Recipe By: Lindsey D
Experience Level: Easy
Amidst all the unpleasant news right now in the world, life feels a little better for me when I get to indulge in my favorite comfort food. Imagine pickled orange carrots and white butterfly daikon floating in the red chili fish sauce enveloping juicy pork patties. Combined with green vegetables, fragrant cilantro, and rice vermicelli noodle makes this a food dish that is both satisfying and best in the summer heat. The vast array of colors, flavors, and textures come together to make life feels almost okay again. Yes, I am talking about the famous Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patties with Bún Noodles called Bún Chả.
Bún Chả is a traditional Vietnamese food dish that originated from the streets of Hanoi. Street food is another term for food that is both delicious and commonly sold by vendors throughout the streets of Vietnam. Other examples of street food would be Bánh Mì, Phở, and Vietnamese Spring Rolls to name a few. If you’ve heard of one of these Vietnamese food dishes, then you would most likely know the importance of this Bún Chả recipe I am about to reveal.
Making & eating Bún Chả is an art form really. Everyone has their own style of eating, but here’s mine. The general idea is to drench your smoky grilled pork patties into the Vietnamese sweet and sour fish sauce, then pour generously over the noodles and green veggies. Take a long inhalation of oxygen before biting into that juicy caramelized fatty pork and slurping everything in. The decadent pork, the spiciness of chili with the refreshing herbs, the sweet and sour fish sauce broth that is in no way fishy, combined with the smooth texture of the rice noodles and pickled carrot/daikon, you are now in foody heaven.
If this didn’t convince you, then maybe this fact will. Bún Chả is so popular and tasty in Hanoi, that even President Obama himself had to have a taste. The famous chef Anthony Bourdain treated our U.S. President Obama to Bún Chả Huong Lien on an episode of CNN: Parts Unknown. The famous Obama Combo is now the official name for the Bún Chả bowl with a bottle of beer and deep-fried Hanoi spring rolls at Bún Chả Huong Lien.
Now that I have you drooling, let's learn how to make Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patties with Rice Vermicelli Noodles by first creating the Vietnamese Fish Sauce. It's best to make the sauce the night before and leave it in the refrigerator for the full flavor profile to develop. It is recommended but not required. If you do decide to make the dipping sauce prior, don't forget to add 1 completed pork patty and let the fat simmer into the sauce the day of serving. If you like your Nước Chấm to be more citrus with lime, I do have another alternative Vietnamese Fish Sauce recipe to cater to your preference. Let's start!
Recipe & Photos: Karen Quế Phạm