Hú Lù Lu, a Vietnamese restaurant in Budapest’s party district, is the type of place where the food speaks louder than the decor (always a better combination than reversed). Two Vietnamese-Hungarian 20-somethings originally from Nghệ An in north-central Vietnam run this 2018 newcomer and in addition to a few excellent dishes it's the adorably “mom and pop” feel of Hú Lù Lu’s that draws me back.

The obligatory pho soups, summer- and spring rolls are all satisfactoy, but it’s the bún bò Huế soup, a favorite in Central Vietnam, that stands tall here. It’s a chili-laced spicy noodle soup sporting a bunch of herbs, thin slices of beef shank, shaved pork knuckles, and Vietnamese ham. The Vietnamese chilis arrive separately, so customers can set the spice levels for themselves.

The phos, available with beef (pho bo), chicken (pho ga), and shrimp here, are of the milder, northern Vietnamese variety; feel free to jazz them up with chilis or Sriracha. The classic bun cha, another popular noodle dish with grilled pork, a mound of herbs, bean sprouts, and pickled vegetables, will also not disappoint. Outside of traditional Vietnamese food there's also fried rice, dim sums (shrimp dumplings), and seared and sliced duck. For drinks, besides beers, you can also try Vietnamese drip coffee at Hú Lù Lu, both the iced and warm varieties.