I've been craving bún pretty severely lately, and I'd love to know all your favorite restaurants for this delicious salad that helps me pretend that it's still summer. I'm particularly looking for a good place in Minneapolis, as I've moved across the river and put a lot of miles between myself and Ngon.
I'll list all the places I've had it, in order of best to worst. For the record, I only ever get bún with shrimp egg rolls or tofu.
Ngon Vietnamese Bistro. It's been a while, but I remember their bún as being very fresh and the tofu having a delicious glaze on it instead of just being boring fried tofu. One big bummer for this cilantro-hater is that they pre-mix the cilantro and scallions, so asking for no cilantro means no delicious green onions, either. I think this is a very strange practice.
Pho '79 (Energy Park Drive, St. Paul). Also very fresh, with nice crunchy lettuce. The shrimp egg rolls are amazing.
Mai Village. I ate bún for the first time there, so I guess I have a soft spot for it. I haven't been there in years, though. I remember liking that they're liberal with the peanuts and that they saute the tofu in small cubes with onions. And that NO cilantro is standard.
Quang. Good, but nothing special. They do a combination of tofu and mock duck.
Pham's Deli (Midtown Global Market). Good, but nothing special.
Hoa Bien. Haven't been there in years, but I definitely was not a fan. Cilantro instead of mint. Boring, plain fried tofu.
Saigon. I've had it here twice, and it's just not good. Boring tofu. Watery, flavorless brown sauce. Part of the problem may be that they assume if you want tofu you don't want fish sauce, which is probably true for a lot of people, but not for me. My mistake (maybe) was in asking for fish sauce but not telling them to leave out whatever watery brown stuff they normally pour on the tofu bún.
Your turn. :)
Ngon Vietnamese Bistro
799 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104
Saigon Restaurant & Bakery
704 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104
Quang Pastry & Deli
2719 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Pho 79 Restaurant
2233 Energy Park Dr Ste 800, Saint Paul, MN 55108
394 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103
Hoa Bien Vietnamese Restaurant
1129 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104
920 E Lake St Ste 153, Minneapolis, MN 55407