We’ve never heard of bun cha previously as it’s not a common dish found in Vietnamese restaurants here in Singapore. However when it was reported in the news last year that former US President Barack Obama and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dined out at a bun cha restaurant in Hanoi, the once unfamiliar dish to many had become an overnight sensation.
How could we not check it out while we’re in Hanoi?
And this was the place that was tucked away in an unassuming street in the French Quarter.
Bun Cha Huong Lien
24 Le Van Huu
Pham Dinh Ho, Hai Ba Trung
Tel: +84 4 3943 4106
Opening hours: 10.00am to 7.00pm daily
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bunchahuonglienobama/
The restaurant is about a 15-min walk away from the southern end of Hoan Kiem Lake.
We were impressed by the high standards of cleanliness and hygiene in the restaurant. You would know why if you compare this place with Bun Cha 34, lol. In fact, I thought this was the cleanest restaurant I had been to while in Hanoi.
High ceilings with fans meant the interior was kept airy and well-ventilated – very comfy space to dine in and you wouldn’t have to worry about leaving here with the smell of grilled pork or smoke on your hair and clothing.
Straightforward menu with item description in English for easy ordering.
This was the entire meal consisting of one of every item on the menu except that we had 2 of the Fried Crab Rolls because they were so small in size. Everything looked so darn good! I’m feeling hungry now as I’m looking at these food pictures!
All of these only cost 104,000 VND (SGD6.50). Not the cheapest bun cha meal by local standards but trust me, it will be worth your every dollar and cent. 🙂
Similar to Bun Cha 34, the grilled pork came in both sliced and minced meat patty forms. The smokiness of these meat was just incredibly fragrant. They were also very well marinated and tasted really flavoursome. I liked that the nuoc cham wasn’t overly polluted with charred bits from the meat and the green papaya slices gave a good crunch.
The Fried Crab Rolls looked like bite-sized spring rolls but were actually real crab meat wrapped in beancurd skin. Extremely strong crab flavour with natural crustacean sweetness. Delicious.
Right behind the crab rolls was the Meat Skewer. Layers of pork meat and onions were skewered and then grilled – every bite was just meaty and crunchy. The BBQ marinade had thoroughly penetrated the meat, making it really moreish. Must order!
The big, fat and juicy Fried Seafood Roll had prawns in the meat filling. It was like a seafood ngoh hiang. Best eaten when dipped into the nuoc cham. Awesome.
Overall, this was the BEST bun cha meal I had in Hanoi. Now I know why Anthony Bourdain had brought Barack Obama here. If there can only be one meal to have when in Hanoi, it has to be this. Not kidding! Simply spectacular. ???