The classic bo bun is made up of vietnamese rice noodles, grilled beef, nems, crudites (carrots, cucumber, soya beans), crushed peanuts, topped with mint and coriander, as well as fried onions and sprinkled with nuoc-nâm sauce.
So, why are we doing this crash test? Because the bo bun is becoming rather a thing in Paris - it's light, tasty, and who hasn't shed a tear of joy after biting into a perfect nem? And because it's springtime we want something fresh and pretty to eat - there's no wonder the bo bun is the most ordered dish in Paris by Deliveroo. Oh yes...
4 criteria for our crash test:
- Freshness: both in terms of the herbs and vegetables, but also whether the bo bun has been heated in the microwave or not.
- The base (rice noodles, soya beans, coriander, mint, peanuts, carrots, cucumber, red cabbage): has to be fresh, moreish and top quality.
- Toppings: both the quality of the meat and nems.
- Balance: the proportion of noodles to the rest and also the sweetness of the nuoc-mâm sauce which should cover everything without drowning it.
We've ranked all of these bobuns out of 20, if there were any with the same score - the best price decided the victor.
Chopsticks at the ready!
Our top 5
This comes close to the Holy Grail; a trio of crunchy spring rolls, accompanied by its extra yummy sauce and slim price. Its not quite perfection, but this bo bun gets dangerously close.
Rating: 18.5 / 20
Cucumber, carrot and crunchy soya shoots, with multiple crispy spring rolls and coriander: Pho Bida’s bo bun is also richly flavoured. Its fresh, plentiful and perfectly portioned. Plunge your chopsticks into the freshly made vermicelli tossed in sauce and crushed peanuts. With a few slices of beef on top, it would be faultless.
Rating: 18 / 20
Delicious vermicelli marinated in an excellent sauce. The beef is perfect, a little crunchy and very well-flavoured. Top fried onions and fresh soya beans, but it’s a shame that the vegetables weren't quite as good.
Rating: 17 / 20
On first impressions, this bo bun isn’t exactly striking. Having said that, the spring rolls are crunchy, the beef flavoursome, vermicelli soft and sauce perfectly balanced. Our only drawback is, if we want to be desperately picky – a lack of veg. But let's end on a good note. Its €8.50 – the cheapest out of all we tested.
Rating: 19 / 20
Big spring rolls with a chicken and shrimp filling (a mix that coincidentally tastes a little like ground pork) a good sprinkling of pepper, super tender and pink sautéed beef slices, Do et Riz's bo bun certainly knows its strengths. Yet the lack of fresh veg means its all quite dense. Depending on how much vermicelli you fancy, the bao bun is available in two sizes.
Rating: 16 / 20
Price: €9 for small, €12 for large