What initially began as a post about discovering a different Vietnamese noodle soup (which I will get into in a second) has led to me to finding this image of a bubble snail that I saw skimming through my news feed.

I’m always amazed about all the beauty and wonder that exists. And me being me, with amazement comes fear of the unknown. My brain immediately remembers the horror movie The Descent where these girls bravely go into a cave and discover…

I won’t spoil it!

This food discovery isn’t so much the The Descent, but very much the excitement of finding a starlit bubble snail.

I’ve grown up eating Vietnamese food my whole life and never once have I encountered this dish called bún mắm which is essentially a fermented thick vermicelli soup that originated in the Mekong Delta. Di and I have booked our plane tickets to Vietnam for the end of February and with this recent discovery of bún mắm, I can only imagine that there is going to be so much more when we visit. I am making a visual (mental) note to re-watch Luke Nguyen’s Great Mekong to brush up on the Mekong Delta just in case we decide to drop by.

I had the pleasure of eating bún mắm at the appropriately named, Bún Mam Sóc Trang in Oakland. Their version included shrimp, pork belly, assorted fish and I got the special that included crispy pork skin. It’s a unique flavor that is subtly sweet, has a bit of funk to it and is entirely balanced out with the fresh herbs & lime added to it. If you like a bit of spice, then you’ll love their chili paste in this soup.

This is the interior of Bánh Mì Ba Le which has a yummy meat ball bánh mì that you can add a fried egg to. They also sell delicious Chinese sausages that I’ve used to cook what I call “Jank Rice” made for the laziest of lazy days. I cook an omelette with a little bit of fish sauce, pepper and green onions. I slap the egg over some rice, top it with one sliced Chinese sausage (pan fried), hot oil, sesame oil and soy sauce. VOILA! Jank Rice.

This last one was found during a light hike at the Panoramic Hills in Berkeley. It’s times like these where I really wish I had a car so that I can efficiently explore different areas.

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