Bun Goi Gia (Vermicelli with Tamarind Broth)

It comes to my surprise that not too many Vietnamese folks are familiar with Bun Goi Gia. Am I lucky or what to have a mother who can cook rare and delicious dishes? Mom told me the only place she knows of that makes Bun Goi Gia is in My Tho, my hometown in Vietnam. A woman, on the street of My Tho, who only cooks this dish to make a living and she has been selling it for over 20 years. I can figure out why she lasts for so long. It’s such a mouth-watering dish. Unlike Bun Mam, Bun Nuoc Leo or Bun Kien Giang where the heavy use of Mam (fermented fish) is required, Bun Goi Gia’s broth gets its tang from the tamarind’s sensation; therefore, the fragrance is much more pleasing than Mam.

All you really need are the delightful broth, shrimp, pork (with fat and skin), bean spouts, and my favorite He, grass-like vegetable (see photo for detail). If you prefer heavier dip for shrimp and pork, Mam Nem (Fermented Anchovy) enhances the flavor beautifully. If you would like to increase the depth of the broth, a spoon of Hoisin sauce or a half-spoon of fish sauce will do. It depends on how sweet or salty you would like to accommodate the sensational sour tamarind. Bun Goi Gia is my most favorites out of all the vermicelli with broth dishes. I highly advocate Bun Goi Gia to not only Vietnamese folks but Westerners as well. Believe me, you’ll love it. It’s savory.