Even though I've had a variety of Vietnamese food, I really didn't know much about it. But lately I've been reading up on it a lot mostly because I'm attracted to how it looks so beautiful, bright and fresh, and I want to be able to taste that. I know that none of those words are taste words, but you get what I mean. So after staring at beautiful photos for weeks, I decided to go out and try something new and not pho or bahn mi.
I went for a "bun" dish, which is rice vermicelli. These noodles came with sauteed sliced beef, lemongrass, lettuce, basil, and bean sprouts and then were topped with scallions and chopped up peanuts. And some nưoc cham sauce, I'm pretty sure.
It all sounded great, but it wasn't very good. I was actually pretty bummed out and disappointed, and I was eating alone, so I didn't even have anybody to complain to. Just had to sit there in the lonely, sad noodle-slurping silence. Anyway, I was a little skeptical from the moment the bowl was put in front of me. The noodles looked so fat and too soft, instead of thing and kind of springy. Then I poked around for the vegetables, and they were all hiding at the bottom of the bowl, under the clump of noodles. Oh yeah, clumpy noodles. That's just the worst. The one good thing was that beef was cooked really well, but it was a little too sweet, and the greens just got soggy sitting under the clump, so they didn't even bring that crisp freshness to the rest of the dish. Well, I don't know, it did, but only a little bit. I ate all the beef bits then left most of the noodles.
Being disappointed by your meal is so much worse when you're eating alone in a restaurant. Not that I don't like eating alone, but I think that I'm usually a lot less judgmental of my food when I'm eating with my friends. Or at least a lot less cranky about it if it's not good.