the thing that attracts customers into a restaurant or towards a food stall. One dish that will not do that is Bún Đậu because of the odour of fermented shrimp paste but wait. It is a lovely dish with flavours that are concealed by the smell but not from the tongue when you taste it. Durian is another item, an Asian fruit with such a smell that it is often banned from public places and transport, that tastes wonderful with its rich creamy taste if you can ignore the smell. You must try Bún Đậu during your tour in Vietnam. There will certainly be the chance to do so during a Vietnam tour package itinerary.

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Bún Đậu is fermented shrimp paste noodle which is a regular dish in Northern Vietnam with three simple ingredients; vermicelli noodle, fermented shrimp paste and fried tofu. Obviously, it is something that will appeal to vegetarians but everyone should try it, and as with many other dishes in Vietnam, it comes with several side dishes; a range of vegetables, mint and cucumber.

Such a simple dish is so easy to make that it is an obvious thing for street food vendors to sell. It is little wonder that it is among the most popular dishes in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. If you see a woman carrying a bamboo pole over her shoulders with a basket at either end, it is likely she cooks this simple dish. The baskets will contain everything the women needs to make street food and that includes a little stove used in the preparation.

The tofu should turn yellow on the outside without it losing its interior moisture and softness.  Yes, the shrimp paste will have a sour taste, partly due to the lemon or kumquat that is used. Bún Đậu can certainly be served with meat. Generally, it will be pork either steamed or as nuggets, with stuffed intestine another choice. You may like to have some spring rolls as well.
It is a dish that is sold in the street but will also appear on restaurant menus. Although it is a favourite up north, it is likely that you will be able to sample it elsewhere in Vietnam. If you try it in north and south, you may find subtle differences because of local preferences on flavour but that will not detract from the quality of the dish.

If you especially keen on cuisine, you should be able to take a cookery lesson in Vietnam and then impress family and friends once you go back home after your Vietnam travel experience. Certainly, a Hanoi travel agent will be able to arrange it for you, and your day is likely to begin by shopping for ingredients in the local market which is an experience in itself, and finish by eating what you have cooked. There is no reason why you should not learn to make Bún Đậu because it is relatively simple.