IF you’ve ever wondered how a president takes his bun cha (Vietnamese pork noodles), or you’re just missing Obama so much you want to gaze adoringly at his used chopsticks, then this Hanoi streetfood restaurant has you covered.
The small Bún chả Hương Liên shop shot to fame after the former president dined with US celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain back in May 2016. After garnering attention from customers wanting to know exactly where the two sat and what they ate, the owners decided to enshrine the table – complete with dinner set and empty beer bottles – in a glass case.
“The customers love it, many take photos next to the table,” Nguyen Thi Hang Nga, co-owner of the restaurant, told the BBC.
Hanoi’s Huong Lien, aka Bun Cha Obama, has apparently turned the table where @Bourdain & @BarackObama sat into a memorial. (Via FB) pic.twitter.com/UoFkCo9rjt
— Mike Tatarski (@miketatarski) March 10, 2018
While the owners have attempted to lay out the plates, bowls, chopsticks and beer bottles exactly as Obama and Bourdain left them, they haven’t gone so far as to leave them unwashed.
Rather than a big surge in customers wanting to view the novelty items, Nguyen said business has remained pretty much unchanged.
“It is not a PR gimmick, I don’t think we get more clientele,” he said. “The display was set up just before the Lunar New Year [in mid-February] and I haven’t noticed any change in the flow of diners.
The President’s chopstick skills are on point . #buncha #hanoi
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In a Tweet featuring the preserved table, Bourdain said: “Not sure how I feel about this.”
As it is believed to be the only example of the practice being used on a foreign dignitary, perhaps it’s understandable he’s a bit taken aback. According to the BBC, the honor is normally reserved for the country’s top leaders such as Ho Chi Minh who had their meals kept this way for posterity.
But for the owners, who have also named a meal on their menu after Obama, it’s simply a special day they want to remember.
“For us, it is a nice memory that we will cherish forever,” said Nguyen.
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