Vietnamese fish noodle soup (bún cá) is my must-have dish on the menu when visiting Sapa market in Prague. In the bistro where I go, they use carp as the fish, but it is possible to use another type, in Vietnam, tilapia is reportedly used most often.
The basis of the dish is a fish broth flavored with lemongrass, fresh lemon juice, garlic, and tamarind. Fresh dill adds another great dimension of taste. The fish is sliced, then coated in a mixture of wheat and rice flour and fried. The fish slices are added to the soup with rice noodles just before serving. For me, the carp bún cá has an irresistible taste thanks to the combination of dill and lemon, crispy fried fish, noodles, and broth.
In my opinion, the best bún cá is made at Bún Cá Hải Phòng bistro. One heaping bowl of soup along with a bowl of salad here costs 6.40 EUR. Especially during lunchtime, the bistro is filled to the last seat, but guests change quickly and waiting for a free chair does not take long.
If you haven’t tasted carp bún cá during your wanderings around the Sapa market in Prague, give it a chance. I believe you will be happy to return to it. Just like me.
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