Are you looking for something special to eat in Hanoi and try locals’ favourite and famous restaurants during your trip in Vietnam? If you’re a foodie like me who likes to explore and eat what locals like to eat, you’re in the right place! I’m going to introduce you a famous restaurant in Hanoi amongst locals.
I discovered this place incidentally because my number 1 ‘Bun Ca – fish noodle soup’ restaurant is in the very same alley as this place. There was always a queue for this restaurant and that is how I ended up trying the Bun Ngan here. Funny enough, I ate this soup without even knowing what meat it was when I first ate here. It looked and tasted like duck, but when I asked the staff here if it was duck meat, everybody said it is not. I remember being absolutely confused and lost. But the soup was so flavourful and I loved it! So I went back several more times since then.
Eventually I found out that Ngan is actually a type of duck called Muscovy duck. They all denied that it’s duck and maybe they meant it’s not ‘THE’ duck, but well, all the puzzles were solved at the end of the day…
The name of this famous restaurant is Bún Ngan Nhàn after the owner’s name, Nhàn. But this shop is more widely known to locals as ‘Bún Ngan Chửi’. Chửi means to swear because apparently this lady, Nhan is known to be rather sensitive and unable to tolerate slightest delay or inaccurate orders from guests. But, don’t be discouraged to go here and keep on reading!
So when I first heard that this place is famous for the swearing and unfriendly owner, I was very surprised as I had never recognised any unwelcoming vibe when I ate here. So I searched on the Internet to check and I immediately recognised this lady from the search results of ‘Bun Ngan Chui’. The YouTube video above is one of many Vietnamese Vloggers visiting this shop to witness the owner themselves and proving once again why this place is always full of people throughout the day every day.
This place is located in the very centre of Hanoi Old Quarter and about 2 minutes from the beer street – Ta Hien street. You’d most likely miss this place unless you’re staying in a hotel here or intentionally pass this street because it is a tiny alley hidden between the beer street and Hoan Kiem lake.
There are two different types of noodles you can choose from. The most common order is ‘bún’ – a round type of rice noodle, but you can also try ‘miến’, which is vermicelli noodle.
A normal bowl of soup here is 40,000VND, but you can ask for a bigger portion for 50,000VND with more meat. From my personal experiences here, it was a must to order a drink when I sat inside the shop, but last time I was here, I sat right in front of the owner where she prepares the food and I wasn’t asked to order any drink. So I’m guessing that it might only apply if you sit indoor.
It was a hot Summer day on a weekday and you can see that all the seats are taken (photo above). And it was the least crowded I’ve ever seen because it was the first time I did not have to queue.
This restaurant has been in business for over 10 years now on the very same street and its popularity isn’t going anywhere, but upwards. You would be able to sense the lady, Nhan’s professional and artisan-like gestures preparing orders smoothly like a machine.
I must say that this place gives one of the most generous portions of meat and the soup is super rich and truly delectable. The broth almost tastes sweet because the duck bones and meat are brewed over a very long time. I noticed that she puts back the bones into the broth after chopping off the meat for each serving and the broth is kept heated throughout the operation. So you can imagine how deep and almost heavenly the soup tastes here.
The meat is so tender making it highly enjoyable from the first mouthful till the very last. And the best part is that there’s so much meat!
You can add and adjust the flavour according to your personal preference by adding sour garlic vinegar or chilli paste and enjoy with a basket full of fresh herbs, the Vietnamese way.
Bun Ngan is one of very special dishes you can have in Vietnam. If you’ve had your share of bun cha, pho and banh mi and / or you’re up for a very local delicacy in Hanoi, do check out this place!
Bún Ngan Nhàn
Address: 11 Ngõ Trung Yên, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: Everyday 09:00 – 16:00