Bo & Bun offers a variety of Asian cuisines, but the main one is Vietnamese, although there are also many Thai dishes as well as some Korean, Indonesian, Chinese and a few of their own combos.
Normally places with many different cuisines are those to be avoided but at Bo & Bun they do them all well enough to be an exception to that rule!
The most common Viet dish on offer in Indonesia is Rice Paper Rolls. Sadly the quality of this quite simple dish varies greatly from place to place. As with the Japanese Sushi it is best prepared fresh, ‘a la minute’, NOT pre-prepared and then refrigerated, thus losing most of its taste, finishing in your mouth almost as plastic. At Bo & Bun they offer them as they are most often served in Vietnam…you make them yourself! The plate has a pile of rice paper, dampen them and fill them with a host of ingredients. Select your base of pork, chicken or tofu, then cucumber, coriander, mint [a must] and much more are to be added. You soon discover why inexperienced kitchens often ruin them! Messy but fun, and like anything that you create yourself tastes great when you get it right!
These are a great starter to any Asian meal but there are many other interesting snacks and entrees here, in fact you could make a meal of just them, as there are so many different tastes. Viet deep fried Spring Rolls are different from all of the others….they are stuffed with cabbage, wood ear mushrooms and glass noodles. You dunk them in the traditional Viet ‘nuoc cham’ dipping sauce [lemongrass, lime juice and a little chilli].
For a complete variety of taste add a plate of the Korean Chicken Wings in a spicy Korean sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds, some Thai Fish Cakes, and a serve of Bao Gao, steam buns stuffed with pork belly, pickled cucumber, a bit of coriander and chilli then dipped in the sweet Chinese hoisin sauce. There is also a regular Thai dish, Gai Hor Bai Toey, Chicken Pandan on this menu, chicken pieces wrapped in pandan leaves though they serve it with that all purpose sweet chilli sauce rather than the wonderful traditional tamarind/sesame reduction.
Vietnamese Salads have a wonderful clean fresh taste to them derived from the range of ingredients but here a house creation steals the show. It is called just a Crunchy Asian Salad and is based on the use of Japanese soba noodles, but served cold! I had never experienced them cold until a recent meal at Reef in Sanur, ever since then I am totally hooked! At Bo & Bun the cold soba noodles are combined with shredded carrots, red & white cabbage, grilled tempe and fried wonton skins, tossed in a soy & ginger dressing. Fantastic!
By now you are almost full and you have not even looked at the house special…PHO. For many people this dish is why so many go to Vietnamese restaurants, although I am afraid for me the other traditional dishes are more important. Pho is beef [here a combination of tenderloin, brisket and meat balls] in a broth with noodles, coriander, onions, bean sprouts, chilli, basil and lime. It is a very aromatic dish. They also offer another Pho version with lemongrass but that is so popular it sells out quickly each day.
Dishes from the wok are more Thai than Vietnamese. A Pad Thai, Chicken & Cashew and one of my all-time favourites, Kra Pao [minced chicken with Thai basil, topped with a fried egg], which is good but served much lighter on the chilli, than real Thai.
Some pork dishes from the grill include lemongrass marinated Pork Chop which comes with a Vietnamese style pork omelette and a fried egg. The ever-present Pork Ribs are also available are can be ordered western style with fries or Asian style with rice.
If you just drop in for a quick snack there is always that traditional Viet lunch, Banh Mi, a split baguette lined with a spread of pate and stuffed with a mix of meat, pickled veg and cucumber, chilli and things. A sandwich with a difference!
Altogether Bo & Bun is great value, and most enjoyable to visit. With many tasty creations on offer, a good spread of Asian delights! Most important for many, great value too!
Restaurant : Bo & Bun
Address : Jl. Raya Seminyak 26, Seminyak.
Telephone : 859.3549.3484
Open : 10.00 a.m. to 22.30 p.m. daily.
Parking : Street only.
Price : Rp. 350,000 for two [+ drinks]
Credit Cards : Visa, Mastercard.
Food : Asian.
Wine : Very limited.
Service : Friendly.
Atmosphere : Everyone busy, eating and talking!
Overall : Great value.
Copyright © 2018 Gerry Williams
Reviews that appear in Bali Advertiser are based on actual visits to the establishments listed, without the knowledge of the restaurants, and are not paid for by the individual restaurants.
Opinions expressed here are those of Gerry Williams and not necessarily those of Bali Advertiser. Gerry Williams attempts to write from a ‘typical’ diner’s perspective and, whilst quality of food is the most important criteria overall, value for money is the real measuring stick.