Talking about Vietnam, many people, especially those who have visited this Southeast Asian country, will immediately mention the incredible food here. One of the things that make the cuisine of this country so impressive is the wide diversity of cooking styles and distinctive ingredients. Each region in Vietnam has its own culinary culture.
Foods in Northern Vietnam have quite a lot of highlighted features of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. The food is prepared delicately with carefully chosen spices so that the core flavors of ingredients can be well maintained.
Meanwhile, in Central Vietnam, the extreme climate and other disadvantages, apart from making people’s lives difficult, have created frugal yet incomparable dishes. People here love food with strong flavors, so the dishes are often quite savory and spicy.
The South, in part because of its formation history and geographical location, has a cuisine affected strongly by the flavors from China, Cambodia, and Thailand. Southern people often add sugar and maybe coconut milk to their food.
In this article, we will introduce a quintessence of the cuisine of the North, in general, and of Hanoi, in particular – Best Bun Cha Hanoi. This is the food that has conquered not only many Vietnamese generations but also myriads of people around the world, including renowned chefs and celebrities. Let’s find out more about Best Bun Cha Hanoi and the best places/ restaurant to try it.
Bun Cha – A Typical Feature of Hanoi Cuisine
Bun Cha is a familiar dish for many people, especially those who have been to Hanoi. Differentiated color, flavor, and the manner of preparing together make Bun Cha Hanoi something close to Hanoi people’s hearts.
Since the dish is too popular in the whole country, people rarely think of it as the root of Hanoi’s culinary culture. That is easy to understand as this delicacy is not some kind of fancy food. Everyone can enjoy a bowl of Bun Cha no matter where they are and when they want to have it. It can be served in a small restaurant on the sidewalk or right on your desk with no difference. The unique smell and taste of Bun Cha can enroot in the mind of those who have a chance to eat it.
A complete set of Bun Cha Hanoi must include rice vermicelli, grilled pork patties and bacon, fresh herbs and greens, and of course, the specialized sauce. All the ingredients play different essential roles in creating a perfect meal. However, the sauce is the vital one that decides the quality of this dish. All the tastes must be mixed perfectly so that no one of them dominates the others – salty of fish sauce, sour of vinegar, sweet of sugar, and spicy of chili, garlic, and pepper. A bowl of pickled vegetables is often accompanied to enrich the flavors.
There are some other versions of the dish all around the country (Bun Thit Nuong is an example), but Bun Cha Hanoi somehow still stands out. Perhaps the meticulous making process is the reason as Hanoians think of Bun Cha as a cultural beauty or a kind of art. After all, Vietnamese writers and poets have been using flowery words to talk about this traditional dish, so there must be something special about it, isn’t it?
Top 7 Places to Eat Bun Cha Hanoi
Bun Cha Obama Hanoi (Bun Cha Huong Lien)
Right from the name you can guess what happened here, right? Yes, Former President Barack Obama and renowned chef Anthony Bourdain enjoyed Bun Cha Hanoi at Bun Cha Huong Lien, also known as Bun Cha Obama Hanoi. However, it would be unfair to think that this restaurant only attracts customers only because the former US President had a meal here. Bun Cha Huong Lien has been serving excellent Bun Cha for over 20 years. Although it is just a popular restaurant, the staff of the restaurant are absolutely professional, the space is clean, and the Bun Cha is incredibly delicious.
The grilled meat patties here are all made from pork with a reasonable proportion of lean and fat, so it is soft and greasy. The meat is marinated in a secret recipe and mixed with minced onions. The smoky flavor has upgraded the dish to the next level. The type of rice vermicelli used is small and soft. You will also be served a variety of veggies.
But the most impressive part is probably the sauce – the soul of the restaurant’s food. The ingredients are used cleverly to make a bowl of perfect sauce that we keep asking for more of it. As a famous restaurant that has attracted a lot of Vietnamese and foreign guests, Bun Cha Huong Lien always puts quality criteria on the top. The raw materials must be carefully selected from reputable facilities.
