Bun Cha 34 was the bun cha place that I briefly mentioned in my earlier post (read Truc Bach Lake, West Lake Hanoi and Bo Bia), where we came by for lunch.
It is not far from Dong Xuan Market. If you’re planning to visit Truc Bach Lake, West Lake and/or Tran Quoc Pagoda, you can definitely drop by here on the way.
Bun cha is said to have originated in Hanoi. It’s a meal that consists of grilled fatty pork dipped in nuoc cham (a common Vietnamese dipping sauce made of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar & water) and served with rice vermicelli and a bunch of herbs & leaves on the side.
This was the most dirty restaurant I had been to in Hanoi. Peeling paint on the wall and litter thrown everywhere on the floor which looked like it hadn’t been mopped or washed for the longest time ever. Eww, not a pleasant sight when we walked in.
I was a little worried about the hygiene initially but decided that I would go all the way out and risk it since I had brought more than enough Po Chai Pills for this trip, lol.
Find a table, be seated and someone will come to you to take order and then issue you a chit. Note there are only bun cha and nem (fried spring rolls, 10K VND each) on the menu. We wanted to order the latter as well but they were not available.
The bun cha cost 35,000 VND (SGD2.20) per pax which was very reasonably priced. Portion size was very generous too – just look at that amount of meat, vermicelli and herbs.
Inside the nuoc cham, there were sliced pickled green papaya that gave a nice crunch. It also had a slightly pungent flavour of chopped raw garlic. If you like spice, you can add the sliced red chillies that are placed at the side of the table.
How to eat this? Well, just dip the rice vermicelli and herbs into the nuoc cham and eat like how you would with regular noodles.
There were two types of grilled pork meat in this – sliced pork and minced pork patties. Both had an intense smoky flavour (from those charred edges) and were equally delicious. The marinade used was just flavoursome and it really penetrated the meat. So, so good.
When you’re done eating, just pass the chit to the lady at the front to make payment.
The keys to an excellent bun cha had got to be perfectly grilled pork and well-balanced nuoc cham. This restaurant absolutely nailed it. Cheap and good – you can’t miss this!
Bun Cha 34
34 Hang Than
Nguyen Trung Truc, Ba Dinh
Tel: +84 94 836 19 71
Opening hours: 8.30am to 5.00pm daily