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Bun Cha Ha Noi is a popular dish in the North of Vietnam, and many people think it was invented by the Hanoi police force during French colonial rule. The story goes that they would eat this dish after work to replenish their strength.
The more likely story about Bun Cha’s origin is that it came from China as a result of Chinese migration into northern Vietnam during periods of turmoil in China. It may also have come from the food culture of southern Fujian province which borders on Northern Vietnam.
For generations, Bun Cha has been made with noodles mixed with pork or beef broth, rice vermicelli (bun) and fresh herbs like lemon basil leaves and perilla leaves (cha).
The dish was described in 1959 by Vietnamese food writer Vu Bang (1913–1984) who described Hanoi as a town “transfixed by bún chả.” Hanoi’s first bún chả restaurant was on Gia Ngư, Hoàn Kiếm District, in Hanoi’s Old Quarter (Wiki)
Bún chả is made up of many ingredients, which include
- Meat: minced pork shoulder to make meatball, pork belly.
- Dipping sauce: diluted fish sauce with sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, stock, crushed garlic, chilli, etc.
- Pickled vegetables: green papaya (or carrots, onion, kohlrabi).
- Fresh herbs: cabbage, Láng basil, rice paddy herb (ngổ), beansprout, Vietnamese balm (kinh giới).
- Side dishes: crushed garlic, crushed chilli, vinegar, grinded pepper, sliced limes.
This recipe is for Bun Cha Ha Noi, a rice noodle dish with grilled pork and fish sauce. The ingredients are simple, but the flavor is complex. Watch this video to learn how it’s made!