Walking along the streets of Hanoi during the day will likely let you encounter a bun cha’s place, where the appealing smoky smell of grilling pork can spread to the other side of the street. One thing you should know that bun cha is one of the most famous dishes in Hanoi, one that every traveler must try on their Vietnam trips.
A bowl of bun cha often contains of four main elements. The first one is bun or rice vermicelli. Then it is cha or fatty pork. Usually, there are two types of cha, sliced pork like bacon but thicker and shorter and minced pork. In a traditional way, cha is grilled by traditional charcoal oven. The third element is fresh herbs which often contain lettuce, Vietnamese basil, oregano, perilla and bean sprouts. The fourth and final element of is the one which can separate a good and a not-so-good bowl of bun cha, and that is nuoc cham or Vietnamese dipping sauce.
|Four elements of bun cha|
With all the ingredients ready, making bun cha is not a difficult task. Nuoc cham is made of vinegar, fish sauce, water, melting sugar, and some chopped garlic and onions while cha is put on grill after being well-marinated. To eat bun cha, cha and nuoc cham are usually put in a same bowl. Afterwards, bun and fresh herbs are submerged into the bowl. However, some families eat bun cha by pouring some nuoc cham on a bowl of bun then add with cha and herbs.
|Cha or fatty pork being grilled on charcoal oven|
Bun cha is so popular that it is considered a part of the Hanoi culture. The smell of burning fatty pork, the sweetness of hot nuoc cham and especially the feeling of a family gathering around the charcoal oven have all occupy a perpetual place in the memory of Hanoians away from home. It would be a flaw traveling to Vietnam without sampling bun cha.