It was so hot today that you couldn't even sit still outside without melting into a disgusting pile of sweat soup. Of course, I made the mistake of thinking it would be nice to walk down to the beach and do a bit of grocery shopping this morning. Walking down to the beach also means you have to walk back UP FROM the beach, which I did, carrying two heavy bags of food. By the time I arrived back home I knew a couple things for sure. I was NOT going to turn on my oven, boil water for pasta or go for another walk back down to the beach.
When it gets this hot and humid I always crave a bowl of vietnamese bun. Bun noodles are typically the very thin rice vermicelli noodles that you can find in any asian grocery store. Room temperature noodles, lots of fresh herbs, sweet/sour nuoc cham, raw veggies and a bit of fish - it doesn't get better than this. I am not sure if using salmon in this version of bun is very authentic but it delicious so I don't really care. We often do this with little chicken or pork meatballs or bbq pork and I try to keep the freezer stocked with small bags of the meatballs in the freezer just for this purpose. The traditional way to eat this is called bun cha, made with grilled pork and I do love to order that when I eat out (always with a deep fried spring roll thrown in for good measure) but during the summer, we throw whatever leftover grilled meat or seafood is hanging around over this noodle salad at least once or twice a week. I didn't have any leftovers so I pan fried the salmon and let it cool to room temperature before putting the bowls together. The noodles get a quick soak in boiling water, the fish was quickly pan fried and everything else was raw. No need to heat up the kitchen to enjoy this summery bowl of goodness.
Of course, you can mix this up to suit you. I usually use really finely julienned carrot but didn't have any but you can use whatever veggies you like. Don't like mint? Leave it out. You might be one of those weirdos who think cilantro tastes like soap. No problem, don't put any cilantro in it. Want to make it vegetarian? Use some fried tofu as your protein and forget the fish. It would be great with any colour of bell pepper, really thin asparagus, snow peas, bean sprouts - whatever you like and in whatever combination you like. Consider this recipe a starting place to create your own version of bun. Once you make the nuoc cham and you have the noodles, you can tailor the rest to suit your taste.
|look at those beautiful herbs straight from my garden|