Bun Cha – The Quintessence Of Ha Noi
When it comes to Hanoi, people will think of a long-standing culinary culture. Along with delicious dishes such as banh mi, pho, we have to mention a dish called bun cha. Experiencing many ups and downs, its position still stays unchanged as one of the favorite dishes of Vietnamese people.
So, are you curious about what makes this dish so special? Keep reading to find out!
1. Introducing Hanoi Specialties – Bun Cha
There is no exact milestone to record the birth of bun cha and no one knows who is the creator of this dish. But, there is one thing that can be assured, a long time ago, many generations of Hanoians were familiar with bun cha and considered it as an indispensable dish in their daily culinary life.
A serving of bun cha is made of three main elements: dipping sauce, grilled meatballs, and vermicelli. First thing first, the dipping sauce is definitely the icing on the cake.
Why do I say that? Well, the dipping sauce largely determines the flavor of the dish. You may wonder: what is so special about the sauce?
A good sauce has to combine these four flavors: sour, spicy, salty, and sweet. Normally, the sauce is the combination of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, chili. There is nothing much about the ingredients, isn’t it?
But, I bet that the taste varies from one shop to another because every Hanoians have their own ratio to follow. Moreover, the sauce always goes with green papaya, carrots or bean sprouts.
Now we will come to the grilled patties part. Cha in bun cha is the protein of this dish. Cha is made from pork and it can be done in two styles: ground pork and grilled thin sliced pork.
Both are marinated and grilled on the red charcoal grill. Usually, the grilled patties will be made from bacon so that the meat has a certain softness and sweetness.
Grilled on the red charcoal, the patties have a bit of charcoal flavor. These carefully-grill patties are served with noodles, fresh vegetables, and special sauce. All combined together to create an outstanding dish that is probably unforgettable after the first bite.
Has bun cha mesmerized you yet? Well, if you want to enhance all the flavor in this dish, you have to eat it properly. If you want to eat bun cha like a true Hanoian, you have to eat it with green vegetables and herbs.
Take a piece of vermicelli, dip it into a bowl of sauce filled with the grilled patties, add raw vegetables and enjoy the harmonious flavors spreading in your mouth
Nowadays, you can enjoy bun cha at any time of the day. In the past, you can hardly find a bun cha restaurant after 3 p.m. But now, most restaurants open all day and night.
Moreover, bun cha is enjoyed by every people, from old to young, boy and girl, from office workers wearing elegant European pants to the laborers wearing sweaty shirts. They all sit and enjoy this dish in a delicious way.
2.How To Make Bun Cha
Now you know how to eat the bun cha like a Hanoian, what about making bun cha from scratch? Well, in order to make bun cha, all ingredients must be well prepared.
The most complicated part of this dish is the grilled patties. Hanoians always marinate the pork with spices such as salt, pepper, fish sauce, sugar, and dry onions. If the patties are dry, add a little oil to make them tender.
Then, put the marinated meats into each blister and grill on the charcoal stove. At this time, the grilled patties bring out a specific aroma throughout the alley.
Next, prepare the dipping sauce by mixing the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili together. And, without vegetables and herbs, bun cha is not complete. You can use basic types of vegetables such as fresh lettuce, basil, cilantro, mint, and coriander.
Finally, you can enjoy bun cha like a true Hanoian. Now, I will reveal the must-go bun cha restaurants in Ha Noi so that the next time you come here, you can have the most wonderful experience.
3. Must-go Places To Enjoy Bun Cha In Ha Noi
On every street corner in Ha Noi, there are bun cha restaurants. Among these, there are some places that stand out from all others. These places are bun cha Sinh Tu in Ta Quang Buu street, bun cha Huong Lien, bun cha Ho Guom and so on.
In the past, the delicious bun cha restaurants in Hanoi were usually street vendors. Nowadays, although there have been some variations for bun cha, it still retains the nuance and attractive taste of the old Ha Thanh land.
Moreover, not only do Vietnamese people enjoy eating bun cha but international visitors are also fascinated and constantly mentioned this delicate dish.
Even better, bun cha created an extraordinary effect when President Obama and Chef Anthony Bourdain ate bun cha in 2016. So, where is that place? The restaurant that Obama visited called Bun Cha Huong Lien. After that special event, they came out with an Obama set, serving the exact dishes that the President ate.
In my opinion, it is easy to find a good bun cha restaurant but if you want to have a “president experience”, you should go to Bun Cha Huong Lien.
It can be said that Bun Cha has become a very familiar dish of Hanoians in daily life. Today, Hanoi bun cha has appeared everywhere and is loved by many people. Wherever you go, you will never forget this traditional dish.
Finally, if you have tried bun cha, comment below and tell me your feelings! Lastly, I hope you have a great time rolling in the food world of Vietnam.