To enjoy a great dish of Bun Cha Huong Lien, you can come to one of the two following addresses: 24 Le Van Huu Street, Hai Ba Trung District, or 14/59 Lang Ha Street, Dong Da District. A set of Bun Cha Hanoi here costs 50000 – 60000 VND, about 2.5 USD. A dish of seafood spring rolls is 35000 VND – about 1.5 USD. With the reputation of quality of its food, Bun Cha Obama Hanoi was mentioned in CNN’s Parts Unknown program.
Bun Cha 34 Hang Than Hanoi
Whenever you go past 34 Hang Than, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, you will see a long line of people waiting in front of a restaurant named Bun Cha Tuyet 34 Hang Than. Saveur Magazine has described this 34 Hang Than as an illustration of best Bun Cha Hanoi.
Although this is not a restaurant with so many years of operation, its attraction is still undeniable. Space here is small, so they have to arrange many small tables and seats on the sidewalk to serve customers. However, the number of people eating here is so large that they have to sit quite close to each other. So what made Bun Cha 34 Hang Than so successful?
Like the other famous names in this list, this restaurant has a delicious sauce, fresh vegetables, and soft noodles. But the thing that makes the difference is the meat. Large pork patties will be wrapped with piper lolot leaves before being grilled. The leaves bring the meat a complex flavor that has impressed countless people, especially foreigners, who have never tasted piper lolot leaves before. The grilled slices of bacon here are also outstanding as the meat is lean yet soft and fragrant. The staff here serve quite fast, so you will not have to wait too long.
A set of Bun Cha Hanoi here is about 40000 VND (1.5USD). This is an acceptable price to have a good meal in the Old Quarter. Sitting on the sidewalk and enjoying a bowl of Bun ha is undoubtedly a great way to understand the culinary culture of Hanoi.
Bun Cha Dac Kim Hanoi
We all know that Bun Cha Hanoi is a traditional dish that has existed for so many years. As a reason, it makes sense that we should try this delicacy at some long-standing restaurants. Bun Cha Dac Kim, with its prestige, has become a name that people often mention when they talk about Bun Cha in the capital of Vietnam.
This restaurant is located at number 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi. That’s why people also call it Bun Cha Number 1 Hang Manh. This is another traditional restaurant with a small space so that you may be served on the second floor or on the sidewalk. Established in 1965, Bun Cha Dac Kim has won countless people’s hearts.
Here the owners are quite picky when it comes to ingredient choosing. They want to make sure that everything they need to make a delicious bowl of Bun Cha Hanoi must be of high quality. Although the price is a bit higher than one of the other restaurants (50000-60000 VND for a set), customers still find it reasonable. Being the first Bun Cha restaurant mentioned on CNN Travel, Bun Cha Dac Kim deserves to be one of the best places to enjoy this dish.
Bun Cha Bach Mai
Bun Cha Bach Mai is located at 213 Bach Mai, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi. What makes this restaurant stand out from the hundreds of other restaurants in Hanoi is the disappointment. Yes, you didn’t read it wrong. But this is the disappointment when you come to try the food only to see them finish their work. The restaurant serves only from 2 PM to 4 PM, while the customers are crowded. Rice vermicelli, veggies, or even the sauce here are not too unusual. Space is absolutely not an advantage. So what made many people put a lot of effort just to come here and enjoy the food?
The answer is, once again, the grilled meat. After being marinated, the meat is clamped with bamboo sticks. Then we have hot, sweet, and tender meat with a bit of bamboo smoke. Each piece of this grilled meat makes sense for all the remaining ingredients. However, you need to come here at 2-2:30 PM if you don’t want to experience the “disappointment” we have mentioned above. Although the price is not low at all (about 50000 VND per set), Bun Cha Bach Mai is still a perfect place to find the real taste of Bun Cha Hanoi.
