Header image courtesy of Marco Rosales (via Shutterstock)
With the weather as blisteringly hot as we still have it in Hong Kong, there is no better way to cool off than with a bowl of light and refreshing bún chả (a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodle). Bún chả comes from Hànội, the capital of Vietnam located in the northern part of the country. “Bún” stands for rice vermicelli while “chả” denotes pork, and this dish is traditionally served with rice vermicelli, grilled pork patties, fatty cuts of pork, and a side of sweet and sour dipping sauce usually made up of fish sauce, vinegar, seasonings, and other ingredients that differ from place to place.
However, there are more and more places now serving bún chả with different types of meats instead of pork, ranging from beef all the way to vegetarian options such as tofu. This dish is most popular amongst Vietnamese locals during breakfast and lunch hours, as its light, sweet, and savoury notes can easily satisfy on a hot, humid day. For a taste of this beloved noodle dish, here are some of the best restaurants in Hong Kong that serve bún chả!
Formally known as Nha Trang, this rebranded Vietnamese joint boasts several locations all over Hong Kong—just like its sister restaurant, Nha Trang. BÊP focuses on traditional Vietnamese dishes, set in a welcoming and contemporary atmosphere with street-café-inspired interiors. In regards to bún chả, they have three options of thought-out combinations, which will satisfy anyone’s taste buds. However, you must settle for their classic bún chả cá ($80), which has Hanoi-style fish cakes, fresh dill, and shallots, with vermicelli noodles and a vegetable base.
Brought to you by Black Sheep Restaurants, Chôm Chôm is a lively neighbourhood hangout on the slopes of Soho—you simply cannot miss it, as there are usually crowds of revellers milling about. Approaching the establishment, you will instantly be transported to the busy streets of Hànội or Hồ Chí Minh City. From modern twists on classic dishes to refreshing salads and rolls, Chôm Chôm has you covered with both light and heavy bites, as well as large sharing dishes for so you and your friends can try a taste of everything! Chôm Chôm’s bún chả Hànội ($188) is one of its most popular dishes, made as authentic as possible with succulent grilled pork belly and patties, vermicelli, pickles, and finished off with fresh Vietnamese herbs, chilli, and garlic.
Chôm Chôm, 58 Peel Street, Central | (+852) 2810 0850
Spanning across the Western District, Bún Chả Vietnamese Café is a rustic and snug eatery that specialises in simple Vietnamese foods. The atmosphere of all three locations is jovial; with friendly staff, affordable prices, and a cosy setting, this place is definitely an ideal place to nosh on delicious bún chả. Besides a traditional bún chả Hànội ($85) option with grilled pork patties, they also offer varieties such as bún thịt nướng ($75) with lemongrass pork belly, bún thịt cổ ($85) with lemongrass pork neck, and bún chả nêm ($90) with deep-fried spring rolls.
Blink and you’ll miss it—this little hole-in-the-wall joint (stuck in the aesthetics of the 1950s with its fluorescent lights and retro linoleum floors) may not be a feast for the eyes, but their homestyle approach is precisely what makes their food outstanding. Perfume River highlights Vietnam’s flavourful origins through its slew of authentic dishes, and its extensive menu has a whole page just dedicated to phở and other soup noodles! Whether you’re on board for their traditional bún chả ($90) with barbecued pork or an indulgent bún chả giò ($75) with spring rolls, the dishes here are made with passion and the result of that is pure heaven in a bowl.
Perfume River Vietnamese Restaurant, 89 Percival Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2576 2240
Newly-opened Potàuphở may not boast a boundless menu of delicacies like other Vietnamese restaurants in town do, but what it does have on offer, it has perfected to a tee. In a modern setting of muted aqua walls and marbled sharing tables, enjoy a casual meal with friends and family over plates of soup noodles, fried spring rolls, Vietnamese sandwiches, and plenty of traditional teas and coffees for the perfect lunch or dinner gathering. From their beautifully illustrated menu, choose the bún chả ($98) with homemade pork patties, grilled pork belly, and fresh herbs.
Potàuphở, G/F, 35 Yik Yam Street, Happy Valley | (+852) 5687 5077
Le Viet is not your average Vietnamese restaurant; in fact, it serves a wide array of different Vietnamese dishes with Western and Hong Kong influences, and while not completely authentic, they are still very much delicious. They have an exceptional selection of different bún combinations that will make you eager to order more than just one. While Le Viet does not serve the most traditional form of bún chả with grilled pork patties, they do specialise in a bún chả giò with chả lụa ($64) of deep-fried spring rolls and Vietnamese sausage, and a bún thịt cổ ($66) with grilled pork neck.