Bun Rieu at Thanh Da

Thanh Da's Bun Rieu
Thanh Da's Bun Rieu
Lauren Shockey

We've been eating a lot of Vietnamese food recently (could we be prepping for a 10 Best? Oh, maybe), and were excited when we saw bun rieu on the menu at Thanh Da. As we've noted in the past, the Sunset Park restaurant does a great bun bo Hue, the spicy beef noodle soup accented with lemongrass and shrimp paste from the central Vietnamese city of Hue. Bun rieu, however, is a milder soup, flavored with tomato and crab paste.

Bun rieu isn't available at many of the city's Vietnamese restaurants; in fact, a search on MenuPages reveals that it's only found at four places, two of which are Thanh Da and Thanh Da II (there might be others -- if you know of another spot, let us know in the comments). The noodle soup's broth is light, bright, and tomato-y, topped with a sort of crab paste omelet, pork, and fried tofu and dusted with a showering of mint and scallions. We would have preferred a touch more spice, but luckily our table was stocked with a variety of chili-based condiments. The soup is traditionally served with perilla and Vietnamese coriander, which weren't available here, but we'll take what we can get. And so should you.

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