Ask me to name 3 foods that I am always willing to eat at any time and for the rest of my life, they would be Dosa (Indian crepe), Steak (you know what it is), and Bun cha (Vietnam’s, and especially Hanoi’s, quintessential food). Here is the irony, however. Though bun cha originated in Hanoi, and most people agree that the Hanoi version represents the essence of this dish, truth is, the best bun cha for me can only be found at a modest stall right next to my house in a small town north of Hanoi. But then it is a matter of taste. I believe that if you find yourself in Hanoi or in some certain cities in the North of Vietnam, you will soon find a crowd of hungry eaters braving the tropical heat, sitting on the pavements, and diligently slurping mouthfuls of white rice noodles with grilled pork.
At my favorite bun cha stall, what I had was pretty standard. A plate filled with a mountain of white rice noodles, a bowl of dipping sauce with lots of chargrilled pork patties sexily floating inside, ground peanuts on top for extra crunch, and lots of herbs ready on the table. I just had it an hour ago, and as usual, my bun cha was perfect. The pork patties was moist yet still retained the smokey flavor of the grill, the noodles were fresh, and the dipping sauce was a harmony of sweet-sour-salty flavors. I added a bit of chili for a spicy sidekick & some Vietnamese herbs. (You can also add a bit of kumquat jiuce for some extra tartness if you wish.) Ooooooooooomph. My friend, make sure to eat bun cha when you are in Vietnam. Just forget about those places to visit in your guidebook, find bun cha first. Seriously.
So good my hand shook like cray cray taking this photo =}
And so my short stay in Vietnam begins~