Bun Cha – Vietnamese Meatballs With Vermicelli Noodles

By | April 4, 2022

Bun Cha is an exquisite Vietnamese dish thought to originate in Hanoi, this article includes everything you should know about this dish, and how to make the Bun Cha recipe at home.

1. What Is Bun Cha?

A tasty bowl of Bun Cha is a delightful blend of three components: the rice vermicelli (known as Bun), the Vietnamese meatballs (known as Cha), and most importantly, the sweet-sour dipping sauce.

The rice vermicelli (Bun) is made from rice flour, but they are thinner than what you find in Pho. If you have tried Bun Thit Nuong or Bun Rieu, you may already know this type of vermicelli noodles.

Vietnamese meatballs are minced pork marinated in pepper, salt, fish sauce, and vegetable oil before grilling for a delicious aroma and taste.

Interestingly, the highlight of Bun Cha lies in the dipping sauce. The sauce itself can awaken all your tastebuds with a perfect balance of fish sauce, lemon, chili, and sugar. Specifically, it tastes salty, spicy, sweet, and sour simultaneously. Bun Cha is also served with a basket of fresh herbs, including lettuce, cilantro, coriander, Thai basil, and sawtooth leaf.

Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatballs With Vermicelli Noodles

2. How To Make Authentic Bun Cha At Home


To make the meatballs

  • 5 lb minced pork
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 5 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 6 – 8 shallots

To make the dipping sauce

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice/vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 175ml water
  • Chili
  • Thinly sliced papaya and carrot (optional)


  • Rice vermicelli
  • Fresh herbs (lettuce, cilantro, Thai basil, etc.)


Step 1: Making the caramel sauce

Add 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar into a small saucepan. Let the mixture boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer. Once the sauce has a caramel color, turn off the heat, add 0.5 tablespoons of water before removing the saucepan from the stove.

Step 2: Marinating the minced pork

To make the pork marinade, add all the ingredients and caramel sauce into one bowl. Mix well and marinate it for at least 30 minutes or preferably 1 -2 hours in the refrigerator.

Step 3: Grilling the meatballs

Roll the marinated pork into small meatballs. It is advised to heat the meatballs on a charcoal grill for an authentic taste. Make sure you grill them in a single layer and flip well to grill evenly. Alternatively, you can bake them in the oven for about 10 minutes if you want less hassle.

Step 4: Making the dipping sauce

Whisk lime juice, sugar, and water first. Then, add the fish sauce to the mixture gradually. Adjust to fit your taste, and then add garlic, carrots, and papaya if you want. 

You should soak the garlic in a mixture of sugar and vinegar first so that the garlic can float on the surface of the sauce instead of sinking to the bottom. It is for visual appeal only.

Serving Bun Cha

Now it is almost done. All you have to do is put some meatballs into the dipping sauce and serve it with vermicelli noodles and a basket of vegetables and herbs.

Bun Cha is one of the characteristics dishes of Hanoi. Do not miss out on this delicious dish if you want to have a Hanoi street food tour!

Category: Vietnamese Recipes


Currently, I'm the founder and responsible for the content on Explore One Vietnam travel website. After many trips, I have accumulated a lot of experience in traveling to Vietnam, so I want to share these things with international tourists.

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