For the more adventurous taste buds, bún mắm, is now offered in various restaurants in Eden Center. Hải Dương was the first that got me hooked. The bowl had been savory and consistent for a long time. I was satisfied every time I went there for it. Now Hải Dương’s bún mắm is still good, but not as good as the good old days. The broth is sweeter and less savory.
A friend recommended bún mắm at Thanh Tòng and I had it once. I can’t recall exactly how it tasted, but was I was not impressed. I also tried once at Cơm Tắm Sài Gòn. While the broth was decent, the fish had that old, freezer-like smell. The whole bowl was ruined.
A month or so ago, I checked out the new joint Viet Gardens and it was the worse so far. The broth was watered down and the pork was chunky and chewy. The owner used to run Làng Nướng Tây Đô a few years ago only for a few months.
Where Làng Nướng Tây Đô used to be is now a brand new Eden Kitchen, which is a division of Phở Factory in Alexandria. It also offers bún mắm so I gave it a try today and it turned out be a disappointment. It lacked all the varieties of ingredients and the broth was not piping hot.
At this time, the best place to have bún mắm in Eden Center has to be at Rice Paper. With various ingredients including eggplant, bún mắm at Rice Paper has a rich flavor. The broth is probably a bit salty for most people; therefore, just add more lime juice to balance it out. Rice Paper is still one of the most crowded place in Eden for some of its delicious dishes. The only thing that Rice Paper needs to work on is its customer service. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.