Bun cha - the quintessense of Vietnamese cuisine

Obama and “bun cha” are among the two most popular keywords to be searched these days. After the event when Obama – President of the United States during his short visit in Vietnam having dinner with $6 noodles, Bun cha Hanoi has become a very special dish known by many many people in the world. Despite some criticisms against Obama’s presidential status not to be in line with the image of sitting in a local store having beer  and street food, it is the fact that Obama knew what he was eating, how charming it was. Importantly, having street food is the fastest way to well understand people of the country that you’ve arrived in.

In Vietnam, Bun cha has long been a specialty of Hanoi. People love it and enjoy it everyday. However, it can’t be denied that after Obama Bun cha phenomenon, bun cha has been widely popular than ever, not only to worldwide food lovers but also Vietnamese ones who feel so proud of local specialty.

It is not so difficult to find a bun cha store in Hanoi. On every street of the capital, between 9a.m and 10 a.m, smoke from meat grilling flies to every corner, carrying along sweet-smelling of grilled chopped meat, which can made anyone passing by feel appetizing. Along one street may have different bun cha stores, but what is weird is that no stores are not crowded with customers.

The dish is often served at noon, in summer when intense heat makes people go in for something cool, light but flavorful enough. Fresh rice vermicelli with grilled pork is an ideal for such days. In the past, Bun cha was not cheap as making Bun cha is absolutely an art, in such a way so that tasters could feel best the sophistication of vermicelli, grilled pork and herbs all well combining together.

Main ingredients to make Bun cha include rice vermicelli, belly pork, shallots, spicy, carrot, green papaya, raw vegetables and well-mixed fish sauce. There is no need for a cabinet of traditional spices like beef noodles, nor to wait for season to come like snail noodles, in certain aspect, making Bun cha is so simple and easy to have one dish.

Vegetables is insdispensable
While vermicelli is easy to find based on some quality of white, soft, slender stick rather than the big ones in Hue rice noodles, and vegetables can be chopped down for fresh serve after washing and draining, it requires more techniques with grilled meat and fish sauce.

There are two kinds of Cha (grilled pork) used, depending upon the cut of the meat. If the pork is cut into small pieces, it is called Cha Mieng (piece of grilled pork). If it is minced prior to being shaped into small cubes, it is named Cha Vien (minced grilled pork). While Cha Vien is ground from pork shoulder, spiced and formed into flat pieces before grilling, Cha Mieng is well selected from belly pork, scent with spices overnight before grilling. Both of them in final product must be flavorful, fragrant and soft enough. It is the harmony in seasoning of Hanoians that makes the grilled pork remarkably outstanding among other dishes.

Manual grilling stove

Not too sweet like grilled pork ribs of Saigonese, the sophistication of Hanoi’s grilled pork comes from a little shallots to wake up senses, a little cockcroach color to be more impressive, a little fish sauce for flavorful the dish and a little sugar to hightlight the inner sweetness of the meat itself.

After grilling, the meat is directly put into a bowl of well mixed fish sauce. The sauce must be well-balanced in order for not only the sweetness of the grilled pork not to be lost but also act as the “soul” to elevate the dish. Each store has its own way of making dipping sauce, which explains the existence of traditional bun cha with secret recipe handed from generations to generations.

Indeed, making dipping sauce is an art. Any a bowl of fish sauce combine vinegar, sugar, hot chilly, garlic and pepper altogether but with different amount, depending on the taster, so that it will then contain all the essential tastes, sour, hot, salty and sweet. The fish sauce itself must be the best one and such ingredients like garlic, lime juice, chili and pepper must be well selected and combined. Soft, square green papaya and carrot slices are also added to decorate and elevate the flavor.

Bun cha attracts its tasters by the simplest details. It also serve as a demonstration for those small and rustic but never mediocre ones. And by unique sophistication and skillfulness, Hanoians, have sublimated the streetside dish into a masterpiece of humankind.

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1 nhận xét

  1. Super chouette article ! Sa donne faim ! ^^ Merci beaucoup pour toutes ses informations c'est vraiment très intéressant ! J'adore et je le recommande à tout le monde !