Went back to the commoner’s place for a bowl of Bun Rieu. Unfortunately, their version of Bun Rieu is not as banging as mom’s. The broth is not quite there yet. A bit more Mam Ruoc is required to bring out the savory flavor. The huge disappointment is the missing of pigs’ feet, which is the essential ingredient for this dish. When it comes to pigs’ feet, however, I am really picky about it. Thoughts always run through my mind my I eat pigs’ feet. Did they clean the feet thoroughly? Did they scrape the hair of the skin? Hey, what can I say? I am the son of a clean freak.
Ever since I was a kid, mom has always made me wash my hand with soap, rinse my bowl, chopsticks, spoons and cup with hot water before I eat. She would scream if she catches me eating street foods, and there were tons of street foods in front of my house. I used to watch other kids eat chuoi nuong (grilled banana cake) chuoi chien (fried banana cake) with saliva dripping down my mouth. One time she caught me munching on my favorite Banh Trang Keo Bach Nha, which is a caramel candy with coconut sandwiched in between the rice papers, she bit my head off right at the woman’s candy stall. After that incident, that woman never sold me anything again. I went back to Viet Nam couple years ago, I had street food everyday to make up for what I had missed when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I could not find one stall that would sell my favorite caramel candy. Was that lady the only one who made it? I still can recall that crunchy and honey flavor that I only had a chance to taste once.