As you might already know, bún chả is a must try food when you’re in Hanoi. It is one of the most prominent and famous dishes as well as one of the most popular dishes amongst locals in Hanoi. That means you’ll be able to see tens and hundreds of bun cha restaurants around the city. Because of the special Vietnamese version of sweet and sour flavour of barbecued meat mixed with fresh veggies and bun noodle, it is loved by many foreign travellers too.
One very famous restaurant for tourists is Bun Cha Dac Kim on Hang Manh street of Old Quarter. I’ve been to this restaurant with a friend who came to visit me in Hanoi and I did like the flavour and the very generous portion compared to usual bun cha portions. But the price is almost twice as much as other places and I did not go back there since because it didn’t quite convince me to pay the extra as there are many other yummy bun cha options.
Frankly speaking, I think bun cha is very hard to fail or disappoint, so the average of bun cha restaurants are at least ‘good’ and never bad or below expectation. But if you’re here in Hanoi for a trip, I believe you’d like to visit the best one and I’ve got one for you!
The entrance to the alley where the restaurant is, is already fascinating because it is a very typical narrow alley between shops in Hanoi and definitely a unique experience for foreigners. I’d say it is very similar to the famous bún đậu mắm tôm alley near Hoan Kiem lake, so if you like this kind of adventure to locals’ favourite places, go check out the article on the hidden alley of bún đậu mắm tôm.
When you enter, you’ll see the kitchen area on the right by the wall of the alley. They’ll be busy grilling meat and frying spring rolls. Passing by the appetising smell of bun cha is certainly a good start!
After passing the kitchen, I was amazed at the crowd and the size of the restaurant at the end of the alley. It is exactly like any other local building blocks in town, but I’d never seen anything like this before. There were people seated on the streets and inside three different houses.
I was here on a Sunday around 12:30pm and there were about 10 – 20 people waiting for free tables. We were lucky not to wait too long until we had a table outdoor, but had to wait a while until our bun cha was served. With the crowd flooding in with orders, I was impressed that the staff here were managing well to remember all the orders.
I must say that I really liked the whole vibe here and how they turned a normal residential alley into a restaurant big enough to accommodate up to 100 people or so!
I really loved the bun cha here because the sauce is not too strong (as it can be very or too sweet) to dip in the fresh noodle and the pork belly and meat ball had perfect textures to my liking. As I said earlier, bun cha is a difficult one to fail, but there are subtle differences you can feel if you try it many times and the bun cha here was the best one I’ve had in Hanoi.
We also ordered spring rolls on the side, but unfortunately, they weren’t as good. The ingredients weren’t as various as other spring rolls else where and the texture wasn’t crispy, but soaked and cold. This was a slight disappointment, but after all, I was here for bun cha and not for spring rolls, so it did no harm to my overall experience.
This restaurant only opens for lunch time until 2pm. When we were leaving around 1:30pm, they were already done for day, probably because they were sold out. So if you want to try this best bun cha in Hanoi, make sure you go early before they’re sold out!
Bún Chả Hàng Quật
Address: 74 Hàng Quạt, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Opening Hours: Everyday 10:30 – 14:00