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Friday, November 18, 2016

Bun Vietnamese Food in Antwerp, Belgium

One of the most intriguing dining experiences during the trip was at a place called Bun in Antwerp. We discovered that it had pretty good reviews and menu items that were off the beaten path, and that pretty much fits the dining on vacation criteria.

The restaurant’s tag like is "Our story is one of East meets West" referring to the chefs, Hoa Truong & Huibrecht Berends. I spied some books for sale in the restaurant so there’s a larger story about the restaurant’s history and chefs that I would certainly love to explore if we had more time in Antwerp. The books are written by the chef of Bun’s sister restaurant, Little Asia in Brussels. To clarify, Hoa Truong’s sister is the owner of Little Asia, so they really are sister restaurants. At least what’s what I can piece together with the translations. 

Since we arrived at the restaurant for lunch right at opening, we were able to snag some seats near a large window. However, do be warned that the restaurant is limited in seats so you may want to make reservations during busy hours.

We ordered a variety of dishes, and each one was distinctly unique and delightful in its own way. Let’s take a walk through the menu.

We started with the dog cockles, otherwise known as European Bittersweet clams served with Vietnamese flavors. These were refreshing, simple, and divine. 

Next up was a warm beef bun that oozed of umami. This was comfort food!

And the next savory course was the ca kho which was spicy caramelized plaice fillet over white rice. This was one of the best rice and fish dishes I have ever had, and I have had many rice and fish dishes. The fish was sweet but not sugary. The texture was firm yet delicate. I would highly recommend this dish. 

Dessert was fermented sticky rice. It does not sound interesting, and it certainly did not look sexy. However, it was super tasty. Fermented sticky rice is made with the same yeast that is used to make sake. This tasted like a porridge spiked with fizzy sake, and it was very interesting.
And you know that a dish is really remarkable when you look up how to make it at home. I ordered some rice yeast balls from Amazon in preparation for my next experiment. 

Lastly, we were gifted with some ginger chocolate truffles to finish off our lunch. If I had an extra meal to spend in Belgium, I would ride over to Brussels and try the sister restaurant, Little Asia.

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