On the way to a wedding near Santa Cruz yesterday, we stopped by Milpitas for some lunch. I identified Truong Thanh as a place that offered bun mam (which I was in the mood for), and I found brief mention of it from PeterCC on Chowhound, so we decided to give it a try. We stopped in on Sunday at about 12:30 and it was quite full, but no wait for a table for two.
Passion fruit juice wasn't fresh like advertised, but it was refreshing and served in a very tall glass. Vietnamese iced coffee (not pictured) was strong and very good. Took a while for them to make it, which I took as a positive sign.
Fresh spring rolls contained shrimp, lettuce, Chinese chives, rice noodles, and maybe bean sprouts? No pork. Chives look pretty, but were kind of chewy. Wrapper was the soft kind that I really like. Overall, quite good.
Bun mam was nice. Pieces of eggplant, pork, fish balls, catfish in a fermented fish broth. The waiter checked to make sure I really wanted this when I ordered. I slightly preferred the version at Bun Mam Soc Trang in Oakland, but this was really nice overall. See my report on BMST here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8296...
We also ordered hu tieu nam vang, which I am happy to report is the third best version of this dish that I have ever had. 1st place was in Vietnam, 2nd place is at Ha Nam Ninh (still winning in the Bay Area), but this was a runner up. A difference in this version was that it contained thin pieces of Chinese celery, which made the dish taste like a non-spicy version of Thai boat noodles (I am guessing/thinking that these dishes are related?!?)...anyway, we ordered it dry with soup on the side. Noodles stuck together a bit, but otherwise I had very few complaints. Maybe a tad too sweet and salty, and a lot of offal (which I don't prefer). If you're a fan of this dish, give this place a try.
Service was efficient and friendly. Prices were reasonable. It's in the same plaza as a new 85 Degrees, and also a place called Foodie Hall, which has Yunnan, Guangxi and Sichuan noodles and an impressive condiment bar for adding stuff to noodles. Looked good! Yelp reviews are mixed and I'd be curious to hear Chowhound reports.