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Did this: Lady and the Pig’s beef 7 ways

A course-by-course look at a rare and happy Vietnamese feast

Posted May 27, 2013 by Mari Taketa

I’m very happy. I just passed a milestone, one that brought an unexpected sense of wonderment, and it reminded me that some happinesses and yearnings long relegated to memory are worth going back and looking for again. Why not? I’m talking about things big and small, even things like dinner.

I never thought I’d have beef seven ways again, and that was all OK. I discovered this traditional Vietnamese feast in Chinatown in the ’90s, and though it was the first thing I looked for when I got to Saigon in 1996, it never came my way. I remembered it for its freshness, for its light and smoky flavors, and for the discovery that a cuisine more known for herbs and noodles and fish sauce could revel in a feast of beef seven ways.

I’d forgotten all this. So the strength of my reaction when Mrs. Le of Pig and the Lady mentioned beef seven ways a few months ago took me by surprise.

What?! Beef seven ways? You mean bo bay mon? You make bo bay mon???

Mrs. Le stared at me. She nodded.

When?? When can you make bo bay mon??

Don’t worry, she said. I’ll do a popup. I’m sure.

Well, people, it was worth waiting for. Pig and the Lady and Mrs. Le, mom of Pig chef Andrew Le, staged a popup dinner of beef seven ways from Mrs. Le’s Vietnamese childhood this past weekend, naming it Lady and the Pig’s Bo Bay Mon. (In Vietnamese, bo = beef, bay = seven and mon = dish.) My happiness at reuniting with the memory was magnified by Mrs. Le’s happiness in presenting it. This was a milestone for her too. She suffered a stroke a year or so ago, affecting her walking and talking and strength, and after all these months of therapy and work and will, this was her comeback.

I’m very happy. I never thought bo bay mon could be this good.

Beef seven ways (1 of 16)

Beef seven ways

Taste Table, Auahi Street in Kakaako last night.


You can read all of Mari’s blogs at Follow Mari on Twitter @NonStopMari or email at

  1. Annoddah_Dave
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:34 am

    EO:  Based on the success of the dinner, were you given any indication as to future dinners?  In your mind, was the dinner faire enhanced more by having wine, beer, sake or Diet Coke?

  2. Grant Shindo
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I’m really bummed I missed this! So glad you were able to reconnect with your beef 7 ways after all this time! Looked amazing, I’m going to have to beg Mama Le tomorrow for an encore.

  3. nonstopmari
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

    @Annoddah_Dave u like beef? i asked for a hana hou, we’ll see. re libations, i’d say the zippy, vinegary salad did better w/ a ginjo sake, and then the richer grilled courses better w/ red wine or beer. i don’t drink soda ;)

  4. nonstopmari
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:44 am

    @Grant Shindo ask!! i loved how fun it was, we were so busy breaking sausage and spooning onto chips, dipping rice paper, making rolls, making bowls of bun noodle tosses. u’d love the family style aspect

  5. Soos808
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 10:48 am

    OMB (Oh My Beef or Oh My Buddha. You choose!) Nice piece, @nonstopmari. Red wine all the way! At the end I was just wrapping beef in leaves, I was so full. And Ted happily drank half my congee. Dan had TWO bowls. Soup lovers, both! Then we went to the Ox & they asked us what we wanted to eat. RIIIGHT… but we did takeout, & that place was CRANKING!

  6. nonstopmari
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    @Soos808 u went to the ox after beef 7 ways?! OMB!!

About Mari Taketa

Mari Taketa is a dedicated eater who's as opinionated as she is hungry. She covered everything from neighborhood mom-and-pop places to ethnic eateries to fine dining restaurants on Honolulu's dining scene for Metromix Honolulu and The Honolulu Advertiser's TGIF. Before that, she ate her way through Vietnam, Scotland and Japan, where she lived, traveled or worked, after recovering from a journalism career that included stints as editor-in-chief of Hawaii Business magazine and reporter and editor at The Associated Press. Her goals are to always be hungry for more, and to always want to know what's around the next corner.

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