Bun Cha Hanoi
Pronunciation guide: boon-chah-hah-noy
This is the dish that Anthony Bourdain introduced President Obama to during the Hanoi episode of his CNN TV show, Parts Unknown, and it's one you should introduce to your lunch or dinner plans, too.The dish consists of slider-sized, mini ground pork patties steeped in a diluted sweet and savory fish sauce. Served with rice vermicelli noodles on the side, and a plate of lettuce and herbs, bun cha (“bun” means rice vermicelli; “cha” is the pork patty), is essentially a deconstructed version of the popular chargrilled pork and noodle bowl known as bun thit nuong. In Hanoi, it is simply called “bun cha,” but everywhere else, Hanoi is added to name of the dish to indicate its origin. To eat it, you assemble noodles, vegetables, and meat in small batches, drizzling a bit of fish sauce in the bowl to your taste, and slurping up the noodles and veg in between bites of pork. It takes some effort, and can get a bit messy, but the the interplay of crisp, fresh veggies, springy, rice noodles and smoky, charred pork is fantastic, and the ad hoc assembly means that no two bites are the same.