Even though Bun cha is rustic and simple right from the processing steps to the way to enjoy, it is still the unique dish in Vietnam. Bun cha has similar characteristics to grilled meat vermicelli in the Central and South regions of Vietnam; but the fish sauce in the recipe of Bun cha Hanoi has a lighter bar.
There is no specific milestone to record the birth history of Bun cha; and who created this dish. Only a long time ago, from this generation to another generation of Hanoi people are still familiar with Bun cha; they consider it an indispensable dish in the daily culinary life.
Bun cha Hanoi recipe
Bun cha consists of 3 main parts: sauce, grilled patties, and vermicelli. A plate of Bun cha is delicious or not is primarily determined by the dipping sauce. Vermicelli sauce is filled with sour, spicy, salty and sweet with fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, chili. The appropriate amount might depend on the chef. In the bowl of dipping sauce, there is always green papaya, carrots, or sometimes bean sprouts.
Grilled meat has two types: the pork ball and pork pieces. You can choose to have one of the two types or have both. Usually, pork will be bacon part for a certain softness and sweetness; then mixed with salt, pepper, fish sauce over 35 percent of protein, sugar, minced onion and oil if the meat is too dry.
The pork ball is squeezed into a round shape of about half of your duke size, marinated and grilled under a red rosewood stove. Vermicelli in Bun cha is usually tangled; however, free noodle is traditionally used more.
How to enjoy Bun cha the best?
Although you can eat at any time of the day, Hanoi people often eat Bun cha at lunch. The feature of choosing this time to enjoy is considered as one of the unique features in the “culinary art” of the ancient land from ancient times.
Sitting on the plastic tables and chairs on the sidewalk, enjoying an elegant, soft bowl of white vermicelli seem to have become a too common act in daily life for Vietnamese people.
Walking down the street, you can find people with many types; whether they are the old, young, boys, girls, even the people wearing elegant shirts, all enjoy this dish deliciously.
The carefully marinated grilled meat is served with vermicelli, and a variety of fresh vegetables; which, all together, create an overall harmonious of the dish. Once you taste it, you will never forget the flavor that can only find in Hanoi.
To have a good dish, you need to eat it properly. Hanoi people often say that eating Bun cha in the right way is to eat with a variety of green vegetables such as lettuce, herbs, perilla, etc. Currently, there are variations in the ingredient of Bun cha. Some shops have more or less created the style when changing the processing methods like enjoying time; such as Bun cha wrapped with banana leaves, vermicelli with grilled pork balls, Bun cha for breakfast and vermicelli with vinegar, etc.
Picking up vermicelli and then dipping it into a bowl of dipping sauce filled with grilled meat, before adding raw vegetables into your bowl, you will find the harmonious taste spreading with the enjoyment.
It is not difficult to find a restaurant of vermicelli in the street corners of Hanoi capital; in which some are quite famous, familiar with customers. One of the most famous restaurant that shows the world another special delicious dish in Vietnam is Huong Lien restaurant.
>> Suggested tour to enjoy Bun cha Hanoi: Hanoi Street Food Tour
Bun cha Huong Lien restaurant in Hanoi
Famous for having Bun cha Obama, Huong Lien is one of the best Bun cha restaurants in Vietnam.
In 2016, the vermicelli dinner of US President Barack Obama and chef Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi created an “extraordinary effect”. A famous figure in the political world and a renowned figure in the gastronomic world meet together to enjoy one of the unique dishes in Vietnam – Bun cha.
What is special about Bun cha?
The image of the world’s most powerful man sitting in a plastic chair, eating Bun cha, drinking a cold beer with a simple and elegant white shirt in Vietnam has become one of the most impressive highlights in people hearts for a long time after that. For weeks later, national and international newspapers still discussed the meal as well as the delicious flavored of vermicelli dish.
Along with pho, bread, and many other famous traditional dishes, Bun cha is being mentioned by the whole world; as a new representative of Vietnamese cuisine. In the ranking of delicious food in the world, famous newspapers like CNN or Lonely Planet usually put Bun cha in the top.
Writing about this dish, the culinary writers all said that the sophistication of Vietnamese vermicelli is the combination of the capital’s culture in a traditional meal. The combination of sufficient meat, just enough of vegetables, fish sauce and vermicelli, makes you enjoy the meal without leaving any part of the dish.
Bun cha is unique in its way, not too ostentatious but attractive enough from the simplicity. Through ups and downs of Hanoi history, Bun cha still retains its unique flavor and maintains its position as one of the national dishes in Vietnamese cuisine.
Some places to enjoy Bun cha in Hanoi
Close your travel guidebooks with popular suggestions that all travelers may know. Let’s try delicious Bun cha as Hanoians at local restaurants at much more reasonable costs.
Bun cha Cua Dong
Bun cha Cua Dong has long been judged by local people as the most “addictive” Bun cha. Firstly, pork is grilled together with wild betel leaf that makes it smell so good. And for those who have tried Bun cha at many restaurants often agree that there is plenty of meat for a bowl.
Add: 41 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price: VND 30,000 – VND 50,000
Bun cha Hang Quat
Bun cha Hang Quat is very familiar with Hanoians. Although the restaurant is very small with just a few tables in an alley of Hanoi Old Quarter, it is always crowded thanks to tasty Bun cha.
Add: 74 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price: VND 25,000 – VND 40,000
Another nice place to try Bun cha in the Old Quarter is Bun cha Hang Than. With full of noodle and grilled pork, 35,000.00 VND for a bowl and quick service is a plus point for this restaurant
Add: 34 Hang Than
Price: VND 35,000
Bun cha Phat Loc
Bun cha Phat Loc is also known as Bun cha que tre (grilled pork on the bamboo stick with noodle). Pork is carefully selected by the lady owner who has already had 30 years experience. She cuts it thickly – half lean half fat slices and then of course marinates with many spices before being grilled. I bet all gourmets will have an urge to eat Bun cha while seeing the pork on skewers in the oven.
Add: 12 Phat Loc Street. Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price: VND 25,000 – VND 35,000
Bun cha Bach Mai
Another place to enjoy Bun cha that should be noted on your list is Bach Mai. Locals often share with each other than agree that Bun cha here is very tasty. The restaurant is opened daily from 14:00 pm – a bit too late for lunch, yet still very early for dinner and the lady owner is also a little snobby. Maybe because of this reason, this place is called “bun cha-ching” – snobby restaurant. Yet, rumor has it Bun cha served here is delicious so people come here to enjoy this dish anyway.
You will be served a dish of rice noodles, grilled pork, sauce, and herbs separately while most of the restaurants often dip pork into sauce. Personally, I do not find sauce here very special, yet gilled pork is prominent. The meat smells so good, tasty. With the price of VND 40,000 – 50,000, relatively higher than Bun cha at other places, Bun cha Bach Mai is still crowded.
Add: 213 Bach Mai, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
Price: VND 40,000.00 VND – VND 50,000.00
Suggested Hanoi tours for Bun cha experience
It would be great if you could try Bun Cha Hanoi at all the places mentioned above and find your own favorite one. If you just have a few days in Hanoi in your Vietnam tours, let’s check on google map and find the nearest restaurant!
Phuong Dao – Travel Lover