Hai Nam Pho Bistro

Located on the Buda side of Budapest, Hai Nam is the most popular Vietnamese restaurant for local Hungarians in the city. Like it or not, the Vietnamese owners adjust the dishes to local tastes, which can mean that flavorful cuts are swapped out for less fatty meats as in the case of the bun cha, normally a mound of delicious grilled pork belly.

Hai Nam's speciality is the beef pho, which is wonderful indeed: The soup arrives in an aromatic broth packing slippery rice noodles, slow-cooked shanks (or thinly sliced sirloins), and a drizzle of bean sprouts, chives, and cilantro. I was less taken by the the spring rolls, which lacked the porky flavor and the crunchy crust.

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