Stinky yet delicious, “Bun dau mam tom” is a controversial dish for many travelers and food lovers visiting Vietnam as the pungent shrimp paste is the key to its ultimate flavor. Hanoi locals savor “Bun dau mam tom” a lot since it is one of the best choices for lunch. Is “Bun dau mam tom” that scary? May Silk Path convince you NOT-AT-ALL!


A special dish for daredevils

As the name suggests, the dish includes “bun” (rice vermicelli), usually daily-made and freshly served, “dau” (deep-fried tofu cut in crispy brown fried cubes), and the magical “mam tom” (fermented shrimp paste) – the special ingredients described as a knock-out for unprepared foodies.

Silk Path Hanoi Travel Guide | Bun Dau Mam Tom

Mam tom – Shrimp paste

The very soul of this delicacy, “mam tom” is often served in a palm-sized bowl just half-filled so the “challengers” can add extra seasoning of kumquat juice or sugar to their liking. Whisking the mixture afterward combines the different scents into a wholesome, surface-fluffy, and extremely pungent mixture. There is no broth for “Bun dau mam tom” as diners can dip rice vermicelli, tofu, assorted herbs, cucumber slices, and maybe steamed pork, steamed pig offal, deep-fried spring rolls, or deep-fried green rice patties into “mam tom”, having the best or worst of their lives. The rice vermicelli for “Bun dau” is “bun la”, noodles pressed into patches and cut into cubes while serving.

Vendors or restaurant owners often use “met” – a round flat bamboo container to present and banana leaves to present because “Bun dau mam tom” is a signature dish of Hanoi as well as Northern Vietnamese villages. 


Best places to try

Bun dau met 23

  • Address: 23 Phan Huy Ich Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 10.00 AM – 2.00 PM
  • From Silk Path Boutique Hanoi: 2.1km


Bun dau met Goc Da

  • Address: 4 Ngo Gach Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 10.00 AM – 10.00 PM
  • From Silk Path Hotel Hanoi: 1.5km 


Bun dau met Dong Thai

  • Address: 11 Dong Thai Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 11.00 AM – 2.00 PM 
  • From Silk Path Boutique Hanoi: 2km


Photos: Travellive, Foody