I just love eating Bun Cha (pronounced “boom char”) and this is a very nice description of the dish written by Thanh Huong as published in the Saigon Times Online.
By Thanh Huong in Hanoi
A portion of bun cha Photo: - Thanh Huong
Hanoi people eat bun cha as a treat - not to fill their stomachs. Bun cha is a cool delicious mix of noodles, grilled pork slices, grilled minced pork meatballs, fish sauce, salad and some relish. You will never forget your first bowl of this zesty salad snack. In Hanoi there are whole streets full of shops that specialize in this dish. Ngoc Khanh, Nguyen Khuyen, Hang Manh are some of bun cha streets in the capital. The intense competition between bun cha vendors has lowered the dish’s price to VND20,000-VND25,000 each.
Travelers can easily find bun cha streets by following the fragrance of grilled pork. The dish is colorful with white noodles, green salad, red chilies, black pepper, and fish sauce swimming with carrot slices and shredded green papaya. The sauce is made up with sugar, vinegar, chili and pepper.
The secret of delicious bun cha is in the way the fish sauce is prepared. It should be sweet, sour, slightly hot and salty. Only traditional cooks know the secret and they never tell. That’s why Hanoi people have to go out to enjoy bun cha instead of cooking it themselves. It is regarded as a fashionable snack to share with friends. The portion is quite moderate so it’s fine to order seconds.
Dip a slice of grilled pork pie and some noodles into the fish sauce, add some salad and mix them all in your mouth - you will discover a surprisingly delicious taste and fragrance that you have to experience to believe.
Bun cha is now served with spring rolls. However, the new innovation has not been welcomed by purists, who know the genuine taste of the ancient city’s traditional cuisine.