Sunday, May 25, 2008

at last

for many years i have been searching for a good bowl of bún bò huế. for many years, the bowls that arrived looked something like this:

this was not the bún bò huế i was looking for.

the broth was often not spicy enough, rich enough, or red enough...and often times, the variety of different cuts of pork and beef was missing. or sometimes, you'd get a really odd bowl that had rice vermicelli noodles in it instead of the thick round rice noodles...that give the soup some additional teeth to it. yet as the years passed by, i still kept trying it at different places and was continuously disappointed...until today.

i didn't really have high expectations walking into Kim Huong (on 10th off of harrison in oakland). the outside of the building is quite nondescript...almost anything could be inside....it is difficult to tell that it is a restaurant. yet, i was pleasantly surprised when i walked inside.... it was pretty clean, particularly for a place in oakland's chinatown.

i was there during off hours, so it was pretty empty. these days, i do this on purpose to avoid crowds. i suppose i've become a bit anti-social these days.


well, i should clarify...i'm not so anti-social that i can't be nice to the folks that work in the restaurants i go to. the lady that handed me the menu was pretty nice...and i ended up just handing it right back to her and said "i'd like the bún bò huế please and a coke." she asked if i'd like the medium or large bowl...and i thought, what the heck "i'll have the large bowl please". it arrived shortly thereafter.....and yup, it was a large bowl...huge actually. it was the size you typically get in san jose when you order a large.

when it arrived, i thought...."could this be it? could this be what i've been searching for? it has the right look....it has the right smell....oh my goodness!"


as i happily slurped my way through the gigantic bowl i could hear etta james singing "at last" in my head... sigh. it had been so long that i wondered if i had forgotten what it was suppose to taste like. thankfully not.

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