Sherman's Food Adventures: Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen

Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen

It has been so long since I've visited Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen that they have moved into a newer and bigger location down the street.  So no, I do not have to lineup to get into their small and slightly run-down old location anymore.  Rather, the new spot is spacious, modern and clean.  So is the food as good as it used to be?  Well, I did end up going there for a quick visit and to go for their most popular dishes.

Of course we had the Chả Cá (Fried Marinated Fish Cake) and it was as good as I remembered it.  Their version is super fluffy and light while still have a nice rebound texture.  Lots of inherent flavour with the sweetness of fish and a slight bite of white pepper.  Unlike many other versions, the unique texture of this one makes it special.  The side of nước chấm provided a fish salty tanginess.

We also got the Cánh Gà Rang Muối (Salt & Pepper Wings) just to do a comparison with Phnom Penh.  Of course it is always difficult to find wings (of that type) that live up to those at PP, but these weren't bad.  The meat was juicy and flavourful while the outside was crispy.  The skin wasn't as rendered as I would've liked and the flavour was not as intense as the ones from PP.

I know, I know, we really should've ordered the dish that the restaurant is named after, but we couldn't resist getting the Bún Riêu (Special Crab Soup with Vermicelli).  This, to me, is one of the best in town and it was indeed delicious.  The soup base had a nice briny crab taste to it and was rather intense.  The noodles were slippery and al dente while there was plenty of ingredients to be found.

Although they are not know for their Phở, we got it anyways as a baseline of sorts.  Sure, I have been criticized in the past for not ordering the Bún Chả Cá Đặc Biệt, but that isn't what I wanted.  The Phở Dac Biệt was alright with a meaty broth (albeit a touch greasy).  It wasn't exactly clean-tasting, but had plenty of sweetness.  Maybe a bit heavy handed with the MSG tough.  Lots of ingredients and noodles were good.

Lastly, we had the Cơm Bò Nướng, Nem Nướng (Lemongrass Short Ribs and Minced Pork Patty with Rice) for good measure.  This was pretty good with chewy rice and meaty short ribs.  They were tender with a chew while being well-marinated.  Pork patty was nicely charred and on the sweeter side.  Overall, the food was quite good and well-portioned.  Loved the new location as it was much more spacious.  We will come back and have their other signature dishes next time.

The Good:
- Delicious crab soup noodles
- Well-portioned
- Spacious location

The Bad:
- A bit heavy with the MSG
- Service can be sparse due to how busy it is


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