« Pizza Pizza Pizza | Main | Surf's up »

Street Bun Mam


There's one thing that's becomes disturbingly clear after rolling around the food blogging circuit for a wee while. I, and by 'I' I suppose I really mean 'we', eat far more than we blog - well I do... I'm sure this is true for most scoff-bloggers. Here's a prime example I've never blogged up before. Once a week or so, when I'm busy grafting, a lunchtime dish winds up at Pieman towers via our homehelp. I don't always know what it'll be, but I'm always game. Unfortunately, I don't always have the time to gad about the city searching out hot new joints and so, the home delivery, surprise factor works well. I know this bowl of Bun Mam originated somewhere on Cach Mang Thanh Tam street, somewhere in District 10 or 3 and I know it cost 10,000VD for the big bowl, but that's all I know.


Bun Mam is yet another... (yawn, yawn... Are these getting boring yet?) noodle soups which defy the definition 'soup'. In among this lot I unearthed; prawns, pork, fish, aubergine, spring onion and squid. Oh... and a reasonably thick bun (vermicelli noodle). You not only get the herb plate above, which comprises; 10 different veggies including Bong Sung (a purple thing. And 'No' I have no idea what this one's called in English), Cu Neo, which is the soft spongy fella, looks a bit like celery in the pic above and is a 'must' for a blindin' Canh Chua Ca and then there's Bap Chuoi, or banana flower. I had trouble with my definitions for this tricky chap on my previous Bun Bo Hue post, but I know my ground now. The soup is sweet with plenty of chili cutting through. In fact, this soup is utterly, gobfillingly gorgeous. Nothing short of a revelation. I cannot find fault with it. I promise to sniff out the address for this and blog in far more detail. It really is just too good to ignore the finer details on this one. I'll keep you posted.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Street Bun Mam:


Hey Noodlepie,

NO, NO, NO!!! These are not getting boring! I love noodles and soups. It's just too bad I can't get them here. I have to enjoy them via your posts.

By the way, when they serve noodle dishes here, the plate comes with only 3 types of herbs.

Yeap it's not boring at all. I enjoy reading your food posts every morning at work... I wrote down all the good places you recommended. Can't wait until our trip back next year!!

Hey Pieman,

Sorry to hear that Ba Sau did not treat you fairly. If it's any consolation, I've been taken in before by street vendors when I was back in Vietnam (even though I am Vietnamese). As for bun mam, you may not find much of it in Saigon, but if you ever get a chance to go deeper down south towards the Delta bun mam is a staple along with many other tasty treats. Down south the same bowl will only probably put you back 4000 or 5000 VND. If you are interested, there is a lighter version of this tasty soup that uses a clearer broth with just as much taste called "bun nuoc leo". I prefer this version over bun mam as the soup is not as overtly pungent or murky. Not sure if they sell this in Saigon, but in Soc Trang it's on every corner and it is DELICIOUS!!!!

I love to read your post as it takes me back to the street corners, side streets, and to a time long past. Keep on blogging my friend....

Hello everybody,
I am a vietnamese who is living in foreign country. I am missing all vietnamese food, especially, bun mam. How delicious it is. I miss its taste. You who can eat bun mam are happiest people in the world.

Please give me a detail direction to Ba Sau Bun Mam. I Bun Ma. I will go back to Vietnam this summer (maybe May 06). Can't wait to taste it. Thank you so much for your input online. I really enjoy reading your comments about Vietnamese food. Keep up the good work!

Man oh man... I've read these blogs from Piedman that I wanna commit hari-kari. I left Vietnam since 75 as a young boy and I vowed I'd never miss the Vietnames foods. Boy... how wrong I was and still am. I'll make a first trip back this summer and I WILL try everything Piedman recommended. I remember Trang Bang, where my mom's family resided, everytime I was in town during Tet, I had a ball with "banh canh gio heo". I remember the best "Canh chua mang ca bong lau" at Ba Bong Restaurant in Nha Be. I don't know if it's still there... I miss "bun mam" too... Geez. God helps me. Thanks Piedman for blogging.

I admit that i dont like Bun Mam but the rest of my family is addicted to it. Your blog is very interesting for not only foreign people but also Viet people. And now , i have to embroil my friends in tasting ALL OF VIETNAMESE DISHES which you are suggesting in this blog. Finally,as a Viet People I thank you for your comment about Viet Food.


BONG SUNG is water lily stem.

None of this is boring. I love how you get right in the middle of it all. Authentic and educational. Love it..did I tell you I love it? I love it!!!
This is fabulous. I wish you would have gotten receipes on how to do all this though.
I also wish you make a book, but all in good time I suppose. :)

I don't think "Ba Sáu" translates to "Number 36". Ba` means old lady, and Sáu means #6. Ba mươi sáu translates to #36. I could be wrong but check up on it if no one's mentioned this to you yet.

Does anyone have a recipe for this? I've found some recipes but they are in Vietnamese.


Mắm cá linh (pickled fish)
Mắm cá sặc (pickled fish)
Catfish nugguts and/or fishballs
Fresh Squid cut into rings
Fresh Shrimp deshelled and deveined
Rice vermicelli
Lemongrass(a couple of stocks, white part)
Galangal (~ size of your thumb)
Asian herbs (mexican coriander, mint...)
Spean sprouts

Throughly wash pork. Place pork into a pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Discard foam, and then add in lemon grass and galangal, let simmer. In another pot, place both Mam into another pot, add ~ 3 cups of water, bring to boil. Let simmer until Mam falls apart. Strain the Mam broth with a strainer, discard the bones, and add into the pork broth pot. Bring pot to a boil, discard the lemongrass and galangal, and season. Next, add eggplants and let cook for a couple of minutes (length of time depends on how you like your eggplants cooked). Add catfish and/or fishballs, and squid, cook for ~ a couple of minutes, add shrimp and let cook for a couple of minutes. Serve with noodle and viet herbs.

NOTE: the ratio of pork broth and fish broth depends on your taste so don't add all of the strained Mam liquid in at once. I'd start off using half of the pickled fish to make the fish broth, and then make more if I need to. I'm sure there are diff. variations of this. Good Luck!!

Thanks for the recipe Cindy, I'm going to try it this week.

The owner name: Ba Sau,I think not (number 36).
In Vietnamese languets
Ba meaning Lady
Sau meaning 6th
Ba sau meaning she is the 5th child in her family (Vietnamese call 1st child is 2nd
Example:In the family:
- 1st child boy = Anh Hai (2nd Brother) when get older call Ong Hai (Mr. Hai)
- 1st child girl = Chi Hai (2nd Sitter) when get older call Ba Hai (Madam Hai)
- 2nd Child is girl = Chi Ba (3rd sitter)
- 3th child is boy = Anh Tu (4th Brother)
- 5th child is girl = Chi Sau when get older call Ba Sau (Madam Sau)

Thanks for the recipe ! I'll try to make it this coming weekend. Hope I can get all the ingredients, specially mam sac or mam ca linh from the oriental market. Yen

Thanks for the recipe ! I'll try to make it this coming weekend. Hope I can get all the ingredients, specially mam sac or mam ca linh from the oriental market. Yen

The comments to this entry are closed.