Bun Cha is a delicious and easy Vietnamese dish that consists of grilled pork meatballs and sliced pork belly served with rice vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs and a tangy dipping sauce. It is a popular street food in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, where it is often eaten for lunch. In this blog post, we will show you how to make Bun Cha at home with simple ingredients and steps.
The Ingredients for Bun Cha
To make Bun Cha, you will need the following ingredients:
- For the pork: You will need ground pork with some fat for the meatballs and thinly sliced pork belly for the grilled pork. You will also need some seasonings such as garlic, shallot, sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper to marinate the pork.
- For the dipping sauce: You will need fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, water, garlic and chili to make the dipping sauce. This sauce is also called nuoc cham, and it is a common condiment in Vietnamese cuisine. It has a balance of salty, sour, sweet and spicy flavors that complement the grilled pork and noodles.
- For the noodles: You will need rice vermicelli noodles, which are thin rice noodles that are cooked by soaking in hot water until soft. You can find them in Asian grocery stores or online. You can also use other types of noodles such as rice stick noodles or egg noodles if you prefer.
- For the herbs: You will need some fresh herbs such as lettuce, mint, cilantro and perilla to serve with the Bun Cha. These herbs add freshness and aroma to the dish. You can also use other herbs such as basil, dill or Vietnamese coriander if you like.
The Steps for Making Bun Cha
To make Bun Cha, you will need to follow these steps:
- Marinate the pork: In a large bowl, combine the ground pork with half of the garlic, shallot, sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well and shape into small meatballs. In another bowl, toss the sliced pork belly with the remaining garlic, shallot, sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Make the dipping sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the garlic and chili. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice vermicelli noodles and cook according to the package directions until soft but not mushy. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside or keep warm until ready to serve.
- Grill the pork: Preheat a grill or a grill pan over high heat. Brush some oil on the grill grates or pan. Grill the meatballs and sliced pork belly for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred and cooked through. Transfer to a platter and keep warm until ready to serve.
- Serve the Bun Cha: Divide the noodles among four large bowls. Top with some lettuce leaves and fresh herbs. Arrange some meatballs and sliced pork belly on top or on a separate plate. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side or drizzled over each bowl.
The Tips for Making Bun Cha
Here are some tips for making Bun Cha:
- You can make the pork marinade and dipping sauce ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- You can also grill the pork ahead of time and reheat it in a skillet over medium-high heat before serving.
- You can adjust the amount of garlic, chili and sugar in the dipping sauce according to your taste preference.
- You can serve Bun Cha with some pickled vegetables such as carrots, daikon radish or cucumber for some extra crunch and acidity.
Bun Cha is a delicious and easy Vietnamese dish that you can make at home with simple ingredients and steps. It is a great way to enjoy grilled pork meatballs and sliced pork belly with rice vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs and a tangy dipping sauce. It is a satisfying and flavorful meal that will impress your family and friends. Try it today and let us know what you think!