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QUESTION: On my last trip to Vietnam, I ate a spicy-red
beef noodle soup that was quite delicious. Presumably the dish is available
in Los Angeles, but every time I ask about it in a Vietnamese restaurant, they
bring me a bowl of pho. Pho is good, but it’s not what I’m looking
for. Any ideas?

—Roz, Sherman Oaks

ANSWER: The noodle you are looking for is almost certainly
bun bo hue, a specialty of the central Vietnamese city Hue made with
beef, spices and pigs’ feet, a gelatinous soup with a chile punch, thick, soft
rice noodles, and a strong, gamy quality that isn’t always to everyone’s taste.
You can find bun bo hue at almost any decent local noodle house — I like
the version at Golden Deli — but for the platonic version you will have to drive
south to Westminster’s Little Saigon neighborhood. Quan Hy serves many Hue specialties,
including tiny steamed rice cakes with shredded shrimp, garlicky fried chicken
with fried lozenges of sticky rice, and delicate steamed dumplings stuffed with
mushrooms, but the bun bo hue, balanced, light and just funky enough,
is worth the drive down all by itself. 9727 Bolsa Ave., Westminster, (714)
775-7179.

 

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