Food in Vietnam Hanoi: Bun Cha

Travel Period: 21 Sep – 28 Sep 2014

{PREVIOUS:  Sunset in Hanoi West Lake}

Vietnamese Local Food

Bun Cha

Bun Cha is a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork & noodle believed to be originated from Hanoi. This dish is served with grilled fatty pork (cha) over a plate of white rice noodle (bun) and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce/broth.

HanoiDay2_DacKimBunCha

What made this dish unique was the dipping sauce/broth, which is made up of fish sauce, vinegar and sugar, which attribute to its sweet and sour taste. The pork together with the broth while the rice noodle is served separately on a dry plate, usually with some vegetables. Since the pork is grilled, this dish is also commonly called ‘BBQ Pork Noodles’ by foreigners.

So how did we eat it?

Vin’s way of eating (if not sharing ): Dip a quantity of rice noodles directly into the BBQ meat broth and slurp.

Cat’s way of eating (regardless whether sharing): Use one of the small bowls provided, place a small amount of rice noodles into it. Scoop the broth to drench the rice noodle. Pick a piece of meat and add into the small bowl. Pick some veggies from the basket and place into the bowl. Eat together. Do these steps again after the quantity is finished.

{Cat}: There’s no right or wrong way but I felt it’s easier to scoop my rice noodles if they are not lost in the “sea of meat” and there would not be too much soup to overwhelm the taste. Vin’s way is less troublesome though…

The best Bun Cha we have tasted was at a stall along Hang Manh street. We had written down the stall’s address based on good reviews on the Web but when we reached there, we realised that the names of the stall at this address was NOT the name of the stall we knew. Furthermore, there were two stalls selling Bun Cha next to each other (and with the same stall name!).

The moment the stall owners spotted us, they tried to convince us that they were the ‘original’ owners and worked very hard to get us into their individual stalls. We were a little upset over their ‘hard-sell’ tactics (especially the one at the corner) and in the end, we settled for the one which was less aggressive. The stall even had name cards and their staff donning the same uniform with the stall name printed on them.

HanoiDay2_DacKimByTheRoadside

{ Cat } : We didn’t choose the one with kids’ stools and low table which is the norm for Hanoi’s roadside stalls. This was more comfy for us. It was an interesting experience sitting there with the traffic behind me and it was quite airy too.

The next few days, we tried the dish at another stall near our hotel. My verdict is that the one here at Hang Manh tasted better. I prefer their broth and pork, which have excellent taste to them. The servings of the rice noodles were also generous and even when we asked for more (it was so good that I wanted more ^^|), they didn’t charge extra for it. Also, when they saw that we had a young child with us, they advised us to just order two bowls of Bun Cha (we had actually wanted to order three bowls) since they believe their generous servings would be enough for all three of us, and they were right.

HanoiDay2_DacKimShopBunCha

  • Venue: Dac Kim
    Add: 1 Hang Manh, Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hà Nội
    Costs: Bun Cha – 60K x 2 Bowls, Soft-Drink Coke – 15K — Total : 135K




OTHER PLACE FOR BUN CHA

The next few days, we ate at another shop near our hotel. The price was cheaper but the servings not as generous.

Each bowl was 35K VND and drinks of bottled lemon tea was at 10K VND each.

HanoiDay4_ThanhHopBunCha

On one occasion, I brought Dar to eat the Pho Ga while I ordered the Bun Cha again. The Pho Ga was just okay. The Hanoi Spring Rolls were delicious and crispy though.

HanoiDay4_DarAndPho

HanoiDay4_ThanhHop

HanoiDay4_ThanhHopMenu

HanoiDay4_BunCha

  • Venue: Thanh Hop
    Add: 12 Dinh Liet Street, Hoan Kiem, Hà Nội
    Costs: Bun Cha – 35K x 2 Bowls, Bottled Lemon Tea – 10K x 2 — Total : 90K VND