“Bun cha” has two kinds of grilled chopped meat: tiny grilled pork patties (cha vien) and fatty pork slices (cha mieng). “Cha vien” is made of chopped pork mixed with salt, pepper, shrimp sauce, sugar, minced dry onion, vegetable oil or fat and then kneaded into small balls. After mixing it all together, visitors can add some oil if it is dry. If the visitors wish, they can roll it in banana leaf and then grill to make it more fragrant. Lean meat is a good choice because it is more delicious and tenderer than other kinds.
“Cha mieng” is made of sliced lean and fat meat, seasoned in the same way as “cha vien” and grilled on a charcoal stove. According to each person’s taste, “cha mieng” or “cha vien” can be served with vermicelli. The skin of fatty pork slice is often removed to prevent burning.
After that, it will be placed on the grate and grilled on the charcoal stove. The dish should be served with light fish sauce broth perked up with small slices of pickled green papaya and carrot. A basket of fresh herbs and vegetable including small lettuces, bean spouts, curled shredded morning glory, stems, cilantro, or some combination of minty, spicy Vietnamese herbs accompany the sauce.
Nowadays, tangled vermicelli is popular; however, rolled vermicelli is more traditional. Vendors selling “bun cha” are well-known for its belostomatid essence sauce, which is highly appreciated by famous authors like Vu Bang and Thach Lam.
Making this dish is simple; nevertheless, making it delicious depends a lot on the experience and secret handed down from generation to generation, and especially the sauce. It is the reason why “bun cha” in Hanoi is far different from that in other regions. Eating “bun cha” with crab spring rolls together with drinking beer can be seen in many restaurants in Hanoi.
Today, Hanoians usually enjoy “bun cha” at lunch or sometimes at dinner. In Ho Chi Minh City, it can be served at all times of the day.