Why Bo Bun Is Paris’ Favorite Meal

Add these bo bun spots to your bucket list of places to visit when restaurants and airports open up again (or if you're in Paris, order to go).

While France is a good place to stuff your face with bread and pastries, it's also a country revered for its regional gastronomy. Bourgogne has its beef stew, the Alps have their tartiflette, Brittany has its galettes, and Paris has bo bun.

Nobody exactly knows how bo buns–a type of Vietnamese noodle salad topped with veggies, beef, spring rolls, and garnishes like crispy shallots, peanuts, and fresh herbs–came to dominate the Parisian food scene. Yet today, Every Asian cantine in the city, be it Chinese, Laotian, or Thai, seems to have bo bun on its menu, and many French brasseries have begun to follow suit.

While it has yet to reach the same levels of reverence, Paris's love affair with bo bun is comparable to how the English have declared chicken tikka masala their national dish. The respective popularity of each dish speaks to French and English multiculturalism, yet both are the results of colonial activity. While Parisians are eager to embrace foreign cuisines, bo bun cannot be separated from its historical context.

Viet cuisine in France dates back to the earliest waves of Vietnamese immigration at the turn of the twentieth century, following the French colonial rule of Indochina that began in 1861. French influence in Vietnam led to the invention of new culinary creations, including banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich which is perhaps the only good thing to come from colonization.

Despite being a markedly Vietnamese dish, bo bun also derives from French fusion. In Vietnamese, the dish's name has a straightforward translation; bò, meaning beef, and bún, meaning vermicelli noodles. However, bo bun prepared the way the French do it doesn't exactly exist in Vietnam. Its closest equivalent is bún bò xào, which differs in that it typically doesn't come topped with spring rolls. When Vietnamese chefs began to reimagine their cuisine in France, this dish was slightly altered and christened with a shorter name: bo bun. The exact reasoning for the new name is unknown, but perhaps it could be as simple as a marketing gimmick. France remains a carnivorous country, and "beef noodles" sound like you're getting bang for your buck.

No matter what you call it, bo bun continues to capture Parisian diners' attention. Not only is it delightful, but it complements the French palate, because it doesn't contain overwhelming flavor notes. The veggies provide a light crispness, the noodles fill you up, and the fish-based sauce that you mix in is the perfect combination of sweet but slightly tangy. If you so desire, you can mix in your own hot sauce.

Here are the top picks for the best places to find bo bun in Paris:

Com-Home

19 Rue Lauriston, 75116 Paris

Com-Home Deliveroo

Walking into Com-Home, a small but cozy restaurant located a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe, feels like stumbling into your grandma's house. Rightfully so, as this Vietnamese cantine is run by a sweet 80-year-old woman who makes everything from scratch. She welcomes you like her own family and can speak multiple languages, making this a good travel-friendly spot if you have yet to perfect your French. All the ingredients here are super fresh, so expect a top quality bo bun with a nice crisp that will not disappoint, cooked with the love and care of a French-Vietnamese grandma.

Tien Hiang

14 Rue Bichat, 75010 Paris

Tien Hiang veganamontreal.com

Veggie travelers listen up: Tien Hiang is the Asian haven you didn't know you needed. This restaurant serves up Pan-Asian cuisine, specializing in Southeast Asian dishes, and everything is 100% vegetarian. At Tien Hiang, you'll have a choice between "beef" or "shrimp" bo bun, but the flavor is so good it could fool even your most carnivorous friends. You'll want to get there early, as not only are there lines, but it'll take you at least ten minutes to calm down after you see how many options you finally have.

Panda Belleville

16 Rue Louis Bonnet, 75011 Paris

Panda Belleville localglobalworld.blogspot.com

If you just want good food and no frills, then Panda Belleville is the place for you. This casual Viet eatery is located in the heart of Paris' new Chinatown and offers up filling bowls of bo bun that won't put a strain on your wallet. This restaurant is best known for take-out banh mi, so many miss the wonder that is their bo bun, which comes topped with a very generous layer of crushed peanuts for extra texture in your dish.

