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Enjoy Hanoi’s bun cha in HCMC

posted Oct 24, 2011, 2:06 AM by Dong Travel   [ updated Oct 24, 2011, 2:07 AM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]
Visitors to Hanoi should try bun cha (grilled pork and rice noodle), a specialty of the capital. But it is also popular in HCMC.

Cha in bun cha always come in two types: minced pork patties and fatty belly slices. The meat chosen to make cha should be both lean and fatty so that after the grilling, the meat is not dry or too fat.

The patties are made from lean pork shoulder meat which is finely minced and shaped into small patties mixed with salt, pepper, good fish sauce, sugar, finely chopped onions, vegetable oil or grease.

If the minced meat seems a bit dry, you can add some extra cooking oil to make it more sticky and easy to shape into balls the size of two or three fingers and press them flat. You can also roll each patty with a banana leaf and then grill it, so the patty will be more aromatic and not overcooked.

Fatty belly slices are mixed with the same spices and grilled on charcoal. You must keep the charcoal stove as a small, mild fire so that the grilled pieces will be done just right and smell good.

For bun (rice noodle), makers should find white and small strands which are soft and tasty.

The most difficult part in making bun cha is to get the right mixture of sauce. It really is an art to make a good dipping sauce which is also considered as the ‘soul’ of the food. The sauce is a combination of diluted fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic and some slices of prickled papaya, carrot and chili, which should not be too salty, too sweet or too sour.

Obviously, bun cha cannot be complete if it is not served with raw vegetables such as lettuce, culantro, perrilla, fish mint, Thai basil, coriander, sliced rau muong (water spinach), banana flowers and beansprouts.

Many people often eat bun cha with fried spring rolls. Those spring rolls are well fried and cut into small pieces, giving a charming smell of the different ingredients used for stuffing.

Some bun cha eateries in HCMC are Miss Mui’s Hanoi Bun Cha at 114 Nguyen Cong Tru Street in District 1, Bun Cha Tay Ho, 40 Tran Cao Van Street, District 1, Bun Cha Van An at 2 Truong Son Street in Tan Binh District or Bun cha Hanoi Anh Hong at 140B Ly Chinh Thang Street in District 3.

Source: tuoitrenews