When my brother told me that he thought the bun bo hue (#7, small for $5.75) was better here than Pho Ao Sen 2, I decided to check it out for lunch. The neat-as-a-pin, cozier interior with framed photos of Vietnam on the walls is more inviting than either Ao Sen or King Noodle, the other Viet restaurants that compete in the same shopping center.
I ordered mine medium spicy. That turned out to be plenty hot for me, and got uncomfortable about halfway through. I was glad I had a cold lemon soda to wash away the heat. This was a warming and delicious lunch on a cold day.
The broth was a bit on the light side, yet had well-balanced flavor. The chiffonade of rau ram, cilantro and scallions on top was pristinely fresh, as were the thin shavings of sweet onion. The fat spaghetti-like round noodles were topped with a cross-cut piece of pork shank on the bone, well-done flank, a big cube of set cube blood, a slice of steamed pork roll, and some nearly well-done slices of steak. I asked for some shrimp paste for dipping my meats, and my waiter asked if I were Vietnamese since he thought I looked Chinese but was surprised at the request. A couple chopstick points of the smelly, salty shrimp paste on the meats perked them up considerably. The garnishes were interesting: bean sprouts, a sprig of mint, extremely fine shreds of juicy iceberg lettuce (which I decided I liked better than cabbage), and some brown shreds of something that seemed like a root vegetable. What is that?
New Ca Mau Vietnamese Restaurant
(Ranch 99 strip mall)
6180 Jarvis Ave., Suite T
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