Bun Cha - Rice Noodles and Grilled Chopped Meat
- It is basically a noodle soup with pork. You’ll be served by a plate of rice noodles, fresh herbs, and a bowl of cold broth with grilled pork. The rice noodles and fresh herbs are pretty common in Vietnamese restaurant. The broth and the pork are the ones make this dish unique.
The broth is based on vinegar, sugar and fish sauce. It’s sweet and sour, and also it has the unique taste of fish sauce. Without the fish sauce, Vietnamese food wouldn’t be completed. Anyway, even though we know what’s in it, controlling the portion of all the ingredients would be the tricky part. The broth tastes similar as Galbi; Korean BBQ pork. It usually served as room temperature. Picked radish and carrot are also commonly come together.
The pork is served in the broth. Depending on where you eat, there’ll serve grilled pork belly and grounded-grilled pork. In Bun cha restaurant which everywhere in Hanoi, has a fireplace to cook the pork.
How to enjoy?
Now you have it: rice noodles, herbs and broth. Dip everything together in the broth and enjoy! There’s no complicated how-to with Bun cha. You’ll know what to do. I really enjoyed the harmony of fresh mint and a sweet piece of pork. Fresh garlic, chili pepper and lime are always on the table as basic ingredients. Use it as you wish. We usually enjoy BC together with some kinds of Asian herbs, such as mint, Thai basil, Coriander, herb…
When you are ready to practice this dish, please follow our instructions below carefully and let us start cooking right now.
Step 1: To make the caramel sauce: melt sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat until caramelized. Occasionally swirl the pan to avoid burning. Take off the heat. Using a long-handle ladle, add the hot water to the caramelized sugar. Be careful as it will splash.
Step 2: Marinate the pork belly with half of the minced garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce , minced shallot, caramel sauce /molasses/honey, seasoning powder (optional), ground black pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes or a few hours in the refrigerator.
Step 3: Marinate the minced pork similarly with the other half of the marinade ingredients. Pinch and form the minced pork into 2-inch (5cm) patties.
Step 4: Grill the pork and minced pork patties outdoor on charcoal until both sides are golden brown.
Step 5: To make the pickles, mix the thinly sliced kohlrabi/ green papaya and carrots with 2 tsp salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. After that, rinse well and slightly squeeze out the excess water. In a large bowl, mix the kohlrabi and carrots with sugar and vinegar. Set aside for at least 1 hour so that the veggies can absorb the flavor.
Step 6: To make the dipping sauce, in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, dissolve sugar in fish sauce and water. Minced garlic and chili can be added to diners’ preference during serving.
Step 7: To assemble the dish, fill a medium serving bowl half-full with the dipping sauce. Then add some grilled pork, pickles, minced garlic and chili, and black pepper. Serve with a platter of fresh greens and cooked rice vermicelli noodles. To serve, dip a bit of vermicelli and fresh greens into the bowl and eat with the grilled pork and pickles.
You can also grill indoor on grilling pan or non-stick pan. In that case add 1 tbsp cooking oil in the marinade, and only “grill” a little at a time. (If you overcrowd the meat, you will get “thit kho” (caramelized pork) instead of grilled pork.
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