Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bun That Goes Woof.

Have you ever loved a food so much you named your dog after it? Our fuzzy pooch pop is named for one of my most favorite things to eat, from my most favorite restaurant ever, which shut its doors forever in 2007. Vee Seven Berns-Kerns is named for the most awesome vegan Vietnamese bun (boon) served at Cafe Dalat in Arlington, VA. R.I.P. Cafe Dalat, I miss you very much. Real tears were shed when this restaurant closed, so what could I do but name our dog in tribute and as testament to my deep and unending noodle love?
This dog, really is a noodle bowl. If you've ever met him, you know this to be true.

Bun comes in all sorts of variations, but is basically a rice noodle bowl topped with fresh vegetables, protein (sometimes chunks of springrolls), nuts and doused in a tangy dressing. Dalat's version was true perfection: warm soft chewy vermicelli, topped with lightly steamed broccoli, fried tofu, carrot and daikon pickle, fresh cilantro, crispy fried shallots, chopped peanuts, with a very delicious broth on the bottom of the bowl. To enjoy properly, it was encouraged to toss from the bottom to the top and then eat and slurp--chopsticks made it more delicious (I learned this method from the wait staff who would always pause by my table and motion with their hands to toss from the bottom).

If you're ever in Northern Virgina and crave vegan bun, there's a good version to be had in Annandale at Pho Hot, but it sure won't replace good ol' V7, and no one will come by to make sure you're tossing and enjoying it properly. It's lonely bun, folks.
When I'm in the mood, I make my own bun, which is pretty good--quite tasty and refeshing. But still, it doesn't come close to V7, that shit was unbelievable. The dressing is basically a vegan nuoc cham: squeeze a few limes' worth of juice, mix it with sugar and warm water to get a very tasty lime-aid. Once you get the juice to the point where you would gladly chug it down on a hot summer's day, mix in a generous amount of salt, a splash of wheat-free tamari and a spoonful of red chili/garlic sauce.

Bun noodles are pretty easy to find in East Asian groceries as the word "bun" will be right smack on the front of the rice noodle package. I like to buy the brand that comes with a convenient carrying handle. One day I hope to own my own bun pocketbook or suitcase or something. Here's the bowl breakdown (from the other day, this often changes depending on what's in the fridge):
  1. Bun rice noodles, cooked until soft then rinsed and cooled to room temperature.
  2. Steamed broccoli spears (to save time throw them in while the noodles are cooking, then pull them out and throw into an iced water bath).
  3. Seeded cucumber spears.
  4. Fresh cilantro.
  5. Fried tofu chunks (mine had bits of shallots in 'em).
  6. Sliced bell peppers.
  7. Mushroom Fluff or VegeUSA's shreddy soy stuff (optional).
  8. Daikon carrot pickle--do chua (mine's pink 'cuz the radish I used was a beautiful pink heirloom variety).
  9. Top with chopped nuts (roasted peanuts are ideal) and Sriracha or chili garlic paste and for extra yumminess--fried, crispy onions or shallots.
Layer it all together with some of the lime dressing and enjoy. It's super refreshing cold out of the fridge, too--just don't forget--tossing is the key.


P.S. Trinity is getting the next Primal Strip. Lemme know in a comment if you want one, too.


  1. That is the bowl of my dreams, you have no idea. I adore rice noodles + veggies + tofu + peanuts + spicy, sweet, and sour dressing. God, I must make some bun very soon.

    Bun the dog-man looks very nice, too. His glasses make him look smart.

  2. kittee - i too have an unhealthy love for the lost cafe dalat. any idea if/how we could track down an old menu (wish i had saved one)? good for a rainy, sad day. love CMTHS. Best, http://bit.ly/VegFairy

  3. Mushroom fluff sounds fascinating! Gotta find me some of that...

  4. I love bun the dog so much I can hardly take it. And the food looks yummy too!

  5. Mmmm that looks delicious! But it's making my noodle craving worse!!

  6. That bowl looks fantabulous, and given that I have the noodles on hand, I'm definitely making it soon.

  7. Your Bun looks wonderful. And the puppy is lovely as always! Thanks for the recipe. And if you still got one of those Primal Strips I would love to try one.

  8. Yipeee! I can't wait to get all primal with my strip. I wanna eat that bowl up, too!

  9. Oh wow! This looks and sounds so amazing.

    And that is so cool that you named your dog after a menu item! Vee is adorable!

  10. Mmm. I love bun. I make a pineapple five-spice version, but your photos have me short circuiting my keyboard with drool.

    Dog pic's hilarious, btw.

  11. Your dog is so awesome looking. Very...educated?? The food looks super tasty, too!

  12. That mushroom fluff is trippy! It looks so like bonito that it could probably be part of a vegan okonomyaki...one day I'll try it!

  13. I'm so sorry your fave Bun place closed! If my beloved Lulu B's ever shuttered, I would hunt them down and beg for the recipe. But it wouldn't be the same.

  14. you're killing me. I'm not even hungry and I want to eat that right now.


  15. Aww, Vee Seven! I wish I could have tried their food.


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