Hanoi has been famous for series of “mouth-watering” dishes made from vermicelli. Featured by special tastes with numerous options, it is well worth trying.
Bun Cha has been familiar with people in Hanoi for a long time. Pork shoulder, which is used to make grilled meat, is chopped or minced, then grilled on the charcoal. You definitely order one or both, depending on your taste. Bun Cha offers the best taste when eating with “Bun La” (round pieces of noodle), sweet and sour sauce mixed with garlic and chilli, a pickled unripe papaya and, of course a dish of salads.
It’s not challenging to make Bun Cha but how to make a tasteful one depends mostly on experience and family recipe, especially the sauce. Bun Cha (in the North) and Bun Thit Nuong (grilled meat vermicelli -in the Central and the South) seem to share some common things. However, their eating style and taste of sauce are totally different. In Hanoi, Bun Cha is best known in Hang Manh Street but now you can enjoy this amazing dish at anytime and anywhere with only 1,5$ to 3$.
Bun Dau Mam Tom
Bun Dau Mam Tom has been a favourite dish to travellers. It is served as street food at food stalls, restaurants, or even at small restaurant at narrow alleys. This amazing dish is made from 3 main ingredients: yellow fried tofu, vermicelli noodle, and “mam tom” (“smelly” fermented shrimp paste) which is added in chilli, a little bit of monosodium glutamates (MSG) and whipping grease. Additionally, they accompany this dish with different kinds of vegetables which promise to make delicious flavour when you eating.
Bun Dau Mam Tom used to be considered a snack but now you can get a “full belly” because it is accompanied with other tasteful foods such as cha com (fried nuggets), boiled pork, etc. This simple, moreover, cheap dish has been so popular that we can enjoy it whenever and wherever you love to. However, the most famous one is on Phat Loc Street. Particularly, it has spread throughout the country. Just spend 1$ to 2$ and you will have a full belly afterward.
Bun Thang is a quintessential dish of Hanoi. Although the dish is very popular, it isn’t easy to find a good restaurant because of sophisticated requirement, from preparing to processing numerous ingredients, namely knotgrass, coriander, shrimp, fried chicken eggs, chicken breast, chopped Cha Lua (Vietnamese pork sausage). Additionally, pickled radish is an indispensable ingredient of this delicious dish.
Soup is the key element to make a delicious bowl of Bun Thang. This fragrant soup, which is made from chicken bone, dried shrimp and Sa Sung (Peanut worms-if any), must be clear and hot. This dish should be accompanied with various spices such as vinegar, chilli, garlic, peppercorn and special shrimp paste. Noticebly, the mangdana essence, which used to be added in the noodle soup, in general, and Bun Thang in particular, must be mentioned when describing the process of making a tasteful soup. Unfortunately, this amazing ingredient has almost gone. The price of Bun Thang ranges from 2$ to 3$.
Bun Ngan (Vermicelli with duck meat) is also very popular in Hanoi. This dish has fewer ingredients than others but it’s not easy to make a tasteful and fragrant one. The cook must be very careful in processing to ensure that soup (made from duck bones and dried mushrooms) is clear, fragrant, sweet and hot; slices of duck meat are soft, greasy and tasteful and bamboo shoots are well-cooked. Moreover, the sauce, which gives it a better taste, must be sweet, sour and spicy with chilli peppers.
A normal bowl of Bun Ngan offers vermicelli, simmered bamboo shoots, slices of simmered duck meat, or even roasted ones if you love to order, etc. Therefore, if you order a normal bowl, you just need to spend 1.5$ to 2$ to have a full belly afterward. Similarly, if you order other foods to eat with, you might pay 5$ for a bowl. Dropping by Hang Be market, you should give a try at Nhan restaurant at Trung Yen alley to enjoy the well-known Bun Ngan here.
Bun Rieu Cua
Bun Rieu Cua (Vermicelli with sour crab soup) is a traditional dish in the North. Sour crab soup is made from crab-roe, blended and filtered crab body, tomatoes, grease, vinegar and other spices. This amazing dish is accompanied by various kinds of vegetables, “smelly” shrimp paste and fried thick chilli. It’s ideal to treat yourself a delicious bowl of Bun Rieu Cua to be full of energy all day long.
Vermicelli with sour crab soup has changed significantly time by time. Particularly, a current bowl is added in numerous kinds of foods such as tofu, beef, etc. However, some people, who are still craving for traditional taste, find restaurants that conserve it. Spending 1$ to 2$ and you will enjoy such delicious dish.
Bun Oc (snail vermicelli soup) is simultaneously sold with Bun Rieu because of the similarity in processing way, tastes and spices (fried thick chili). However, Bun Oc uses small tangled vermicelli and soup is made from pork bones, vinegar and tomatoes. Moreover, the cooks offer different kinds of snails for their customers to order.
Ha Noi has numerous famous restaurants of this dish, namely Ba Sau, Chi Them, Khuong Thuong, Bach Mai, O Quan Chuong, or even those in Dong Xuan market with prices of about 1.5$
Bun Gia Cay
Bun Gia Cay (false dog soup) is one of the most delicious dishes in Hanoi in winter. The main ingredient is pork leg undergone complex processing process. A false dog bowl is greasy with meat, sour with bamboo shoots and fragrant with the mixture of galangal roots and fermented rice. Most importantly, this amazing dish must be cooked with Mam Tom (“smelly” Vietnamese shrimp paste) to create its own taste. It is usually served with noodles cut into pieces. Don’t forget to mix it to enjoy the best taste of meat and flavour of herbs in your mouth. Spend 1.5$ and you will have a full belly afterward at any restaurants on the street.
Bun Doc Mung Thit
Bun Doc Mung Thit Moc (Vegetarian vermicelli with pork soup) is definitely an ideal choice during these hot days. The ingredients of the dish itself are reflected by its name, including doc mung (Indian taro), trotter’s meat and pork-pie. Moreover, some restaurants offer pork chops and trotters. The troth of this dish is slightly sour with Indian taro, sweet with simmered pig’s bones and tasteful with various spices. Noticeably, turmeric is also added in to make pig’s trotters more attractive.
When Bun Doc Mung Thit appears in Saigon, they add onions and bean sprouts into it. You can also change its taste by adding other spices based on your own taste. Spending 1.5$ and you will have a full belly afterward.