You know how sometimes when you know you just… know? I know at this level of knowing that last week I had the best bahn mi sandwich I will ever eat in my entire life. I had tried Dinosaurs; it was okay. I had tried the little vietnamese coffee shop in my neighborhood. It was better than expected. Then I tried the Belly Bun at Bun Mee. My life was changed forever.
I had heard Bun Mee was a San Francisco staple right from the beginning. I’m not sure why it took me so long to try it but I wish I could remember to whom it is I owe my never ending gratitude for recommending this place. This fast-but-fresh eatery serves up lots of tasty-sounding takes on the classic Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich. Give the other guys a look, but I highly advise you try the Belly Bun — this pork belly is classic for a reason.
Bun Mee uses Kurobuta pork — the most highly regarded pork in Japan. And if that’s not good enough for you, these pigs are descents of the Black Berkshire pig which is believed to be the highest quality pork in the world. Yup, Bun Mee takes its job seriously. They also serve the belly in a way that’s more appealing than other servings of pork belly — there’s plenty of meat and it’s not packed with fat. The meat is braised in a sweet sauce giving it plenty of flavor.
Bun Mee offers rice and vermicelli bowls that are superb as well. Meet the caramel citrus bowl. Sounds interesting, right? It includes pickled papaya, fresh citrus, avocado and a house-made caramel sauce. These bowls tempt in endless ways — over vermicelli noodles, over white or brown rice and accompanied by any meat (or not) of your choosing: pork, chicken, shrimp, steak or tofu. The chicken was just as delicious as the pork.
Last but not least, Bun Mee makes its own Agua Fresca in house. If my life depended on picking between the Kaffir Limeade and the Strawberry Lychee I don’t think I could.
Bun Mee has two locations, one on Market street that’s closer to Soma’s offices and one in the quaint blocks of Fillmore street. They both offer outdoor seating, but are both on the smaller size and could be anxiety-inducing around peak lunch hours. But I’ve told you exactly what to order, so go and try it. You have no excuse to live any longer in the proximity of a less than perfect Bahn Mi sandwich.