Ha Noi is not only famous for the home of beautiful landscape but also the land of great culinary culture in Vietnam. In the capital of Vietnam, you can find many delicious local dishes, especially- bun cha. This simple dish is a great combination of savory and fresh, it has vibrant colors and the harmony of the meat and vegetables makes this dish special.
It is not known when bún chả was first made, but it became a habit of Vietnamese people in a natural way. First of all, let’s get to know what is bun cha and why many people love it.
What is bun cha?
Bun cha is a local dish originally from Ha Noi, the capital of Vietnam. Throughout Vietnam you can find a lot of dishes that has the same formula as bun cha (like bun thit nuong in Saigon), however, the dish’s is unbeatable.
The dish is very simple to make and can be found anytime of the year. It doesn’t matter if you eat bun cha in a restaurant or a small cart on the the street, you will be served by a plate of vermicelli (bun), a bowl of broth with grilled pork and a basket of fresh greens.
Bun, the vermicelli noodles, is served on a plate. Hanoians are very picky when it comes to cooking and you will see it clearly through the way they choose the noodles for different food. To make a decent bowl of bun cha, the the vermicelli has to be thin, soft and chewy.
Cha is the meat part of this dish, served in a bowl. The meat is made from pork and cooked in 2 styles: cha vien (ground pork) and cha mieng (grilled thin slice pork). It is served with the broth.
The highlight of bun cha is definitely the broth (or dipping sauce). To make the sweet and sour soul of this dish, the cook mixes fish sauce, vinegar, and sugar together. The ingredients might sound simple but the taste varies from one shop to another because of the different ratio of each element in the recipe. Diners can tell a good or bad bun cha by the flavor of the sauce.
Without vegetables and herbs, Vietnamese dishes are not be complete. In the big basket of greens on the table, you will find fresh lettuce, Thai basil, cilantro, fish mint, banana flower and coriander.
When and how to eat bun cha
In the past, people usually had bun cha for lunch. Nowadays, since most of the shops open from morning to night people can eat it for whatever meal of the day they want. There is no right way or wrong way to eat bun cha. However, commonly, there are 2 ways to enjoy this delicious meal: southern and northern style.
Southern people usually wrap and roll everything they can. So if you love wrapping things, you can use a big leaf of lettuce to wrap the vermicelli, pork and herbs then dip it in the sauce and take a big bite. The biggest advantage of this style is you only need to use your hand to eat everything so it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to use the chopsticks.
If you want to show off how experienced you are, follow what the Hanoian does 😉 The Northern way to eat bun cha is much simpler. All you have to do is dip everything in the broth, mix it together and eat it like a bowl of Pho. Because the vermicelli is quite slippery so it can be both fun and challenging for those who haven’t mastered their chopsticks skills yet.
Now you know how to eat the bun cha like a pro. The next question is where can you find the best bun cha in Vietnam?
Where to have the best bun cha in Vietnam
Bun cha is the greatest Hanoi gift of all time so obviously the most appropriate place to have bun cha is in Ha Noi. In spite of the fact that many restaurants in other parts of the countries also serve this dish on their menu, the flavor is different. Because the taste of Vietnamese food changes from the North to the South, the chefs from Central and South Vietnam will adjust the recipe to meet the needs of the locals. In addition, the price of food can be higher than in the North. Just eat as much bun cha as you can while you are in Hanoi.
But what if you are in Saigon and still want to try bun cha after watching our appealing video?
Bun cha is the greatest Hanoi gift of all time!
Where to have the best bun cha in Saigon
Among many bun cha restaurants in Saigon, Bun Cha Ho Guom is the place which has the most similar taste to the original bun cha from the capital. This is the reason why many bun cha lovers in Saigon usually come to this eatery to experience the taste of Hanoi food. The location is in district 3, right in the heart of the city which makes it very easy to find.
Try out the bun cha to feel the sophisticated taste of Vietnamese cuisine and don’t forget to let us know your idea about this dish in the comment after you give this delicious dish a go. Have fun rolling in the food world of Vietnam.
Name of dish: Bun cha
Name of restaurant: Bun cha Ho Guom
Address: 135 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 6, District 3
Opening hours: 7 AM – 9 PM
Price: 40,000 VND
Sometimes it can be intimidating and or even just downright confusing to discover new restaurants in the big city of Hanoi. If this sounds like you, then I recommend the Hanoi Evening Food Tour with Onetrip. This amazing tour stops at a variety of delicious food stalls in Hanoi, be sure to ask them for the best bun cha! Onetrip local guides are super friendly and have a great knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine and culture. Expect bellies full of laughter!