Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for numerous delicious noodle dishes. Among the many different types of noodle soups, Bun Thang stands out as a totally unique dish made with Chicken, Pork, and Egg. It is a significant culinary representative of Hanoi and plays a huge role in Vietnamese people’s lives and culture. The word Bun means rice vermicelli and the word Thang is diverted from the Chinese herbal medicine called thang thuốc. That is because Bun Thang consists of several small amounts of different ingredients, same as the Chinese herbal medicines.
History of Bun Thang
There is an interesting story about the origin of Bun Thang. During Tet, which is the Vietnamese New Year holiday, Vietnamese people often gather with their family members and make tons of good food. It is a form of ritual worship, a way to express their respects and farewell blessings to their deceased ancestors’ spirits that visit them during the holiday. During the first three days of the new year, they often constantly make new dishes to honor the deceased. Then on the fourth day, all the remaining food is assembled to make Bun Thang and that is how the masterpiece food creation came into life.
Today, instead of spending hours making the dish, people often have it outside, in some specialized restaurants. That is why the signature Tet dish- Bun Thang is now available every day of the year, not just during the holidays. In the past, the soup took so long to make, but the preparation process has been simplified to make things easier. Now, much fewer ingredients are used and the cooking process is much faster than it used to be.
Bun Thang is a staple dish of Hanoi, a great representative of Hanoi unique cuisine.
One of its key ingredients is chicken. The chicken needs to be old enough in order for the meat to have the perfect texture. If the chicken is too young or too old, the dish will lose its perfectly balanced taste and interesting texture. Thus, choosing the chicken is top priority in the preparing process.
The delicate soup is made from several nice ingredients like dried shrimps, salt, fish sauce, onions, eggs, herbs, and others.
The dish is often served with many nice toppings in beautifully mixed colors – light green Vietnamese sausages, yellow of the eggs, white from the shredded chicken, black of the Chinese mushroom, orange of dried shrimps, brown of dry pickled radish, and green of roughly chopped herbs. A true feast for the eyes!
How is it made?
A good broth is made from simmered chicken, shrimps, ginger, mushrooms, onion, and other ingredients.The key to making good Bun Thang lies in its broth. The broth is constantly skimmed by the chef and clear hot broth is stewed from dried shrimps and chicken bones. When broth is nicely cooked, it should be very clear and with a nice aroma. The taste is a bit sweet because of the dried shrimps and mushrooms.
Shrimp paste is also added to further enhance the taste of the broth. It is one of the secrets for making a good broth. Sounds strange, right? Shrimp paste has long got a reputation for its bad smell. However, when the shrimp paste is added into the boiling broth, its smell disappears. And actually, it is the ultimate weapon that differentiates Bun Thang to any other noodle dishes.
Regarding the toppings, dried shrimps need to be seasoned with our traditional fish sauce. Pork sausages are cut into smaller strips. The bowl is then filled with rice noodles together with the shredded chicken, vegetables and other toppings, waiting for the broth to be poured into.
Where to Eat Bun Thang?
Top places to eat Bun Thang include:
- Bun Thang Mrs.Duc at 48 Cau Go Street,
- Bun Thang Ngoc Tuyen at 56 Dao Tan Street,
- and Bun Thang Thuan Ly at 33 Hang Hom Street.
- Others include 48 Cau Go Street,
- Bun Thang Tu Lun: 5 Hang Trong Street,
- Bun Thang Gia Ngu: 13 Gia Ngu Street,
- and Bun Thang Hang Hanh: 29 Hang Hanh Street.
One bowl of Bun Thang costs between thirty-five and forty VND, which is about $1.5 – $1.75.
No matter which place you choose, you are guaranteed to enjoy the distinct taste. However, different chefs have different approaches when it comes to making the broth. So every time you come to a new eatery, it will be different from the previous ones. And believe me, they will never fail to surprise you. Therefore, I would recommend you to try more than one places to experience and find the best taste for your style.
You might also like
More from Where To Eat!
The capital of Vietnam – Hanoi is full of great places where you can not only visit the historical heritage …