Before you ask, no I didn’t get it with the “buffalo mix”. I was too chicken. Sorry!
So...there are basically 3 things on the menu at Bun Bo Hue An Nam.
1. Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup), $6.95 for small, $7.50 for large
2. Bun Bo Hue with “Ngau Pin” (which turns out is actually bull’s uh, you know, appendage, not buffalo)
3. Pho with your choice of meats, $5-$7 depending on size and what meat(s) you get
I was really tagging along with a viet co-worker who took me and 3 others to this place, his fave spot for BBH. We all got the #1. You can request less spicy or spicy, and spicy had chile flakes & more of the red chili oil. Less spicy tasted quite mild, spicy packed a good (not huge) amount of heat. You can also order extra meat for $1, or extra veggies for $1 (which I did but they forgot it).
Photo below is after I added my veggies & shredded my mint over it. I should’ve arranged the abundance of various meats on top, sorry I didn’t stage my food better. My bowl had 2 med-small cubes of pork blood, many thin slices of beef shank (not as tender as I hoped), 2 or 3 pieces of surprisingly flavorful (bit sweet) viet “bologna” which from the color & taste seemed like chicken bologna, not the usual pork bologna, 2 thin slices of pork with a nice layer of fat under the skin, and 3 or 4 big hunks of beef tendon (these were the chunky chewy long sections, like my mom likes, not the unctuous gelatinous rounds like I like).
The plate of veggies was mostly sprouts & cabbage, with a small amount of shredded banana blossom. No curls of rau muong (water spinach). Plus mint and 2 wedges of lime.
Broth is very flavorful, tasting more of beef than of spice (which I like), but the lemongrass & other spices are definitely there, as is the chile heat. The sheen of fat is like in a good ramen – silky on the lips but not very visible in the bowl. Only weakness is that it’s on the salty side (but I’m not a salt fan). Even after squeezing my 2 lime wedges it was salty and I downed glasses of water at work afterwards. I was really wishing for the extra veggies because I fished out most of my noodles (I was low-carbing it). Noodles were perfectly bouncy/chewy.
All in all a very good rendition, better than Bun Bo Hue #1 on Senter Road.
Nathan's mention of Bun Bo Hue An Nam, with link to Wes At Eat's review:
Bun Bo Hue An Nam
740 Story Road, San Jose
(don't bother with phone #, they never answer & only speak vietnamese)
Parking in that strip mall is NEVER anything but completely packed. If you get there before 11:45 you can park in the residential area on the cross street, Roberts Ave.
Oh, it was already full inside at 11:50 AM, with a 10 minute wait. By noon it looked like the line outside quadrupled.