First Look

Grilled Pork Bun at MAMA Asian Noodle Bar

Pictured above: One steaming hot grilled pork bun. No, not pork bun as in the sticky, Chinese dim sum stuffed with bbq pork. Pork Bun as in the Vietnamese vermicelli rice noodle dish, bun thit. It's from MAMA Asian Noodle Bar, a new pan-Asian eatery in the Promenade at Coconut Creek.

What makes up bun thit -- or as its called at MAMA, "grilled pork

noodle?" Well, it starts with rice vermicelli noodles layered on top of

a bed of bean sprouts, carrots, and lettuce. On top of that goes warm

slices of freshly grilled pork loin marinated in a sweet and tangy

sauce. It's dressed with peanuts and layered with nuoc cham, another kind of tangy Vietnamese dipping sauce. It may sound like a lot of ingredients, but bun thit

actually has a very simple, fresh flavor. The result is an

interplay between many separate elements, a balance of sweet and savory,

crunchy and soft, spicy and soothing.

Usually, diners dress up their bun thit as they see fit, adding

sriracha or lemongrass infused sambal chili to the mix, or sprinkling

on soy or fish sauce or even more nuoc cham. Some restaurants

provide basil or cilantro to toy with as well. MAMA just let the bun

shine on its own, though each table had bottles of spicy sriracha and soy sauce to play with.

Most of MAMA's menu reads like entry level pan-Asian, with some easy

Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese dishes that eschew proper terminology in

favor of easier to understand English names. But the flavors -- at

least of what I've tried so far -- have been pretty authentic. It's

shaping up to be my favorite restaurant in the newly constructed

Promenade, a sort of outdoor shopping mall with fashion stores and

mostly chain eateries.

More on MAMA in the coming weeks. For now, enjoy the bun.

MAMA Asian Noodle Bar

4437 Lyons Rd., ste. E-108, Coconut Creek 33073


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