05 2014 Dec

We were making our way through the Old Quarter and decided to eat locally. That was, try out the recommendations from the locals and online reviews that weren’t TripAdvisor or Yelp (yeah, they had a small presence). Two things came to mind, bun cha and more bun rieu oc. I had to compare it to last night. Do street vendors do bun rieu oc better then fancy restaurants? My hypothesis was yes.

I’d say we were pretty adventurous trying out the street vendor we picked for bun rieu oc, crab noodle soup with snails. It wasn’t the snails in question, it was the environment. The place was inside an alley tucked behind a couple other stands. A lady sat at a low table motioning us to sit. The ingredients sat on the metal table and she soon began preparing our meal. I was glad it was far enough from the main road where the scooters skimmed by.

I asked for one bowl. She insisted on two. Normal vendor protocol.

We both got our fill and I have to say, it was good. Better than the restaurant. So hypothesis confirmed in relation to last night. Though, the sacrifice in cleanliness really makes me wonder if it was worth it.

It was then off to what I really wanted to try, bun cha, a Hanoian dish. Something they eat for breakfast. I looked up a spot and low and behold, there was a highly rated one in the Old Quarter. Problem was, there’s also mention that there were fake shops around. I have a feeling we went to one. Even with the same name and address, looking online the pictures of the store was different. Oh well, still a good meal.

Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim
67 Duong Thanh Street, Old Quarter
Hanoi, Vietnam
+84  04.8285022

Verdict: Definitely try. I was even impressed with the knock offs. As for street food, you know the risk.

Street Vendor Ingredients

Yeah. Things were out in the open and unrefrigerated. Hope this stuff was put out daily. don't want to think too much on the conditions, but hey, we survived. And who knows, being outdoors may have added to the flavors.

Bun Rieu Oc @Some Street Vendor

It wasn't plated as well as most restaurants. But it was still colorful and full on the strong flavors you'd expect from Vietnamese food. The meat and snails were a bit chewy, over cooked in the broth. I didn't mind though. I really wanted to play it safe. I still had a week here in Hanoi.

Ox Impressions: 

How to Eat Vietnamese Street Food

This would be how you look eating at some establishments. Don't expect any sort of restaurant hospitality. You get a small chair, table, and your food. Pay up and eat up. You want to disinfect something? The owner would gladly sell you a beer.

Dac Kim Bun Cha

Here's the store we went to. It looks very different from the place I saw online. Hence I think this may have been one of the knock off restaurants. Had only locals inside with the exception of us. Who knows, maybe this was indeed the second branch.

Bun Cha @Dac Kim

A very interesting dish where you take the pork, either the patties or pork belly, and eat it with the rice noodles. Basically, you want to dip the noodles in the soup before you eat it. It's both sweet and savory. Just enough for you to grab more noodles. You also get a side of veggies to help freshen things up. We decided to try and wrap things which also worked.


Ox Impressions: 

Bun Cha @Dac Kim

Here's how we wrapped our bites. Just pick up a piece of lettuce, add in you ingredients including the fresh herbs, dip and then eat. Don't try dipping the noodles first before wrapping. It gets quite messy that way.

The OxPosted December 5, 2014 By the hungry ox

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