This topic has probably come up before on here, but I just wanted to share my experience today. A friend of mine posted a photo of Bun Bo Hue on Facebook and sparked my interest... so I decided to go try it at Tan My. My friend's soup looked pretty tame, but I was really intrigued by the red, chile based broth. I feel like I've only scratched the surface with Vietnamese food... noodle dishes and pho, the usual suspects. I figured this was a great way to dig in a little.
Tan My's never disappointed me; it's in fact my favorite pho place in town. Their no.1 beef pho has all kinds of mysterious ingredients (tendon, tripe, etc), but it's always amazingly fresh and tasty. When I ordered the Bun Bo Hue today, the waiter kinda looked at me funnily. "With everything?" I said yes. I kinda imagine he was thinking "does this white American know what he's getting into?" He looked at me several times while I was eating, obviously curious to see if I was enjoying it.
In the best way possible, this soup was GNARLY. It was certainly spicy, but not overbearingly so. It had huge chunks of sliced, coagulated pork blood in it, brisket, several pieces of unidentifiable, chewy yet crazily tasty mystery meat, a couple of pieces of pigs' feet and a few slices of "pork cake." The latter was the weirdest of all the ingredients... while the blood was shockingly mild in flavor and more about texture, the pork cake was extreeeeemely funky and barnyard-y.
If you're adventurous, I'd highly recommend giving this dish a try. It's definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you're willing, it's an interesting and great experience. Yet another reason why I consider myself very fortunate to live in such a wonderful city.
Oh, and one final thing... I imagine this stuff probably does wonders for hangovers.