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Bay Lo, Exotic and Esoteric Vietnamese in Eden Center - Closed

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Tucked away in the corner is this small restaurant (which accepts credits cards) that serves some unique stuff (various offal, hot pots, seafood, etc.), although it is not clear what the prices are. Interested people must inquire, although they don't seem to speak much English.

I ordered some spring rolls and bun cha hanoi (it's #8 on their menu, called bun cha bay lo). Bun cha hanoi are grilled pork, pork patties, and fish served in a bowl of hot fish sauce, accompanied by sides of herbs and rice noodles. One can dip the noodles and herbs in the bowl of fish sauce and eat it with some of the meat, or you can dump some noodles and herbs in another bowl, spoon some fish sauce and meat on top of the noodles/herbs and eat it. I did the latter. You are eating the herbs more or less raw since the fish sauce isn't hot enough like a bowl of pho to cook the herbs. This is certainly a different experience. With the spring rolls, it was $12 (after tax but no tip).

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I snapped a picture of the "unique" side of the menu. After much perusing, I went with the not so frightening crispy fried long-jaw anchovies. The batter is similar to "salt and pepper" batter. I enjoyed this dish along with their crab paste noodle soup (bun rieu). Next time I'll try some steamed clams in beer. For some reason, I think all this stuff will taste much better if I can speak Vietnamese and I drink lots of beer while eating.



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There are two clam dishes on the menu. One says roast clams with onion fat - sounds delicious but fattening so I haven't tried it yet. I tried the other clams - which is listed below roast clam with onion fact but in such small print that I can't read it from the menu I posted. They're clams topped with peanuts, served with a side of "fragrant weed." Not many restaurants tell you that you're eating weed - maybe they need a new menu writer. As it turned out, the clams were a bit tough (probably because they're not small) and do not have much more than their natural flavor. I can't really tell it they were steamed or roasted. Finally, the crushed peanuts clashed with the texture of the clams to me.


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Had lunch at Bay-Lo today. I ordered a bún riêu cua - bun noodles served with tomato broth and topped with crab or shrimp paste. The version here isn't particularly tomatoey, but I really liked the broth. According to Wikipedia:

The crabs are pounded with the shell on to a fine paste. This paste is strained and the crab liquid is a base for the soup along with tomato. The crab residue is used as the basis for crab cakes. Other ingredients for this dish are: fried tofu, mẻ or giấm bổng (kinds of rice vinegar), Garcinia multiflora Champ., annatto seeds (hạt điều màu) to redden the broth, huyết (congealed pig's blood), split water spinach stems, shredded banana flower, rau kinh giới (Elsholtzia ciliata), spearmint, perilla, bean sprouts and chả chay (vegetarian sausage). This dish is rich in nutrition: calcium from the ground crab shells, iron from the congealed pig's blood, and vitamins and fiber from the vegetables.

No pigs blood in this version, I don't know what garcinia is, and the broth wasn't red (but other places do serve it with red broth). There was a big bowl of herbs and shredded lettuce that I dumped in the soup which could have been all the other ingredients. I remember liking the version at Present as well, which did have pigs blood, red broth and a more tomatoey soup (but that was a long time ago).

The other item I ordered is called Bay-Lo Miscellaneous Salad. There was no menu description so I took chance, thinking how bad can a salad get. It turned out to be delicious, but not particularly healthy. There were peanuts, pickled carrots, pickled daikon, Chinese pickled cabbage (the olive green stuff), shredded pork (with lots of fat), sliced shrimp, herbs, some other white root-like veggie, and deboned duck feet (strips of white, one of which is in the foreground of the pic). Once I realize there were duck feet, I picked them out (they don't have much flavor, probably just steamed and maybe pickled). The whole plate was sweet and sour due to it being dressed with nước chấm. Fans of Vietnamese pickled veggies will love this.


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There may have been a change of ownership.  At a minimum, there's a change of menu.  Only the first page of the menu has English translation.  The other two pages of food only has the categories in English (veggies, fish, etc.).

I tried their oxtail pho.  It came with a generous helping of fatty oxtail which I enjoyed gnawing on (I think the oxtail could've been trimmed of fat more).  The broth was also very good.  The solicitous proprietor kept trying to get me to put hot sauce on everything.

The spring rolls came with herbs and pickled carrots/daikon.  Their version contains yams.

If anyone can read Vietnamese, I would love to see a translation of their menu.  It probably would help if I took pictures of the menu and posted here, but I wasn't thinking.

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