7.246 Bun Cha


7 (Wed) September 2016

Bun Cha


at Dieu’s Cuisine


with KSM

During my stay, I will have 8 bowls of pho : thrice  for breakfast, thrice for lunch, twice for dinner.

Mission to Viet Nam : Day 2 (see previously 7.245 Pho Bo).

In Hanoi.  Here to attend a conference on ageing.  Arrived yesterday.  Flying back to Manila on Friday.

Dieu’s Cuisine is a Vietnamese restaurant. Located along Truc Bach Lake (Sofitel to the right).
In my defense, I didn’t choose the place and didn’t know that it was fusion until I got there and saw the sign …
… and all the happy white folk.

Most of the food turned out as I’d expected : neither here nor there, style over substance, much ado about mediocrity.

Someone told me that not-so-cold beer poured into a frosted glass will froth up like this, something to do with the sudden temperature imbalance, like condensation.
Aromatic Steamed Clams (1.5)
Squid Stuff Pork (2.5)
Morning Glory with Garlic (2.0)
Bo Sot Vang (2.5)

Not just any Vietnamese sauce, nuoc cham is arguably the Vietnamese sauce.  At its most basic : fish sauce + lime juice + vinegar + garlic + chili + sugar.  Salty, sweet, sour, spicy.  Goes with everything.

Here, the meatballs came in the nuoc cham —  fusionistically — allowing the salty-sweet-sour-spicy flavors to penetrate the meat for additional punch.

Bun cha is Vietnamese noodle dish.  Originated on the streets of Hanoi.  Various components are presented together on a platter : rice noodles, grilled pork, fresh vegetables (e.g., sprouts), aromatics (e.g., cilantro), and of course nuoc cham.   Each bite assembled according to personal preference.  Somewhere between a salad and a noodle soup, yet nothing like either.


The Bun Cha was a revelation.  Thin noodles. Bite-sized pork meatballs — when fusion actually works, not just show but for good purpose, as the minced meat provided a medium for seasonings of herbs+garlic+lemongrass, though purists presumably wouldn’t approve — caramelized to crusty-smoky perfection.  Delicately tangy nuoc cham, more on the lime, lighter on the fish sauce — another fusion influence, fine with a newbie like me.  Sprouts, lettuce, basil, cilantro, scallion.  Minced ginger and chopped chilies on the side for extra kick, if necessary — not necessary.  Simple yet sophisticated.

I should try to make this.

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