We’re back!!! What an amazing week and a half. My extended family and friends (all 22 from 3 states) traveled close to 2000 miles driving from Los Angeles to Yosemite and then to Grand Canyon and back. We saw some amazing sights, shared great memories and experiences, and of course, had some great food along the way. Unfortunately we weren’t able to document everything we made but we’ll slowly post some of the trip photos along with some of our food posts in the near future.
4 generations at Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park
View of Half Dome from Glacier Point. It pays to be up at 4:30 am.
Because everyone was arriving to Los Angeles late in the evening, Kim decided to make a family favorite soup Bun Thang (pronounced with a hard “t”) for my family to eat after a long cross country flight—talk about PRESSURE!!!! It was also going to be the first time she met my parents and grandmother!
During the summer time growing up, my mom frequently made Bun Thang, a mien bac (northern) dish from Hanoi, because it’s mild flavors are so light compared with traditional bun bo Hue or Pho and very easy to prepare. My mom doesn’t really know the origins of why they call it Bun Thang, and I couldn’t find anything about it in a web search so we’ll appreciate any input from those more knowledgeable. Bun thang is not available in every Vietnamese restaurant but it’s really simple to put together. It is comprised of Vermicilli noodles, shredded chicken, thinly fried egg, and cha lua (Vietnamese ham/sausage) in a pork and chicken broth. Some recipes also added dried shredded shrimp.
- 12 cups of water
- 4 lbs of pork neck bones
- 1 tbs of sugar
- 1 tbs dried shrimps
- 1 whole chicken or 3 large chicken thighs/breasts
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 1 medium shallot, peeled
- salt to taste
To make the stock, add pork bones and cover with water and bring to boil for about 2-4 minutes. Empty the water along with the gunk and residue and save bones in colander. Clean bones, rinse well, and drain. Also, clean the stock pot before adding the bones back in with about 12 cups of water. Add shallot and chicken and bring to rolling boil and reduce heat. Remove chicken after about 20 min to 1/2 hr (depending your the cut you use and how big) and cover with saran wrap and set aside to cool. Continue to simmer the broth under low heat for about 2 hrs, skimming off fat, froth, and any residual gunk from the broth. Then add, a few dried shrimps, sugar, fish sauce, and salt to taste.
Mis En Place
- 1 large packet of vermicelli noodles
- Chicken from above
- Thinly fried egg
- Cha Lua (found in most Vietnamese/Asian markets wrapped in banana leaf)
Scramble about 3 eggs in a bowl and using the largest nonstick skillet you have, pan fry a thin layer of egg until slightly golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside. When cooled, slice thinnly about 3 inches in length. We prefer as thin a layer of egg as possible.
When the chicken cools, hand shred the meat, removing any excess fat and skin.
Cha Lua is a classic Vietnamese ham/sausage made from lean pork. Slice thinnly, matchstick size.
Boil one package of vermicelli noodles, drain in colander and set aside.
Other optional items might include shredded shrimp and some additional thinly sliced pork.
- lime wedges
- chopped green onion
- chopped rau ram (Vietnamese Coriander). substitute with cilantro if not available.
- fried shallots (prefried bottles fround in Asian markets)
- Other optional herbs include bean sprouts, perilla, mint.
- Sambal chili paste
Ladle broth over bowl of vermicelli and top generously with shredded chicken, cha lua, and thinly sliced fried egg. Garnish with chopped Vietnamese coriander, green onions and fried shallots. Serve with lime wedge, bean sprouts, perilla, mint, and sambal chili paste on the side.
My family loved it and all gave Kim 22 big thumb’s up–including my mom and grandmother who can be hard to please!! 🙂