29 Oct2013

Bun Cha a la Marketman

by Marketman


You knew I was going to give it a go, didn’t you? :) The classic Bun Cha of Hanoi is made up of grilled pork patties or sliced grilled pork served with rice noodles, herbs and condiments. And you know what? It isn’t hard to do a home version at all. I stretched the definition to include some grilled prawns as well, so guests who couldn’t eat pork could enjoy the meal with us. I also made some simple carrot and cucumber pickles to be served on the side.


The pork was seasoned with fish sauce, galanggal or ginger, a bit of soy sauce, palm sugar and lots of lemongrass (minced) and allowed to marinate for a couple of hours. It was then grilled and cut into small strips. The shrimp were sprinkled with fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar and grilled. A dipping sauce of fish sauce, lime juice, water, sugar, chilies and coriander was served on the side. Some dried rice noodles were blanched for a minute or two in boiling water, then rinsed under cool water to stop the noodles from getting mushy.


The serving platter included fresh cilantro, mint and some sawtooth coriander (becuase it is growing gangbusters in the garden) and it could have used some vietnamese mint and or basil leaves as well. Some cucumbers and carrots were “mandolined” into fine shreds and marinated in a light pickling solution of vinegar, water and sugar and a little salt.


This didn’t take long at all, and the experience and flavor profile was definitely vietnamese. I am really becoming a huge fan of these rice noodles, they seem the perfect foil for a lot of well seasoned protein and I suspect I have a tendency to eat less carb this way compared to steamed rice. The noodles also are a great vehicle for the sauces as their surface area gets coated in the sauce and complements the piece of meat and herbs that you get in one mouthful.



  1. ricky gonzalez says:

    instead of palm sugar, some use a sugar solution (water and sugar), cooked over heat, until the color of the solution turns brown (bobby chin program suggests that the Vietnamese, use burnt sugar for their bun cha).

    Oct 29, 2013 | 7:37 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    ricky, cool suggestion, thanks for that!

    Oct 29, 2013 | 7:54 am

  4. Dogbone says:

    This looks delicious!
    Somehow I was expecting this to be rolled in lettuce leaves or a soft lumpia wrapper…

    Sure wish your posts had a LIKE button!

    Oct 29, 2013 | 10:02 am

  5. Bubut says:

    i thought its one of your meals in Vietnam.. thanks for sharing. we can enjoy it at home..

    Oct 29, 2013 | 10:51 am

  6. Lee says:

    nice bowl too.

    Oct 29, 2013 | 12:35 pm

  7. j. says:

    Ricky is right it’s called nuoc mau {spelling?}. According to several vietnamese friends, you also have to cut the nuoc mam with hot water…otherwise it overpowers the dish.

    Oct 29, 2013 | 2:27 pm

  8. corrine says:

    Yum! Thanks for sharing. Going to try this soon as I also have lot of saw tooth coriander and some mint growing in the garden. Time to go to FTI market again to get some viet basil to plant. Are those porkchops you used?

    Oct 29, 2013 | 5:13 pm

  9. besYS says:

    Hi MM,
    Nuoc Mau is a Vietnamese Caramel Sauce. For the recipe, here’s a link from Viet World Kitchen. http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2007/10/caramel-sauce.html

    Oct 29, 2013 | 7:49 pm

  10. MP says:

    As lime is not readily available I wonder if the flavor of the dipping sauce will be greatly affected if I sub it with lemon…

    Oct 29, 2013 | 9:59 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    MP lime is best, but lemon can be substituted. besYS, thanks for that link!

    Oct 30, 2013 | 7:19 am

  12. Isa says:

    Growing gangbusters? Really? Where are you getting the hip sayings? From the collegiala?

    Oct 31, 2013 | 12:49 am

  13. StefanB says:

    Just a quick question, is there a difference between cilantro and coriander? I though cilantro is the American English for coriander.

    Oct 31, 2013 | 5:36 am

  14. des says:

    Just so hard to find, or no possibility at all of finding nuoc-mam or Vietnam fish sauce here in the Philippines.

    Dec 21, 2013 | 11:01 pm


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