Monday, 31 August 2009

Bun Cha

It's our second day in Hanoi, and Sarah and I just stumbled on what I've since found out to be one of Northern Vietnam's most famous street dishes: Bun Cha.

Bun Cha is a lunchtime favourite that marries rice noodles, grilled pork meatballs and a fish sauce infused broth in a fantastic dish that screams our arrival in South East Asia.

In classic street food style we didn't even have to order this one - our lunch was brought to us while we were still fiddling about in the Lonely Planet food section and looking around us awkwardly.

We each recieved a plate of lukewarm, slightly sticky rice noodles and a bowl of broth. We also got a large plate of leaves to share and some chopped chili and garlic by way of condiments.

It was all pretty intuitive - take a small bunch of noodles, drop it in the broth along with some leaves, chili and garlic and then gather up as much as you can with your chopsticks, making sure to grab some of that pork along the way.

What happened next was outstanding; the pork meatballs were charred on the outside and medium rare in the middle, containing subtle hints of a spice mix I was having too much fun to even think about. The broth, meanwhile, was in turns sweet, savory and spicy, the unmistakable tang of fish sauce acting as a prelude to the slow chili burn that followed. Apart from the lettuce, I have no idea what the other leaves were. Suffice to say that they were good, with a nippy little purple number making a particular impression.

So good was lunch in fact, that I barely registered the three mice that scurried past our table during the course of our meal.

Now thats what I call food.

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