Mar 2009

No Reservations: Bourdain Visits The Lunch Lady

Last September, a producer from Anthony Bourdain’s television series No Reservations contacted me to discuss my favorite eats on Saigon’s gritty streets. “You must visit The Lunch Lady,” I said. “She makes the meanest noodle soups around.”

Tune in tonight at ten to the Travel Channel to see Tony B. slurping his heart out on Hoang Sa Street. Mmm, boy!

See also: Lunch Lady, Her Noodles Bring All the Boys to the Yard, and Meet the Lunch Lady.

UPDATE: The segment has been posted on YouTube…

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30 thoughts on “No Reservations: Bourdain Visits The Lunch Lady

  1. hi cathy,

    while watching anthony bourdain’s show tonight, i became curious about this wonderous lunch lady, and did as he suggested… i googled her, and landed at your website. what a pleasant coinky dinky 🙂 this is my first visit to your website and i love it already. great work 🙂


  2. Hi there,

    I too saw Anthony Bourdain’s show tonight and came across your site via a google search. I’m heading on a vacation to Vietnam next month and looking at all of your pictures and reading about the delicious soups makes me so excited! I’m definately going to visit the “lunch lady!”


  3. That crepe thing looked incredible, didn’t it? The sandwiches looked great too, with the “gratuitous egg”. Any good Vietnamese sandwich places you can suggest in LA?

  4. btw…they have a No Reservations application on Facebook now…just joined and it’s pretty awesome! I think you guys should start a I LOVE the Gastronomy Blog…I’d definitely join and im sure others would too 🙂 Hey why not since I read it everyday?

  5. I just so happen to be spending a day in HCMC next week and am going to tell the two people I’m with that this is where we are getting lunch, no questions asked. Is it that hard to find? Using your map and google maps I think that I have located it, but I was just curious. I wish I was spending more then a day in Vietnam!

  6. dang I missed the episode… did they mention the source of their lunch lady tip? how cool! must find that, maybe ondemand or something…

  7. umm. In the link you provided of the photo journal. They referred to you as a “him”. Oops

  8. wow, very cool. Glad to see you getting the kudos you deserve for this great site =) Other people may have crushes on George Clooney, but I’m totally a Bourdain gal.

  9. I saw this show… Pretty nice.
    (just in case).. if you get your own show what would you call it?

  10. I just caught the “No Reservations” episode online and I have to say I was literally jumping up and down my seat when I saw the Lunch Lady appear. I hope this opens doors for you to become Bourdain’s personal meal assistant when he moves to Vietnam for a year!

  11. Did you get to meet up with Bourdain? I’d kill for a photo with him.

    i’d kill zimern if i have to!!!


  12. It was delicious, I just had lunch, tue. June 30 2009.. Some kind of meat, shrimp,dried fish, dried squid, pork bits, I think a dove or quail egg, celery greens and delicious broth, rice noodles and scallion and bean sprouts too of course and that delicious broth deserves another mention, I saw some beef bones being pulled out.

  13. Ther are not many oasis in the culdron that is Ho Chi Minh city but this little corner seems to be one. Tony refers to it as the “center of the universe” and I’m sure it will feel that way. Will be visiting HCMC very soon and can’t wait toexperience the “essence of life” which is pho.

  14. Hi There,

    I’ll be in Ho Chi Minh City in February for a month. Can you give me the address for the Lunch Lady or give a few landmarks so that I can navigate the city and find her, if she does not have an address. What street is her cart on?



  15. Howdy, I will be visiting in FEB as well and would like to visit this eatery.

    I fleed VN in ’75 with my parents. This will be my first time back and want to experience VN at its best.

  16. I was told about this lunch lady from a friend and had the opportunity to visit her for a taste of her special soup one Friday in January of 2010. She is still at the same corner cooking and serving away. Just as was told, here the locals were lined up to eat their lunch. It was a mysterious experience. I could not tell you what was in this boiled concoction. But I can tell you it was the best I have eaten. A time that will not be forgotten. Sitting here typing this I can still smell the city life of the area and remember the savory taste of the lunch lady soup in my mouth.

  17. the best meal I had in my 2 weeks in Vietnam……….I liked the dry blood………all for less then a dollar with a soda……..what a scene………….the other carts in the area did not have much going on, but our soup star had people waiting, mostly all Vietnamese amd a few Westerners….lots stuff in the soup..

  18. I am in HMC right now and I my cousin took me to find her but no luck. Does she only serve at certain hours? I will be here for a few more days…help!

  19. I am in Saigon right now. This is my third time here, but only just now herd about this “lunch Lady” on No Reservations. Good thing I caught it Im goin 2 pay her visit 2morrow morning hahahaa.

  20. I just had lunch at the lunch lady last Friday. I arrived early, around 11am. People were still coming in on there motorbikes. There were also other tourists, curious to see what the fuss is about. The dish of the day was Bun Ba, or rice noodles with beef.The beef was a perfect medium rare. Also on the side was copius amounts of frsh herbs, lime, and chilies. It was an unforgetable lunch. However, the star of the show has to be the broth; it was rich and sweet and ever so spicy. It was a symphony in my mouth.

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