Bun Cha in Hanoi Old Quarter is a popular Vietnamese food and I will say that it is a must try. Bun Cha is grilled pork, both patties and slices, in refreshing broth filled with raw papaya slices. It is served together with a large plate of Vietnamese rice vermicelli and raw vegetables & herbs. The old quater of Hanoi has a very famous stall where the locals packed up all three floors of the shop space during peak hours.

On our last night in Hanoi, we decided to give it a try. Once we turned into Hang Manh street, sighting the stall we wanted, a lady ushered us to a shop opposite which has an almost similar signboard and said “same”. We thought it is an extension of the famous stall so we sat down and they brought us our bun cha and crab rolls. Yes, these are the only food they sell so there is no need for a menu.

After a hot and humid walk in Hanoi old city, the bun cha was refreshing! We love both bun cha and the crab rolls.

We loved it so much that we requested our guide the next day to have lunch at the same place. To our surprise, the one we went to on our own is not the original. That explains why it was all tourists in the shop. The original store should be packed with Vietnamese with some tourists.

We went all the way up to the third floor for a table at the original shop, Dac Kim. Dac Kim had no one soliciting for business outside the shop as they were full.

Fake Bun Cha
This is the shop front of the NOT original bun cha stall just right across the street.
Original Bun Cha Hanoi
This is the original bun cha stall and its name is Dac Kim.

Don’t you think their signboards are so similar especially to those who don’t read Vietnamese?

The Taste Verdict

Bun Cha in Hanoi Old Quarter
The photo on the left is the bowl of bun cha from Dac Kim while the right is from the second shop.

The broth of Dac Kim was a lot tastier and with a lot more pork in it. There were additional herbs in the soup and perhaps they were the source of the nice fragrance. Dac Kim’s broth is slightly more oily, just a tad bit, giving it another reason to taste better.

Bun Cha in Hanoi Old Quarter - Crab Roll
The one of the left is the crab roll of Dac Kim while the one on the left is the other shop.

Although the skin of the crab roll of Dac Kim looked beautifully fried, I preferred the filling of the other shop. There was more crab meat taste than Dac Kim which is more meat base. So I guess it depends on whether you prefer to have more meat or crab in your rolls.

Interestingly, Dac Kim is cheaper and they provided us with an itemised bill which the other didn’t.

If you have tried both let me know what is your verdict!

Note: the banh my (Vietnamese baguette sandwich) next to the original is really yummy too.


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