Bun Cha / Bún chả
You will be served rice noodles in a big bowl, topped with a few roasted peanuts and lots of green veggies and herbs. These will fresh and crunchy water spinach, bean sprouts, cucumber, butter lettuce, basil, and purple leafed mint.
Another bowl will arrive at the same time containing a delicious sweet slightly oily hot to boiling broth with the strips of sweet but savory caramelized sliced pork and grilled pork patties in the bottom. Pickled green papaya and carrot floating on the top.
Now, what you do; pour the broth over the bowl of noodles and then dig in with chopsticks and spoon, grab a fork if the chopsticks are slowing you down !!
To customize it add chili vinegar, bean sprouts, lime and thinly sliced chilies to perfect the taste to your liking. Maybe your bun cha will come in numerous dishes which required you to throw it together in one bowl.
Bun Cha reflects the balance of five flavors: salty, sweet, sour, spicy and savory. These sets of tastes are combined when mixing: fish sauce, lime, sugar and garlic, so drop some into your dish and it’s complete.
Even though I am a vegetarian the smell of this dish almost makes me convert to the other side. I have been known to eat it without the pork, which is divine as well.
The A – Z of Bun are:
Bun Bo— beef with peanut and pork leg.
Bun Bung — fried noodle with pork rib and vegetables, sometimes with an egg.
Bun Cha — pork meat 2 types, 1 lean and the other with fat which has been grilled, garlic, onion, green
Bun Ca – fried fish.
Bun Moc — tenderised pork slices.
Bun Nem — with a fried spring roll.
Bun Oc — with river snail.
Bun Rieu Cua — with crab meat, the most popular.
Bun Suon — with pork ribs.
Bun Thang — with cooked pork, egg, processed pork skin and a Chinese taste.
Bun Xao Cho — with dog meat in a sauce, but don’t worry you will only get this in a dog meat restaurant.
Bun Xao Mang — with young bamboo and sometimes eat with chicken or duck.
Bun Xao Vit — with duck.
Not unique to Hanoi but still a year-round family favorite.