Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bún Chả Singapore

I spent almost 7 months in Vietnam last year on Industrial Attachment at a brewery. Most of that time was spent in Hanoi, where I made some lifelong friends and had some seriously amazing adventures. Many involving copious amounts of bia hơi and occasionally, thịt chó.

Good doggy..

Vietnam has so much more to offer than phở and nem tươi and one of my favourite things to eat for about a dollar is bún chả Hà Nội. My favourite bún chả street stall sits at the junction of Phan Chu Trinh and Trần Xuân Soạn in Quận Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội. In addition to the standard fan aspirated charcoal grill that pumps out insanely wicked grilled pork, this stall also serves really good nem rán cua. Which on second thought, is pretty much de rigueur.. Haha!

keep 'em coming auntie...

After coming back home, I kept having cravings for bún chả and when my godmother asked me to cook a dinner for her, I decided it was time to get the charcoal fire going. I tried capturing every detail I could remember to make an authentic bún chả, even using wire mesh meat holders I brought back from Hanoi. I even considered setting up the grill next to my car's exhaust pipe to capture the real street food flavour.

I didn't know where to fit in my stand fan :(

I made Ming hand chop a 50-50 mix of pork belly and pork shoulder with garlic, shallots, Thai basil, and coriander because it was too much work for me. Then I mixed in some water, sugar, nước mắm from Phú Quốc, salt and pepper. This mixture was shaped into mini burger sized patties. I also marinated slices of pork belly with sugar, more nước mắm, minced garlic, salt and pepper. I can't find good Vietnamese nước mắm here so I have to bring back several bottles each time I make a trip there. I also didn't look very hard for bún and used thick bee hoon instead. So much for authenticity...

Are bean sprouts used in bún chả? My memory fails me.. Oops..

The bowl looked kinda empty, because obviously I couldn't find any other herbs besides,Thai basil, coriander and mint so I decided to toss in some bean sprouts. Least I got the nước chấm right. Can't go wrong with that when you have great fish sauce on hand.

It tasted gooood....

Then Ming and I were so busy serving that I didn't get photos of the final layout. The dish was well received, probably cos I didn't tell anyone how much sugar went into the dipping sauce... I think it's about time I headed back north for some real bún chả. Where's a xe ôm when you need one?

This post also appears on the 8th edition of the Delicious Vietnam series hosted by Bear Head Soup and initiated by Anh and the Ravenous Couple to celebrate the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine.

1 comment:

deb said...

Hi Jeremy, thanks for submitting to Delicious Vietnam. I loved reading your story about the bbq'd meat in Vietnam. I love eating bun, but i've never had bun cha, so am going to give that a try next. cheers deb