Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Bun at Saigon Basil - Irvine

Any temperature past 80 degrees Fahrenheit is bun weather. What's bun (pronounced boon)? To put it simply: Vietnamese noodle salad, which seems to be what my mind wanders to when my forehead starts to bead sweat from the heat of the day.

And I'm not that picky with where I get my bun, so long as it's chilled, and countered with herbs, cucumber and a good fish sauce. I ate the above bowl at Saigon Basil near UC Irvine. Saigon Basil is a Vietnamese restaurant that also does Thai food, which should tell you exactly what kind of Vietnamese restaurant it is.

They make a good bowl of bun, though, and it does exactly what it requires; the noodles cool as they jiggle, the effect is that it immediately lowers your core temp--the perfect summer food if there is such a thing. If you live near a Vietnamese restaurant, they will do a bun just like this, even better if they've got bun cha Hanoi, where the meat is pre-soaked in the fish sauce and the noodles are served separately.

When you are given your bowl, you either douse or dip each tangle of those noodles in the fish sauce, which is to the dish as refrigerant is to an A/C system. The protein, charred grilled pork, shrimp and crispy cha gio (egg rolls) are like the croutons in a salad, and make it a meal. That Saigon Basil is within steps of Strickland's, my favorite ice cream shop, is also another reason why you'll see me here a lot this summer, especially when the temp goes above 80.

Saigon Basil
4533 Campus Dr.
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 737-1318

Trader Sam's - Disneyland Hotel


At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Marvin said...

does strickland's make a vietnamese iced coffee ice cream? now that would be a great way to cool down after some bun!

At 8:19 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Funny you should mention that because I wouldn't put it past them to do that! This month, Strickland's is going to debut a Thai Ice Tea flavored ice cream! THAI ICE TEA ICE CREAM!

At 2:20 PM, Blogger christoofat said...

Looks like they properly grill the bbq bits for this dish ftw!

At 2:52 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


They do FTW!

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

I'm not all that picky about where i get my bun, either, as I tend to think you have to try really hard to screw it up much... I will say, though, that I think Hung Vuong does a fantastic pork and shrimp version. I would guess you've tried it. :)

At 5:37 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Alas, I've had Hung Vuong's rice dishes (perfect take-out food, BTW), but not their bun. But now that you've mentioned it, this gives me an idea for a Dueling Dishes post! I do like the way Hung Vuong grills their meat!

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Bun cha hanoi is the bomb...

At 4:32 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...




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