Vietnam is well-known as a country with distinctive cuisines. There are a variety of dishes from royal delicacies to simple recipes for commoners. The most significant point in Vietnamese culinary is street food. Among numerous options, tourists must question the most in Bun Dau Mam Tom- noodles with Vietnamese shrimp paste.
What makes people hesitate to try it might be the stingy smelled paste. But why do people love it so much? It is amazingly tasty, especially thanks to the paste, but you need to enjoy it in the right place.
Let me show you how and where.
What is Bun Dau Mam Tom?
There are two smelly specialties in Vietnam which are durian and fermented shrimp paste. Durian is world-known fruit, but the other is still hidden in small restaurants and gradually becomes one of must-try street food attracting the curiosity of tourists.
First of all, you need to know what is included in the dish. What is the main dish and what is served along? A traditional pax consisted of three things: the noodle, tofu, and paste.
Bun – The noodles
It is supposed to taste exactly the same as the noodles you have in Bun Cha, but the look is different. They conceal threads of noodles to makes slabs. The point of it is to keep noodles into solid pieces which are easier to deep in the paste. Good noodles will smell fresh and look smoothly white. Serving in some restaurants, people will cut the slab into smaller pieces or not depending on the size.
Dau – Tofu
They will cut tofu into small cubes and fry it until six sides get crispy and golden. It is a common way to cook tofu in Vietnam, and I am sure that most Vietnamese people have once eaten this dish in their entire life.
Nowadays, because of hustle and bustles in the city, they want a more time-saving way to prepare tofu. The most popular idea I’ve known so far is that they fry the whole pieces and then cut. By doing so, they can maintain the heat as well as the juicy texture of tofu for longer.
Mam Tom- Shrimp Paste
Above all, both noodle and tofu have no spices, the paste plays a crucial role in deciding how the whole dish is supposed to taste.
The original taste of shrimp paste is quite salty and strong. So, they need to season it until the mix tastes milder. The paste will be served with a layer of boiled cooking oil on top.
Besides tofu, people have elevated this noodle dish with some other toppings such as spring rolls, fried hog’s pudding, fried green rice flakes nuggets, boiled pork.
These toppings are not included in the traditional version. However, people seem to like this version because they can eat a variety of foods.
Next, I am going to answer what people usually ask when they first saw Bun Dau Mam Tom.
How can we eat the dish which smells stingy?
How to eat Bun Dau Mam Tom?
When people eat the paste, they will add lime juice and chili depending on their flavor. Usually, you need to add all spices at the beginning when the oil keeps boiling in the bowl. Lime juice or vinegar can dilute the paste. After that, you need to stir the paste really fast until there is a white foamy layer appear. That’s how they made the paste taste the best.
If you don’t stir, the paste and the oil cannot be mixed when it cools down, and it will be like your dipping noodles in cooking oil. The first thing to eat is supposed to be noodles. It’s like Vietnamese people eat rice before picking accompanied toppings. Vegetables along with the dish are usually perilla, balm-mint, cucumber, marjoram. Some people eat them fresh but some roll with toppings and dip in the paste.
The best drink at this moment is a cup of iced tea. Eating Bun Dau Mam Tom is an art because there are many flavors at the same time. Just take one by one and enjoy exquisite in your mouth.
Finally, Will Bun Dau Mam Tom be your next dish to discover? Don’t be scared by the smell and let’s go for the exquisite of this dish.There are nowhere on earth you can find such a fantastic dish but Vietnam. It is the food developed along with Vietnamese tradition, wrapping the crudeness of this nation.
And let’s enjoy Vietnamese cuisines with so many other specialties such as Banh Cuon, Bun Cha, …. Find these and more at mihotravel.com