Le Petit Cambodge

20 Rue Alibert, 75010 Paris and 4 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris

Le Petit Camboge Tripadvisor

With two locations near the trendy Canal Saint Martin, Le Petit Cambodge is where the cool people go to eat and be seen. While this is actually a Cambodian restaurant, bowls of bo bun are constantly flying out of their kitchen. If you're looking to switch up your typical order, this is the place to be as their menu boasts eight (!!) different varieties of the dish. In the warmer months, make like the French and people-watch on their terrasse as you wait for that glorious moment when the bo bun arrives.

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Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!

Travel Tips

8 of the Best Donut Spots In the United States

Celebrate National Donut Day with our favorite treats across the country.

November 5th marks one of 2020's two National Donut Days.

Occurring in both June and November, National Donut Day allows fans of those delectable yeasty treats to embrace their sweet tooth. But like any niche food group, people often take their donuts very, very seriously, and there are countless places to get your fix.


Below, we've rounded up some of the best donut spots across the country. From coast to coast, these bakeries are sure to impress even the pickiest donut-heads.

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop – Modesto, CA

Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop

If you ever find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's worth taking a short trek out east towards Modesto for some of California's best donuts. Mr. T.'s Delicate Donut Shop has remained family owned since its opening over 30 years ago, providing both tried-and-true classic donuts as well as experimental flavors and holiday specials. Even their 24-hour service doesn't diminish the line that trails out the door most mornings.

Dough — New York, NY

Dough \u2014 New York, NY

Donuts might not be the first circular, doughy treat you think of when it comes to New York City. If you've had your fair share of bagels, the Big Apple also boasts some spectacular donuts at Dough, a go-to spot for both tourists and locals alike. Here, you'll find a host of Latin American-inspired flavors that are hard to come by anywhere else; their Dulce de Leche flavor is a customer favorite, while the tangy Hibiscus donut is just as good for Instagramming as it is for eating.

Blackbird Doughnuts — Boston, MA

Blackbird Doughnuts \u2014 Boston, MA

Boston's Blackbird Doughnuts is a no-frills donut spot specializing in both brioche "raised" donuts and old-fashioned cake donuts. With a small menu of year-round donuts and a rotating cast of seasonal flavors, Blackbird keeps it simple and classic. Why mess around?

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop — Brooklyn, NY

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop \u2014 Brooklyn, NY

For over 60 years, Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop has been calling the quaint Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint home. Since then, the bakery has remained a popular spot for both regulars and new visitors passing through the area. Here, you won't find uber-trendy decor or gimmicky recipes, just damn good donuts that prove the power of long-standing local businesses.

Pip’s Original — Portland, OR

Pip\u2019s Original \u2014 Portland, OR

In both their mobile catering van and brick-and-mortar locations, Pip's Original is a staple for small, sweet treats in Portland. They're known for their tiny donuts that come in inventive seasonal flavors like marionberry-lavender and mango ghost pepper. But even if you opt for one of the more traditional flavors, Pip's Original proves good things can come in small packages.

Round Rock Donuts — Round Rock, TX

Round Rock Donuts \u2014 Round Rock, TX

Founded in 1926, Round Rock Donuts—located just north of Austin—are impossible to miss. These donuts' distinct yellow-orange color, caused by fresh eggs in the original recipe, make them stand out among the crowd. While this classic outpost can easily churn out hundreds of dozens of donuts a day, they also offer Texas-Sized Donuts, which are just as ginormous as you'd imagine. Round Rock Donuts are not only delicious and easily recognizable, but they're a slice of Lone Star history.

The Holy Donut — Portland, ME

The Holy Donut \u2014 Portland, ME

In Maine's Portland, you might not find tiny donuts or a decked-out catering van, but you will find a slightly healthier alternative. The Holy Donut was founded on the premise of creating tasty donuts that used all-natural ingredients to make a treat you could feel good about eating. The secret ingredient is fresh, mashed Maine potatoes, which make these donuts delectably moist without sacrificing flavor.

Donut Friend — Los Angeles, CA

Donut Friend \u2014 Los Angeles, CA

As expected of a city so focused on entertainment, Los Angeles' Donut Friend puts an edgy spin on their inventive donut flavors. Their year-round menu features donut flavors with names like Green Teagan and Sara, Fudgegazi, and Bacon-182 that are sure to delight the rock music nerds. For everyone else, the delicious donuts speak for themselves.