Vietnames Food 101: Bún Chả

I really want to know Vietnamese kitchen better. Even though they have an important amount of sea food, which is not my favourite, I enjoy Vietnamese food more and more each time I taste. Last weekend we had a Vietnamese-Swiss friend, Hoang, visiting us. She came with food! We ate Bún Chả accompanied with Turkish mezes. Even though it was a bit of cultural reunion on the table, we had a great meal, and guess what, I have a recipe for you.

Bún Chả is a Hanoi dish that you can eat warm or cold. In fact, you can find lots of cold noodles in Vietnamese kitchen. The dish is composed of a few elements prepared separately. First, there is pork belly/pork patties marinated for a bit with caramel sauce and shallots, and cooked on barbecue or pan. You can of course substitute pork with anthing else but this marinade is perfect for pork! On the other hand there is pickles that you need to make in advance and rest for a bit. Thirdly you need to cook rice noodles in water and rinsed until cold to avoid sticking. Then you prepare the greens, red chili and garlic. Then you prepare the sauce to serve it all in. And lastly everyone assembles their plate to their taste!

The initial preparation takes about 15 minutes and cooking takes another 15 minutes. Leaving aside the marination, that’s all! Perfect timing for a perfect meal!

My Recipe

Active Time: 30 mins
Marinade: 30-60 mins


  • 500 g pork belly
  • 500 g minced pork
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp shallots
  • 4 tbsp 2 tpsb oyster sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp caramel sauce (home made or store bought, or molasses or honey)
  • 2 tbsp powdered stock (or better home made)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black peppers
  • ----
  • 1 cup kohlrabi or green papaya
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ----
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced red chilli
  • lettuce, mint, vietnamese mint, cilantro...
  • 1 kg rice noodles


  1. Caramel sauce: caramelise sugar on low heat, add water.
  2. Marination: Separately mix minced meat and pork belly with garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, shallots, caramel sauce, powdered stock, black pepper, and let rest in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Then form the patties. Cook on grill or pan.
  3. Pickles: slice kolhrabi and carrots, add 2 tbsp of salt and let rest for 15 mins. Rince and dry. Add sugar and vinegar and let it rest at least for an hour.
  4. Sauce: Heat sugar, fish sauce and water until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Noodles: Boil noodles in water, rince with cold water until cooled.
  6. Prepare and serve on the table the greens, garlic, chilli and the rest. Serve 8-10 tbsp of sauce per person in a bowl, and let everyone prepare their plates!

Additional Info and Tips

Feel free to replace pork with any other meat that you prefer.
You can use this marinade for other pork recipes as well.
To shape carrots like flowers, cut small triangles alonside the carrots and slice.
The recipe comes from Helen's Recipes, an original Vietnamese blog. Check it out!
Türkçesi burada!

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