If I have to choose only one of the best food in Hanoi, make sure it’s the Bun cha Huong Lien. To be honest, I fell in love with this dish from the first time. The smokiness of the slightly charred grilled pork is always so intoxicating and moreish! Bun Cha. Situated on Le Van Huu Street, near the intersection of Thi Sach Street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi, Huong Lien restaurant is famous for its special dishes for 23 years. Former US President Barack Obama had Bun Cha here with Anthony Bourdain as they discussed culinary matters. It was a historic occasion to the Vietnamese as well as the restaurant's owner so they had the table, utensils and stools they used encased in a glass box. Now Bun cha Huong Lien is also dubbed as "Bun cha Obama." The owner is the person who directly cooks to serve guests. After the careful selection, grilled meat will be brought to the kitchen for preliminary processing, preparing for a busy day. Bun Cha Huong Lien opens every day from 8:00 am to nearly 9:00 pm. However, the restaurant closes sooner in some special days. The most crowded time of the restaurant is the noon when the grills are processed continuously and put into the charcoal stove. The menu is straightforward with item description in English for easy ordering. Fried seafood rolls, crab spring rolls, meat skewers are all dishes that can be eaten together with the bun cha. It is not the cheapest Bun cha meal by local standards but trust me, it will be worth your every dollar and cent! Former US president Barack Obama had Bun Cha here with Anthony Bourdain as they discussed culinary matters. The grilled pork comes in both sliced and minced meat patty forms. The smokiness of the meat is just incredibly fragrant. They are also very well marinated and tasted really flavoursome. Gravy isn’t overly polluted with charred bits from the meat and the green papaya slices give a good crunch. Grilled bacon here is quite thick, big and eye-catching with the bold flavour, waking up the taste buds immediately. Awesome! The Fried Crab Rolls look like bite-sized spring rolls but were actually real crab meat wrapped in bean curd skin. Extremely strong crab flavour with natural crustacean sweetness. Right behind the crab rolls was the Meat Skewer. Layers of pork meat and onions were skewered and then grilled – every bite was just meaty and crunchy. The BBQ marinade had thoroughly penetrated the meat, making it really moreish. The big, fat and juicy Fried Seafood Roll had prawns in the meat filling. Best eaten when dipped into the nuoc cham. In addition, I was impressed by the high standards of cleanliness and hygiene in the restaurant, which enables me to enjoy the meal in the best way. What’s more, high ceilings with fans meant the interior was kept airy and well-ventilated – very comfortable space to dine in and I wouldn’t have to worry about leaving here with the smell of grilled pork or smoke on my hair and clothing. Obviously, Bun Cha Huong Lien is my favourite restaurant forever and always. I highly recommend eating here, you won't regret! * Quynh Phuong comes from Quang Tri - a small province in central Vietnam. She is excited and eager to explore the uniqueness and beauty of Hanoi cuisine and culture.
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