Reports from the Road
Editor's note: Chi Tran is a free-lance photographer based in Southern California. He has been traveling to Vietnam to work on his photography book. While on the road, Chi Tran keeps extensive notes of his journey, including places for a good meal, a clean bed, a hot shower and great spots for a Kodak moment. Chi Tran's photography has been previously featured in Destination Vietnam. Here, he shares a special place from his "Shoot Notes" -- the My Lien restaurants.
My Lien Restaurants
Located in Bung, just 25 km north of Saigon, the original roadside restaurant has been famous for half a century at this location. "Bi" is the core of its dishes. It's a mixture of fine minced pork, pork rind, and roasted rice powder. Bi is then combined with other foods to make up delicious dishes.
Combined with "bung", soft rice noodle and minced herbs, it's "bi bung" eaten out of a bowl. Combined with "banh beo", soft rice cake and mung bean paste , it's "banh beo bi" eaten out of a plate. Rolled with herbs in rice paper, it's "bi cuon" eaten with fingers. Of course all of the above dishes have to go with "nuoc mam" or fish sauce. Not just plain nuoc mam but it's a mixture of nuoc mam, water, sugar, lime juice, garlic paste, hot chili. This nuoc mam mixture, along with the bi, are the two best kept recipes that set this restaurant above the rest. The lady who started the restaurant passed away a long time ago. She first made a living by selling this food at a stall inside Bung town market. Around 1948, she opened a roadside restaurant right at a curve of the Saigon-Thu Dau Mot highway and business picked up very good.
Now there are two My Lien restaurants instead of one. They are run by the two grand-daughters aged around sixty and something, both restaurants are only a stone throw apart, both have the same menu and both serve the best bi you can find in Vietnam.
My Lien Restaurants
Thu Dau Mot Highway
Bung, Song Be
Phone: (065) 827-078
Published on 1/1/99