During his official visit to Vietnam from May 23rd to 25th 2016, the US President Barack Obama had a dinner at a long-established restaurant in Hanoi with Chef Anthony Bourdain. Are you curious about what Mr. Obama ate? It is Bun Cha, one of Hanoi’s must-try delicacies. Bun Cha, along with Pho, is a gift that makes Hanoians so proud of their homeland.
It is not difficult to come across a ‘Bun Cha’ stall in almost every corner of Hanoi. However, to find out a good one is not easy at all. The eatery where Mr. Obama and the chef of Part Unknown Travel and Cuisine chose is “Bun Cha Huong Lien”, of which “Huong Lien” is the name of the restaurant owner.
This dish is comprised of two main simple parts, Bun (white rice noodles) and Cha (grilled pork and meatballs.) Bun, long and soft vermicelli, is made from rice powder, while Cha is made from the best parts of side pork and pork belly with three elements: lean meat, fat and skin.
However, another thing that makes this dish special and varied from one eatery to another is dipping sauce. To make good-taste sauce, basically we need fish sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, chili, lemon, apricot, honey, plus a few slices of carrot, kohlrabi and cucumber. The mixture of them creates a fragrant, sweet, sour and spicy dipping sauce.
Most people eat bun cha with a pair of chopsticks and a spoon. It must be challenging for foreigners who are not used to chopsticks. You will be served with a plate of bun and a plate of vegetables and herbs. Cha will be dipped in the sauce to keep its taste. All you need to do is to pick up some noodles along with a piece of Cha and some vegetables into your bowl. Then try it! Wow so yummy!
If you have a chance to visit Hanoi, bun cha is a must-try food with only 2$ a portion. If you want to try it at the restaurant where Mr. Obama used to drop in, visit “Bun cha Huong Lien” at 24 Le Van Huu Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi, one of the best Hanoian delicacies is waiting for you.
Linh Dang – Bich Ngoc