Bun cha Obama

Located on Le Van Huu street, Bun cha Huong Lien, also known as Bun cha Obama, is a popular restaurant for tourists in Hanoi.

The family-run restaurant has been crowded with local and foreign diners after former US President Barack Obama and the late American celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain, visited it in May 2016. After the visit, the restaurant was called Bun cha Obama.

Nguyen Thi Lien, the owner of the 26-year-old restaurant, said, bun cha (rice noodles with grilled pork), is a street food which has been popular in Hanoi for a long time.

Lien said her restaurant is very popular, nearly 500 diners daily, because they have a special way to marinate the meat which creates a special flavor and taste for the grilled pork.

Before being grilled over charcoal, the pork belly is marinated with fish sauce, sugar, onion and pepper for hours. The grilled pork must be neither too raw nor too well-done to ensure the softness and sweetness of the meat. The grilled pork is served with rice noodles and a dipping sweet-sour sauce made from garlic, chili, sugar, vinegar and fish sauce. The dipping sauce is another secret behind the savory taste of bun cha.

Former US President Barack Obama tried bun cha at the restaurant in 2016.

Bun cha Obama has become a popular culinary destination in Hanoi.

Watcharas Leelawath from Thailand, who heard about Bun cha Obama from his friends, said the dish, with its amazingly delicious taste, truly deserves to be tried when visiting Hanoi.

Open from 8 am to 8pm, the restaurant is most crowded during lunch time. They have now opened a second restaurant at No. 59, Lang Ha street.

Bun cha Obama, only 40,000 dong (1.7 US dollars), is a good choice for visitors who want to taste a typical dish of the capital city.

Story: Ngan Ha – Photos: Khanh Long