Bun Cha – Vietnamese Kebab rice noodles

Kebab rice noodles (Vietnamese Bun Cha) is a simple yet distinctive dish from its preparation to the way it is enjoyed. Walking along the streets of the capital city, Hanoi, during lunchtime, you will easily come across scenes of people sitting on plastic stools on the sidewalk, savoring a plate of Kebab rice noodles. This dish appeals to people of all ages, from the young to the old, and from all walks of life in Vietnamese society, as it is relatively inexpensive, costing only around $1.5 to $3 per person for a meal.

A full set of bun cha

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What are the components of Kebab rice noodles?

Kebab rice noodles consists of three main components: the dipping sauce, grilled pork, and rice vermicelli noodles. The deliciousness of a Kebab rice noodles dish largely depends on the quality of the dipping sauce and grilled pork.

The dipping sauce for Kebab rice noodles is prepared by combining various flavors of sour, spicy, salty, and sweet, using fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, chili, and an appropriate amount of water, depending on the individual’s preference. The dipping sauce bowl also includes a bit of green papaya and carrot that have been soaked in vinegar, along with some fresh herbs for accompanying.

Grilled pork comes in two forms: sliced pork (thinly sliced meat) and meatballs (finely minced meat). The pork is marinated and grilled over charcoal taken from dry firewood. The difference between various Kebab rice noodles establishments often lies in this component. Most renowned Kebab rice noodles restaurants select the best-quality, freshest meat, achieving a balance between lean and fatty meat. Equally important is the immediate consumption of the grilled pork right after it is taken out of the grill to preserve its heat, tenderness, and aromatic flavor.

The grilled meat must be eaten immediately after it is fully cooked
The grilled meat must be eaten immediately after it is fully cooked

How to best enjoy Kebab rice noodles?

As mentioned before, if you want to find the best Kebab rice noodles establishment, it should be a place that serves the most delicious grilled pork and only grills it when customers place their orders, rather than preparing it in advance. This means that the grilled pork you receive will be hot and fragrant. Usually, such a restaurant will be quite crowded, and you may have to wait a little before being served.

An excellent beverage to pair with Kebab rice noodles is beer. You can enjoy it chilled or even pour it over ice. This is also a fantastic combination that former U.S. President Barack Obama tried when he visited Hanoi in 2016.

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Don't forget to enjoy a glass of beer while eating Kebab rice noodles
Don’t forget to enjoy a glass of beer while eating Kebab rice noodles

Some delicious Kebab rice noodles restaurants in Hanoi

The number of Kebab rice noodles restaurants in Hanoi is countless, but there are only a few renowned and delicious ones in each area. Especially if you’re in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, you can easily head to Hang Manh street, where you’ll find many excellent Kebab rice noodles establishments. Here are some examples for your reference:

  • Dac Kim Kebab rice noodles: 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem District
  • Huong Lien Kebab rice noodles: 24 Le Van Huu, Pham Dinh Ho, Hai Ba Trung District
  • Sinh Tu Kebab rice noodles: Multiple locations, including the central address at 57A Nguyen Khuyen Street, Van Mieu, Dong Da District, Hanoi

Apart from the famous names mentioned above, almost every district in Hanoi has its own delicious Kebab rice noodles shops with unique characteristics. You can also visit places like Kebab rice noodles Hang Quat (74 Hang Quat Alley), Kebab rice noodles Hang Than (34 Hang Than), and Kebab rice noodles Que Tre (213 Bach Mai Alley).

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Vietnamese Kebab rice noodles, especially Hanoi Kebab rice noodles, is the most popular and iconic street food in the capital city of Vietnam. It is beloved by locals and has gained international recognition with numerous foreign media outlets writing about it. If you visit Vietnam, particularly Hanoi, don’t miss the opportunity to try this dish. Give it a try at least once and let us know your thoughts and impressions.

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