Dish Stories

Rice Vermicelli with Fried Tofu and Fermented Shrimp Paste | Bún đậu mắm tôm

Origin - Vietnam

#Savory #Salty #Pungent

Bún đậu mắm tôm is a Vietnamese noodle dish which consists of rice vermicelli, fresh herbs, fried tofu, and a small side of mắm tôm, which is fermented shrimp paste. As simple as it is, the “soul” of Bún đậu mắm tôm is the blend of the fermented shrimp paste and a hint of sour cumquat juice.

Mắm tôm is quite pungent and is a challenge for a lot of foreigners, however, once it becomes an acquired taste, you will crave for it every time you have it with bún (rice vermicelli), and đậu (fried tofu). These three key ingredients are indispensable parts of the dish that can’t be separated.

[ History ]

Bún đậu mắm tôm originated in Northern Vietnam and was very popular among blue-collar workers and street vendors. Now it is one of the top sellers in Hanoi street food dishes. Aside from noodles and fried tofu, Vietnamese people love to add some pork meat and sausages too. These juicy meats go perfectly together with the salty shrimp paste and add a squeeze of cumquat juice.

Debuting in 2013, Bún đậu mắm tôm has been rousing Saigon cuisine and has quickly become a phenomenon. After leaving its mark in Saigon for about a year, Bún đậu mắm tôm is no longer a trending choice for a party but the main dish in Saigonese’s daily life.

[ How to Eat ]The fermentation process of mắm tôm takes about six months to one year. Once fermented, the shrimp paste sauce can be served with almost anything; vegetables, seafood, or meat. Squeeze some cumquat juice into the mắm tôm and add chilis for a bit of tanginess. Add little by little while tasting to create a sauce to your liking!


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