To tourists, your journey to Vietnam will be more satisfying if it includes a Vietnamese cuisine called “Bun Dau Mam Tom”. The full plate of “bun”, tofu, and shrimp sauce will make sure your hunger lies straight to the sky with the unique rustic Vietnamese flavor. Being created in Northern Vietnam, “Bun Dau Mam Tom has successfully captured the spirit of the ancient capital for thousands of years.

1. “Bun Dau” History: Vietnamese Traditional Dish Unexpectedly Goes Viral

Mentioning the origin of “Bun Dau Mam Tom”, there’s no doubt that 99% of people will assume it belongs to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The “Hanoiese” claim that the original version of “Bun Dau,” a famous rural traditional cuisine, simply had “bun,” tofu, and a small number of raw vegetables. By that time, they had still not discovered the unique feature of the meal. Later, they discovered that its taste was wonderful and unexplored, so people began to carry “Bun Dau” vendors throughout the streets, luring customers to gather by the side of the road to enjoy. 

“Bun Dau” appears everywhere on the street, attracting many visitors.
“Bun Dau” appears everywhere on the street, attracting many visitors.

Bun Dau gained popularity over time, developed into a chain of well-liked restaurants around Hanoi, and even entered southern Vietnam to steal the Saigonese people’s hearts.

2. Some Restaurant Recommendations for You

Not only are the “Bun Dau” restaurants well-known across Hanoi, but the chain’s eateries in Ho Chi Minh City are also highly popular.
A “Bun dau” portion used to be just a few pieces of beautiful small leaves “Bun,” a few pieces of yellow-fried tofu, a bowl of shrimp paste (or mam tom) with lemon, and chili peppers served with raw veggies. However, because of the growing demand for protein, “Bun dau” has developed over time to include nuggets (cha com), boiled pork, or sometimes eaten with pig hearts.
These are some prominent “Bun Dau” restaurants in Ha Noi City you can try once.

Ms. Tuyen “Bun Dau” restaurant, Hang Khay alley, Ha Noi.

A serving of crispy fried tofu, nuggets, and boiled pork for 45,000 VND. You can visit there and have a meal from 10 a.m. to about 2 p.m.

One serving at Ms.Tuyen “Bun Dau” restaurant
One serving at Ms.Tuyen “Bun Dau” restaurant

“Bun dau” in the Tram alley, Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem.

This place is remembered because the sour bamboo shoots (or măng chua) are included with each serving to reduce the craving. The price of a full “bún đậu” including boiled pork and nuggets is 50,000 VND.

One serving at Tram alley, Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem.
One serving at Tram alley, Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem.

“Bun dau” at Trang Tien alley, Hoan Kiem.

A full serving of “bún đậu” including fried tofu, and boiled meat costs 45,000 VND.

“Bun dau” at Trang Tien alley, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
“Bun dau” at Trang Tien alley, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi

Other restaurants in Hanoi includes:

  • “Bun dau: Trung Huong No. 49 Phuong Loc Lane, Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem. 
  • Root Da, No. 4 Brick Alley, Hoan Kiem. 
  • “Bun dau” at 39A Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem.
  • “Bun dau” at Lane 31 Hang Khay, Hoan Kiem.
  • “Bun dau” Ms Thoa No. 31 Lang Ha, Dong Da.

But still, if you are currently visiting Ho Chi Minh City and want to try some “Bun dau” from the capital site. No worries, since it now appears many delicious “Bun Dau” restaurants in HCMC, typically:

“Bun dau” A Chanh

This is one of the most famous restaurant chains here, attracting many customers from Saigon loving the taste of “bun dau”. This restaurant chain has many branches across the city. Each branch will be open from 10 AM to 10 PM, and one dish will cost between 55,000 VND and 100,000 VND.

Bun Dau Mam Tom A Chanh
Bun Dau Mam Tom A Chanh

“Bun dau” Ngo Nho Pho Nho (Small Alley, Small Town)

Here, the “bun dau” is of very good quality. In contrast to other eateries, this one utilizes pork (with no grease). And the Shrimp Paste here is imported directly from Hanoi, accompanied by boiled bamboo shoots with an attractive sweet, and crispy taste.

“Bun dau” Ngo Nho Pho Nho in HCMC
“Bun dau” Ngo Nho Pho Nho in HCMC

3. Using This Amazing Recipe to Make “Mam Tom”

Vermicelli (bun) and shrimp paste (mam tom) are the two essential components that every “Bun dau” portion must include. Regarding “bun,” is a common dish in Vietnamese cuisine that can be purchased almost anywhere in the Vietnamese market or you can also follow this recipe to make a fresh “bun”. After having “bun”, you can shape it into rectangle forms to create “Bun la”, a unique rice noodle only appearing in “Bun dau”.

Bún lá
Bun La, a type of rice noodle belongs uniquely to “Bun dau mam tom”

Another essential flavor is shrimp paste (or mam tom), a traditional northern flavor born for this ‘bun dau” dish.
A mug of authentic shrimp paste will make your meal more satisfying, so how to create such flavoring? 

To start, you’ll need a little sugar, a little MSG (or bot ngot), minced garlic and peppers, and a bottled shrimp paste. Then, combine everything well and stir in a slice of lemon until the shrimp paste floats on a layer of white foam.

A perfect “mam tom” portion could satisfy anybody
A perfect “mam tom” portion could satisfy anybody

After this process, you can finally enjoy the outstanding taste of “Bun dau” with an amazing cup of shrimp paste (or mam tom)!

4. Interesting Western-Vietnam Combo: Pizza and Bun Dau

In addition to being well-liked in Vietnam, bun dau has also been blended into Western recipes.  In 2019, a Saigon restaurant has officially introduced the First “Bun dau mam tom” Pizza in cuisine history, a very new combination you might hear for the first time.

The base of the pizza is filled with fried tofu, boiled pork, fried fish patties, and herbs to produce an interesting meal that many people find unexpectedly tasty.

The appealing appearance of the Vietnamese Pizza “Bun dau mam tom”

The pizza, which is currently priced at 140,000VND, is a proud symbol of the mix of Western and Vietnamese cuisine.

5. Not Only the Vietnamese But Western Visitors Also Go Addicted to “Bun Dau”

Max McFarlin is a well-known Youtuber in the world’s street food and traveling enthusiast community. With a love for travel and street food from all over the world, Max McFarlin has had many interesting journeys and unforgettable experiences with the typical cultures and cuisines of each country, including our lovely country, Vietnam.

Max McFarlin, a Youtuber possesses a huge love for Vietnamese cuisine

The reason I like to eat this dish is that the “bun” is filled with shrimp paste, the transition between shrimp paste and vermicelli is very delicious. Sweet and salty create a taste that I don’t think I might forget.”

Max McFarlin, one of the Western visitors, was completely charmed and in love with the meal “Bun dau mam tom.

It can be seen that “Bun dau” can not only appeal to Vietnamese people, but even Westerners are extremely interested in its taste. This makes us Vietnamese even more proud that this representative dish has truly been loved and enjoyed by foreigners. Now it’s your chance; let’s go eat some “Bun dau mam tom.” We can assure you that the flavor of this meal will blow your taste away!