The noodle dishes bring the breath of Hanoi

Nga Do
Bun Cha, bun Thang, bun Oc… the noodle dishes when eat, you’ll remember about Hanoi.

The noodle dishes bring the breath of Hanoi 1
Photo by Instagram Anthony Bourdain
Bun Cha

Bun Cha was only popular in Hanoi, because in other cities, even Saigon, people had never heard about it. After the visit of former U.S. President Barack Obama to Vietnam in 2016, bun Cha (noodles with grilled pork) stirred up a social media frenzy, and now the dish is renowned among international visitors.

Former President of U.S Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain eat at a bun cha restaurant in Hanoi.
Unlike other favorites that contain secret spices like Pho, the ingredients for bun Cha are easy to find and the recipe is not that complicated. All you need is sweet and sour smoky broth, barbecued minced pork patties and soft white rice noodles, along with a lettuce, cilantro and herb garnish.

Bun Dau mam tom (Fermented shrimp paste with fried tofu and rice vermicelli)

Bun Dau is one of the most popular morning street foods in Hanoi. in the old quarter. If eating right on the street, you will be served bún đậu in a medium-size tray, with everything on it! Just squeeze some drops of kumquat to your sauce, dip rice noodles, piece of tofu or ham into the sauce, don't forget the herbs!

The simple combination of various flavors: hot, tasty tofu, cold, fresh noodles, strong, spicy, sour, a bit sweet dip sauce and nicely smell from herbal Vietnamese balm...makes bun Dau very unique in the cold weather in Hanoi.

Bun Thang

Bun Thang originally from North, but already found a new home in many places in South, Vietnam. in Saigon where has been considered as the largest food hub. Easy to find bún thang around the city. In Hanoi in the old days bun Thang traditionally prepared on the fourth day of our Lunar New Year, when we have a meal to see off our ancestor.  All the left-overs in the kitchen from ham, chicken, shrimp, pork to some veggie have been used for this bún thang! That's why everything has been cut into shreds!

Today bun Thang seems simplified a lot, from the ingredients to the cooking process. in South, where is far away from the origin place. Bun Thang requires long preparation. How to keep the soup clear, how to make thin omelette, to cut it and Vietnamese pork ham into super thin shreds. Otherwise our color picture would look nicer with red shrimp floss, yellow egg shreds, pink pork ham strips, green Vietnamese mint and ivory chicken floss.

Soup for bun Thang is chicken soup base, to keep it clear during cooking process would take time and patience to do so. Among different kinds of soup for rice noodles I probably prefer the taste of chicken soup than the others, pork or beef.

Bun Rieu

Bun Rieu is a traditional Vietnamese meat rice vermicelli soup, this dish is well-known in the country and in the world. Bun Rieu cua is served with tomato broth and topped with freshwater crab. In this dish, various freshwater paddy crabs are used, including the brown paddy crab found in rice paddies in Vietnam. The crabs are cleaned by being placed in clean water to remove dirt and sand. 

The crabs are pounded with the shell on into a fine paste. This paste is strained and the crab liquid is a base for the soup along with tomato. The crab residue is used as the basis for crab cakes. This dish is rich in nutrition: calcium from the ground crab shells, iron from the congealed pig's blood, and vitamins and fiber from the vegetables. Bun Rieu has a fresh sour, so Vietnamese like to enjoy it in summer. There are many restaurants in Vietnam that sell this dish.

Bun Oc (snail vermicelli soup)

Bun Oc is a dish of Hanoi, Vietnam. Roasted snails, ốc luộc, may be eaten first as an appetizer. Snail congee is called chao oc, and canh oc chuối đậu, is a thin snail soup with green banana, fried tofu.

To prepare a delicious bun Oc, makers have to be careful to choose a good snail that is very fat and not soaked in the water too long. Then they choose the best bun (rice noodle). Spices for bun oc include many things, including tomato, vinegar, oil, pepper, salt, sugar and many kinds of aromatic vegetables together with salad and banana flowers in small slices.

The method of making bun Oc is rather simple like bun oc in other places where makers have to boil the snail first then take out the snail meat and fry it with oil, fish sauce and sugar. The soup will be boiled with pig bone to increase the sweetness and added with tomato and main spices.

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