Bun cha is a well-known local food in Hanoi. It is made of grilled pork and noodle, often thought to have been originated from Hanoi, Vietnam. This dish is served with grilled fatty pork (cha) over a plate of white rice noodle (bun) and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce/broth. Listed in top 7 specialties of Hanoi street food, the available density of Bun cha Hanoi is so great that you can easily find a Bun cha everywhere, from big restaurants to street vendors, but only gourmets of Hanoi can advise you the best ones. Let’s join our street food tour Hanoi to try at least 1 of 5 following long-standing and famous Bun cha restaurants in Hanoi:
1. Bun cha Dac Kim at No. 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
Located right on the beginning of Hang Manh street, bun cha Dac Kim has been a familiar destination for many foreign tourists visiting Hanoi. With the area of quite small, at peak time, eaters have to move to the second floor of the restaurant or sit right on chairs on the street pavement. The name Dac Kim was originated from its first owner in 1965. Till now, the next generations continue to keep its special formula and choose the materials more carefully. Especially, the meat must be a mixture of lean and fat type while the onion, garlic and fish sauce must be at high quality. Then, the mixture will be grilled on the charcoal, create a delicious fragrant.
Each set of Bun cha in Dac Kim is served quite full, with lots of meat and the price is around 3-4 usd. Despite complaints of cramped space or the price quite higher than others, this restaurant is always crowed by eaters and becomes one of icon of Hanoi food.
2. Bun cha Hanoi at 34 Hang Than street, Ba Dinh district
Bun cha Tuyet in Hang Than slope is the destination that most of eaters will agree that its cha is really delicious and the quality is stable. A set of bun cha here looks nicer because cha, rice noodle and herbs are set in tray which is clean and pleasant.
Despite its location in the old quarters, but a cha set here is so reasonable and quite cheap, around 35,000 vnd (2 usd). A bowl of cha is full with grilled meat, (4 or 5 minced meat and about 10 slice meat), enough to satisfy your need.
Especially, both 2 types of cha are all grilled moderately with a little burning, and so fragrant, taste sweet and soft. The minced meat is wrapped in xuong song (a kind of herb) so its flavor is so impressive and tasty. Moreover, its sauce is a perfect mixture of sugar, vinegar and salt. This restaurant is opened from 10h00AM till 4h00Pm and much crowed at noon. It also serves “nem” (spring roll) with price of 8,000 vnd (~ 0.4 usd)/piece but “nem” is often sold out soon.
3. Bun cha Hanoi at lane 74, Hang Quat street, Hoan Kiem district
Let’s ask gourmets in Hanoi for the best bun cha restaurant, the percentage of them advise you to go to 74 Hang Quat street is very high! Although this stall is located in a so narrow lane on Hang Quat street, but you will be surprise when you know its existence of more than 19 years. This stalls has a large number of familiar eaters because once they try bun cha here, they will never forget its flavor.
Like other bun cha restaurant, cha here has two types: minced meat and slice meat and its slice meat are most favored by eaters because the slice meat is thin, and grilled well to avoid greasy. At first look, cha seems to be in quite dark color not because of over grilled but for the dark color of sugar sauce.
Thanks to the sugar sauce soaking deeply into the slice meat, together with perfect fish sauce, bun cha here is really impressive toward gourmets in Hanoi.
A set of bun cha here is often at 30,000 vnd (~1.5 usd) and can make you pleased at noon. Although the restaurant often opens at 9h30 AM but it sell out things very soon, at about 2h00PM. So try to come here earlier to get best set of bun cha.
4. Bun cha Bach Mai grilled on bamboo stick. (Lane 213 Bach Mai street, Hai Ba Trung district)
Let’s go to Lane 123 Bach Mai street to enjoy a very special bun cha, not only by its special flavor but also by its “delay” serving. Call “delay” serving because you need a lot of time to wait for cha to be grilled well on charcoal and have to wait until your turn. The restaurant opens at a hanging time (2h00PM to 3h30PM), and the price is reasonable at 40,000 vnd (2 usd). With such a short time opening, it will challenge your patience for a well-done set of bun cha here. Once you patiently wait for your turn to be served.
When the bun cha set appears, you will see that cha, sauce, noodle and herbs are served separately. Thanks to the bamboo stick, the meat is grilled so well and has a special fragrant compared to other types of bun cha. It looks so attractive that you will eat it quickly in few minutes. The tip for you is to come here from 2h00PM. You will be served well for your patience.
5. Bun cha Huong Lien at 24 Le Van Huu street, Hai Ba Trung district
After the memorable evening on May 23, 2016, the name Huong Lien suddenly famous to the world’s famous restaurants thanks to the drop-in of U.S President Obama, in his 3-days business trip in Vietnam, he chose this restaurant for his dinner on May 23 to enjoy its famous dishes: bun cha
In fact, this restaurant has been long famous to the gourmet in Hanoi since its foundation in 1993. Bun cha Huong Lien restaurant has a moderate sauce taste that is sweet enough with the elegant sour of vinegar. The grilled pork is soft, smooth-tongued with strong taste of grilled onion. Besides a set of bun cha including grilled pork and grilled slice meat, you should order one or two more Nem cua be (sea-crab spring roll) to serve together with bun cha. This sea-scab spring roll has a very crispy cover while the inner meat is so delicious and sweet-smelling. That’s why many gourmets patiently wait up to 30 minutes just to have a full set of bun cha here at lunch time.
The space in the restaurant is cool and the waiters are very friendly and enthusiastic. To meet the increasing demand of tourists after the Obama’s effect, the restaurant has just opened a new branch in lane 57, Lang Ha Street, Hanoi.
Price: 2-3usd/set; extra sea-crab spring roll at 0.3 usd/piece