Image Credit to: Frame & Mighty in the Mitten
When you see the words Bo Bay Mon on a menu in a Vietnamese restaurant, it means you are getting a set of seven Vietnamese beef dishes. The term Bo Bay Mon literally translates to it. In Vietnam, Bo Bay Mon is a cuisine best enjoyed with family and friends during special celebrations or gatherings. It is similar to enjoying a delicious steamboat or Korean barbeque.
What is in Bo Bay Mon
The Bo Bay Mon is like Spanish Tapas except you don’t get to choose the kind of platter that comes with it and all the seven beef dishes are served at the same time. Typically you will get the same types of beef dishes when you order Bo Bay Mon at a Vietnamese restaurant, but establishments might jazz it up and change the recipe – all while staying true to the star of each dish – beef.
The first beef dish is the Goi Bo – a beef salad that is tossed in with a combination of pickled carrots, celery and dressed with fish sauce or nuoc cham vinaigrette.
The second dish is the Bo Cha Dum. This dish looks like a cross between a meatball and a pâté. The Bo Cha Dum is basically steamed minced beef that is mixed with mushrooms, nuts and peas and is served with a side of prawn crackers.
The third beef dish is the Bo Mo Chai which is beef and pork sausages that are prepared with garlic and five spices before being wrapped in caul fat.
The next dish on the menu is the Bo Nung Dam which is basically thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin that is marinated in vinegar to simmer it.
The fifth dish on the table will be theBo Nuong Sa – grilled minced beef that is wrapped in another layer of thin meat and served with fresh lemongrass.
Besides the Bo Nuong Sa, you will also get another type of grilled beef dish – Bo La Lot, which is grilled beef that is wrapped in Lalot leaf. Some would say that the Lalot leaf will taste quite similar to the Grape Leaf typically used in Middle Eastern Cuisine.
Last on the table is the Chao Bo or better known as the Beef Congee. It isn’t really a complete Southeast Asian dish without a little rice after all, and the congee is an excellent accompaniment to tie all the different beef dish together.
History of Bo Bay Mon
The history of the dish can be traced back to post World War II where people from all over Saigon would flock to Anh Hong, a restaurant on a small, muddy Vietnamese street that made the beef dishes famous.
It was when Le Van Kha and his family fled from Vietnam that the recipe was introduced to the world. To everyone today, Bo Bay Mon might just be another way to showcase Vietnamese culinary art, but to the people of Vietnam, it was a way to celebrate after the war had ended. It was a sign of happiness and gratitude that they were still able to enjoy a good meal with their loved ones.
Where to find Bo Bay Mon in Malaysia
If you are looking for a great place to enjoy the Bo Bay Mon with your family and friends, head on over to Ăn Viet where they would have a selection of beef dishes in small bites and primary size portions. They have outlets located in Gurney Plaza (Penang) and The Gardens (KL). You can also try the Bo Bay Mon at Royale Vietnam in Bukit Bintang for a more upscale dining experience.
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