One of the iconic dishes in Hanoi, Bun Cha is one of our favourite of all street foods in Vietnam. It’s got two types of pork, a smoking hot grill, a tangy fish sauce dip, tons of fresh veggies and noodles.
Bun Cha starts out with marinated pork belly and pork patties which are placed on hot coals where they grill happily away. A good Bun Cha vendor will cook the meat with a little char on it to give a slight astringency to the meat. Once the meat is ready to go, it is placed in a bowl with some pickled vegetables which are usually carrots, daikon radish and/or onions. With the meat still smoking hot, a fish sauce based broth is ladled on top. This is where the char comes heavily into play. Some of the char should fall off the meat and swim on top of the broth. This extra element takes the broth to a level that is plain heaven.
It is then served with an accompaniment of fresh lettuce, your typical hodgepodge of herbs and white rice vermicelli noodles. Depending on the level of authenticity of the vendor, you could have sliced garlic in vinegar, chili flakes or limes as garnish.
The dish is almost always accompanied by Nem Cua Be, which is a deep fried spring roll stuffed with crab, minced pork, and mushrooms.
Here are the best places for Bun Cha in Hanoi
1. Bun Cha Huong Lien – where Obama had his dinner
Address: 24 Le Van Huu, Hanoi
2. Bun Cha Dac Kim Hang Manh
Address: 1 Hang Manh, Hanoi
3. Bun Cha Sinh Tu
Address: 57 Nguyen Khuyen, Hanoi
4. Bun Cha Hang Ma
Address: 59 Hang Ma, Hanoi
5. Bun Cha Nguyen Bieu restaurant
Address: 23 Nguyen Bieu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.