The most important part of the dish is ‘mam pro-hok’ (fermented fish sauce).
The Khmer group living along the Mekong Delta tapped the abundant fish resources in the rivers and fields to make the fish sauce, which some first-timers find particularly pungent but is very popular among local people.
This kind of fish sauce is used to cook ‘nuoc leo’ (broth).
Bun (noodles) should be made from fragrant rice harvested in the delta’s autumn season. The rice should be soaked overnight before being ground up to make the skinny noodles.
Ingredients to be eaten with the dish include fresh mung bean sprouts, banana flowers, coriander and fragrant shallots.
In the past, people never squeezed lemon over their noodles, and instead used chili vinegar made from coconut juice and a ripen banana to create a sourness that is very difficult to describe.