Today, let’s temporarily forget the familiar suggested addresses for travellers to Hanoi and try some other ones for a reasonable, delicious and also very famous bun cha! Pho probably is Vietnam's most popular name on cuisine map but bun cha is at the top choice when it comes to lunchtime in Hanoi.
When the weather is gradually cooler, people naturally think of bun cha with a bowl of pickled papaya and tasty marinated grilled pork and pork balls (cha), served with vermicelli (bun), vegetables, peppers and chillies ... what a perfect combination! There are so many bun cha restaurants in Hanoi for people who eat bun cha just to avoid being hungry, or to enjoy a delicious specialty, for travellers, or for gourmet who live at Hanoi. So many options to choose from!
We have to admit that not all tourist guide books’ must-try restaurants or the shops with good review on the internet for travellers really have delicious food. That’s because over time, many restaurants haven’t kept their traditional flavour – the more guests come, the more industrial the food is. Meanwhile, many new ones appear with different formula and secrets, and lots of them serve more delicious and cheaper food.
Today, try to forget the long-time bun cha restaurants, which immediately mentioned when thinking about bun cha in Hanoi. Let’s go to the newer restaurants with equal quality and price, which are now even more crowded with Hanoian than the one famous for long time.
Bun cha in Cua Dong (East Gate)
I don’t know whether it’s exaggerated or not but bun cha in Cua Dong street is considered the most "addictive" one. The first thing to say about Cua Dong bun cha is the pork is not only normally grilled but also marinated with scented leaves, creating an extremely delicious taste and flavour. There are so much pork in a set here that many people feel surprised. With only 50.000 VND (2 USD) you can enjoy an extremely delicious fragrant set of bun cha at the Cua Dong street!
Bun Cha in Hang Quat Street
Bun Cha in Hang Quat street is not so strange. Although the restaurant is quite small and hidden inside the old town, just a few tables along the alley but it’s always crowded. Bun cha here is also dubbed as the best one among all of the restaurants in Hanoi.
The pork balls in this bun cha restaurant received many compliments. Round, stocky, not too fat, slightly scorched patties but the interior retains the softness of the meat, even extremely good flavour thanks to the meticulously marinated process. Also thanks to the fragrant smell of grilled meat, the people come to the alley for the first time can also find out the restaurant’s location!
Bun Cha in Hang Than Street
One more delicious bun cha restaurant in the old town is in Hang Than. The crowded scene everyday in this restaurant probably is not so strange with the people in the neighbourhood. With only VND 35,000 (1.5 USD) for a full bowl of bun cha with lots of pork, the restaurant always makes the guests surprised as it’s too cheap for a famous food store in the old town.
Both vermicelli and pork is so much, ensuring that you will be full. Quick serving style is also a big plus point in addition to the delicious taste of bun cha Hang Than.
Bun cha in Phat Loc Alley
It’s also known as bun cha bamboo rods. The pork, carefully chosen by the hostess with experience of 30 years, is thick sliced, half lean and half fat, of course, marinated with a lot of spice and grilled over charcoal. Just the mouth-watering pork on rods on the charcoal stove is enough for everyone to crave!
Bun cha in Bach Mai
One more bun cha bamboo rod restaurant in Bach Mai is also very tasty and favoured by many people. A further feature is it opens from 2 pm – a very strange opening hour and the owner is also very snobbish. That’s probably the reason for its second name: “snobbish bun cha”. However, thanks to the good reputation of taste, many people still come to enjoy it.
A set here includes vermicelli, grilled pork, sauce, salad, and all will be set separately (pork and sauce is not in the same bowl like other places). The sauce here is not too prominent but the pork is very different with delicious fragrant taste. That’s the reason why although located in an alley and quite expensive (40.000 – 50.000 VND– about USD 2 per set) bun cha Bach Mai is still famous and crowded.
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