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Bewildered by Bun in Oaktown

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Bewildered by Bun in Oaktown

Shepherd B. Goode | Apr 24, 2002 10:46 AM

At Pho Ao Sen, I ordered Bun Cha Ha Noi, figured I knew bun all right. What I got was a plate of warm bun all stuck together; a bowl of sausage patties and grilled pork in an slightly oily dipping sauce, with what could have been artichoke leaves or thin-sliced, I dunno, anything; a HUGE platter of greens; and an empty rice bowl. I had no idea how to proceed, and couldn't recall ever seeing anyone else get a setup like this. Ended up putting some noodles in the bowl, spooning some sauce on to soften them, dipping the meats in my hot sauce, and chowing down. Nobody laughed at me (openly), and the meats and noodles were great. The greens, which looked like morning-glory leaves, tasted acrid and bitter, even soaked in the sauce; I left them.

So the question is, what the heck is the correct way to enjoy this dish? What does one do with that disproportionately huge platter of greens? Was this a poor presentation of Bun Cha Ha Noi? I guess next time I just got to extract the instructions for use from the server, a daunting task.

Pho Ao Sen is still my favorite Vietnamese place for lunch. Best pho I've had.
200 International Blvd.
Oakland
510-839-6821
Daily 8AM-8PM

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