Bun Cha (Bún Chả Hà Nội)

Bun Cha is nutritious, packed with flavor, and easy to throw together on a weeknight! Bun Cha is served differently in Vietnam but we’ve made a version familiar to those in the U.S.

Bun Cha

If you’re a fan of Vietnamese cuisine or just looking to expand your culinary horizons, you’ve probably heard of bun cha.

This mouthwatering dish is a Vietnamese specialty that combines flavorful grilled meat, fresh herbs, vermicelli noodles, and a tangy dipping sauce.

Originating from Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, bun cha has gained popularity worldwide for its delicious taste and simplicity.

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Why You’ll Love This:

Bun cha offers a delightful blend of textures and flavors that appeal to a wide range of palates. From the smoky char of grilled meat to the freshness of herbs and crunch of bean sprouts, each bite is a burst of culinary delight. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile—you can customize it to your liking by adjusting the ingredients and toppings to suit your taste preferences.

Bun Cha

What Kitchen Tools Are Needed For This Recipe:

Making bun cha doesn’t require any fancy equipment. You’ll just need a grill or grill pan to cook the meat, a pot to cook the noodles, and basic kitchen utensils like tongs, a knife, and a mixing bowl. With these simple tools, you can recreate this Vietnamese classic in your own kitchen.

What Ingredients Are Needed:

To make bun cha, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Vermicelli noodles: These thin rice noodles serve as the base of the dish.
  • Turkey instead of pork: While traditional bun cha includes pork, you can use turkey as a delicious alternative.
  • Lime: Fresh lime juice adds a citrusy brightness to the dish.
  • Fish sauce: A key component of the dipping sauce, fish sauce provides a savory umami flavor.
  • Bean sprouts: These crunchy sprouts add a refreshing crunch to the dish.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves contribute a fragrant herbaceousness.
  • Sauce: The dipping sauce for bun cha typically includes a combination of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and water.
  • Rice noodles: These thin noodles are cooked and served alongside the grilled meat and fresh herbs.

How To Make It:

  1. Cook the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the pork (or turkey) by marinating it in a mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the marinated meat until cooked through and slightly charred, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. While the meat is grilling, prepare the dipping sauce by combining fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and water in a bowl. Adjust the ingredients to taste.
  5. To serve, divide the cooked noodles among serving bowls. Top with meatballs, bean sprouts, cilantro, and any other desired toppings. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
bun cha meatballs
Form the meat into small patties.

Helpful Tips:

  • For extra flavor, consider adding minced garlic, chili flakes, or chopped peanuts to the dipping sauce.
  • If you’re short on time, you can use store-bought vermicelli noodles and pre-marinated turkey.
  • Feel free to customize your bun cha with additional toppings like sliced cucumbers, carrots, or mint leaves.

History Behind This Recipe:

Bun cha originated in Hanoi, Vietnam, and has been a beloved dish in the region for centuries. Most think this grew in popularity during the 20th century and has since become a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. Traditionally, bun cha is pork meatballs over a bed of vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and dipping sauce.

Substitutions And Variations:

While bun cha typically includes pork, you can easily substitute other proteins such as chicken, beef, turkey, or tofu. Additionally, you can experiment with different herbs and toppings to create unique flavor combinations. For a vegetarian version, omit the meat altogether and load up on veggies like mushrooms, bell peppers, and zucchini.

Storage Instructions:

Bun cha is best enjoyed fresh, but you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Just be sure to store the components separately—the noodles, meat, and toppings—so they don’t get soggy. When ready to eat, simply reheat the meat and noodles and assemble your bun cha just like you did before.

Bun Cha

Bun Cha (Bún Chả Hà Nội)

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
Bun Cha is nutritious, packed with flavor, and easy to throw together on a weeknight! Bun Cha is served differently in Vietnam but we've made a version familiar to those in the U.S.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Vietnamese
Servings 4 servings
Calories 426 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground pork can use ground turkey for less fat
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ cup green onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste or fresh lemongrass finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil for cooking

Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dressing)

  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • cup water
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 bird's eye chili
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped

Everything Else

  • 4 servings (3.5 oz each) vermicelli noodles dried
  • large handful cilantro
  • julienned pickled daikon and carrot*
  • handful bean sprouts
  • lettuce leaves
  • sliced bird's eye chili optional
  • lime wedge optional

Recipe Instructions
 

For the Meatballs

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients (except the oil) and mix well.
  • Shape into 12 – 14 mini patties with your hands.
  • Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. When hot, add as many patties as you can without them touching. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown. Flip and cook for another two minutes. Repeat until all are cooked.

For the Nuoc Cham

  • Combine all the ingredients in a sealable container. Set aside.

For the Noodles

  • Add dried noodles to boiling water and cook for as long as package indicates. Drain, set aside.

Assembly

  • Place noodles in each bowl. Top a small spoonful of the dressing and mix with noodles so they don't stick. Top with a handful of beansprouts, carrots and radish, and wedge some lettuce in.
  • Add meatballs, cilantro, and spoon with a generous helping of dressing.

Notes

*Quick Pickled Vegetables: 1 cup julienned carrot, 1 loosely packed cup julienned daikon radish, 1 cup warm tap water, 1/3 cup white sugar, 1 tbsp salt, 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar.
Directions: Combine sugar, salt, vinegar and water. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add vegetables and let stand for at least 1 hour to pickle. Drain.

Nutrition

Calories: 426kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 21gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 2187mgPotassium: 456mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 136IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Bun Cha
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