This dish is a descendant, an offspring of a second generation that has migrated from Vietnam and settled into new lands.  It is a thrifty version of its original form, where ingredients are stretched and reformed to replicate the same taste as it was in the golden years back in the motherland.  ‘Bo Bun’, is really a spring-roll-less version of ‘Bun Cha Gio’, the classic Vietnamese noodle salad of beef, deep fried spring rolls (scissored into the dish), blanched vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs like coriander and mint, as well as nuoc mam dressing (lemon juice, sugar, garlic, chilli, and fish sauce).  

It is a meal that can feed an army on a budget, and a staple for many Vietnamese expats and the second generation wave who call their parents’ adopted land home.  I discovered this dish in Paris, through family, who showed me just how thrifty this meal could really be.  With spaghetti replacing vermicelli, and minced beef stir fried in onions, some simple European ingredients can be made into a colourful Viet feast.  It’s comfort food in its most creative form.  

Here is the Bo Bun I fell in love with, in its Vermicelli form, but don’t let that stop you from trying out the spaghetti version.

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/ Words and Images Lauren Yates /