Bun Cha Hang Quat
If you ask people living in Hanoi about a restaurant that can bring you the traditional Bun Cha Hanoi taste, you will probably be recommended to visit Bun Cha Hang Quat. Located at 74 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, this restaurant has spent 25 years to store and popularize this beautiful dish. Because the restaurant lies in a small alley, the space is quite limited. However, this does not prevent people from coming here to taste the best Bun Cha Hanoi. The evidence is that you can see the restaurant is full of people at any time.
For the first time eating here, perhaps many people will be shocked at the dark brown color of the meat. But right when you taste it, you will realize that the meat is not burnt at all. It is really tender and full of flavor. The secret here is that they marinate the meat with a special sauce, which is what creates the black color. Another delicious dish you should try here is a crispy spring roll.
Although the restaurant is located in the Old Quarter, the price is reasonable – only 35000 VND for a set of Bun Cha and 10000 VND for a dish of spring rolls. It is always crowded here, so you may have to wait a bit long. Bun Cha Hang Quat serves from 10 AM to 2 PM, which means it is perfect for you to have lunch here.
Bun Cha Sinh Tu
Among all the restaurants serving Bun Cha Hanoi, Bun Cha Sinh Tu is the brand with the most branches. There are currently 11 Bun Cha Sinh Tu restaurants in Hanoi and one more in Ho Chi Minh City. Today’s success of this brand is the result of about 100 years of effort. The first restaurant appeared on Sinh Tu Street (now Nguyen Khuyen Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi) from the 1900s.
The meat here is marinated according to the secret recipe that has caused many people to come back here just to have another big bowl of Bun Cha. Grilled pork patties here are also wrapped with piper lolot leaves, so the flavor is impressive. Perhaps this flavor was the motivation for the famous Vietnamese writer, Thach Lam, to mention Bun Cha Sinh Tu in his book “Hanoi 36 streets”.
The other dishes here are also worth trying as they have a distinctive taste, for example, seafood spring roll. Also, the restaurants offer many tasty drinks. Unlike other restaurants on this list, Bun Cha Sinh Tu restaurants are spacious and airy. In addition to the great quality of the food, which makes people love to eat at Bun Cha Sinh Tu is that you will be served quickly without having to wait too long. A set of Bun Cha here is about 60000 VND – a bit higher than the price in popular restaurants. Here are the addresses of all the Bun Cha Sinh Tu restaurants:
- 02 Nguyen Phong Sac, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
- 381 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
- 10 Hoang Cau Moi, Dong Da District, Hanoi
- 114A1 Giang Vo, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
- 48 Tran Thai Tong, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
- 44 Dao Tan, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
- 67 Trung Hoa, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
- N04 Hoang Dao Thuy, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi
- 452 Tran Khat Chan, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
- 169 Thai Ha, Dong Da District, Hanoi
- 115D1 Dang Van Ngu, Dong Da District, Hanoi
- 55 Bui Thi Xuan, Ben Thanh, First District, Ho Chi Minh City
Bun Cha Cua Dong
Last but not least, we cannot ignore Bun Cha Cua Dong while making a list of the best places to enjoy best Bun Cha Hanoi. This restaurant is at 41 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Talking about Bun Cha Cua Dong, many people say that the food here is addictive. The first thing to say about the Bun Cha here is that the meat is wrapped with piper lolot leaves before being grilled. The meat is tender and juicy. The bacon is smoky and not dry.
A special thing about the dish here is that the sauce will not taste flat even after you dip the rice vermicelli into it. A set of Bun Cha here is full of meat, so many people still find meat remaining after they eat all the vermicelli. The price of a Bun Cha set here is 55000 VND. Friendly staff and fast service is also a big plus of Bun Cha Cua Dong.
With four seasons in a year and abundant ingredients, Hanoi has always been the cradle of myriads of delicacy. Although Bun Cha Hanoi is a popular dish, it still represents the quintessence of the cuisine of the land. Bun Cha is a frequent meal for people living in the capital, a memory of those who live abroad, and a precious gift for visitors. If you have the opportunity to travel Hanoi and surroundings, please do not miss this incredible dish.