Bun oc, an authentic Hanoi dish

Bun oc (snail vermicelli soup) is an iconic dish of Hanoi which any visitor to the capital city should try. The clear, sweet and lightly sour broth mixed with the great greasy taste and crunchiness of the snails create a perfect harmony for the dish.

Images of bun oc street vendors feature a familiar culture of Hanoi. Street side bun oc was on the show of late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain who was very impressed with this special dish from Hanoi. The dish also appeared several times on CNN as a favorite street food of the capital city.

To make a proper bowl of bun oc with the right flavor, a cook must choose good snails and seasoning for the broth, as well as fresh vermicelli.

The broth of bun oc decides the quality of the dish. Tomatoes and rice wine residue are a must to make the flavor of the broth distinctive. The snails taste so fresh and good because the meat is removed from the shells only when the dish is ready to be served.

A bowl of bun oc, which has fresh vermicelli topped with snail meat, green onion and shiso, and served with chili and bean sprouts, has become a sweet memory for Hanoians who live away from their homeland.

Recommended bun oc addresses in Hanoi:
1. Bun oc ba Luong at no. 34 & 64, alley 191, Khuong Thuong street, Dong Da district. Open: 7am – 9pm
2. Bun oc co Lan at no. 26, alley 139, Khuong Thuong street, Dong Da district. Open: Mornings
3. Bun oc co Beo at no.2, Hoe Nhai street, Ba Dinh district. Open: 6am – 9pm
4. Bun oc co Them at no.6, Hang Chai street, Hoan Kiem district.
Open: 6am – 12am
5. Bun oc Hoa Nha at no.49, Phu Tay Ho street, Tay Ho district.
By Thanh Giang