Thanh Da in Sunset Park is one of my favorite Vietnamese spots in the city. I used to only go for the (delicious) banh mi, neglecting everything else on the menu. Then one day I saw that they offered bun rieu, a Vietnamese crab and tomato noodle soup that I hadn’t seen anywhere else in New York.
And what a shame too. This dish is immensely flavorful, with bright tomato-y broth, bits of crab paste, tender pork, fried tofu puffs, and a hearty amount of rice noodles, all topped with fresh mint and bean sprouts. To compare: the last time I had a bowl of bun rieu was in Hanoi at a street stall. Thanh Da’s version is almost as good, without requiring a plane ride to Vietnam.