More from Cafe Banh Mi
Anthony Bourdain's Vietnam episode with the guy grilling pork on a makeshift barbecue on the sidestreets of Hanoi must have planted a subliminal thought in my head today that I could not free myself from. Alas, I cracked eventually and had to give in by breaking away to Cafe Banh Mi for a quick bowl of bun. Surprisingly, they had quite a bit of shredded cabbage or something loaded onto this thing between the pork and the noodles, which I wasn't expecting, but the aroma from the grilling combined with the thin sweet and sour sauce were exactly what I was craving, even if this was a bit overdressed.
Overdressed? How else, might you ask? Witness the rice paper rolls, which in and of themselves weren't too bad (much better than those limpy ones from Pho Hoa but still a notch down from those tightly-wrapped fresh ones from Phochine), yet covered again with the same shredded carrot garnish. It didn't really impact the taste at all, but I guess I was hoping that they didn't need to depend on the same tricks just to make the food look pretty.
Actually, Bourdain might not have even been the culprit today. I've been on bit of a Vietnamese streak lately, having also eaten at Vu's at Bishan Food Court over the weekend (a place that was better than I was expecting for a Food Junction food court, but nothing that I'd go back for). I also had the pho here at Cafe Banh Mi the other day too, which I was quite bummed about, as the broth had some odd cinnamon-like tinge to it (or some other spice that I couldn't recognize, anyway - I didn't even bother finishing the bowl). Well, the streak will be revisited next week, as I spotted a new Vietnamese place getting ready to open just across the way from Cafe Banh Mi, of all places. Called Viet Express or something, these guys said that they were getting ready to open but just needed some final paperwork or something to be completed. They were happy to offer their opinions about Cafe Banh Mi too and how their food was different; hopefully I'll get the chance next week to find out if their food can stand up to their claims.