Thursday, May 28, 2020

Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatballs

Introducing Bun Cha, the famous caramelised red meat meatballs from the streets of Hanoi. Traditional Vietnamese meals – made at home!

This is an easy Vietnamese recipe that anybody could make that’s recent and filled with flavour. Load it up together with your vegetables of choice!

Bun Cha – common Vietnamese road food!

Any self respecting foodie visiting a brand new nation might be armed with a checklist of “Must Try Foods!!“. And for friends of Vietnam, Bun Cha must be proper up there, alongside Pho, fresh rice paper rolls, and Banh Mi, to title in elementary terms a number of favourites.
During the RecipeTin Family foodie ride to Vietnam in elementary terms a number of months ago, it was one in every of the primary meals we hunted down. A top-priority!
These are pictures of a Bun Cha speciality location in Hanoi that we visited. The Bun Cha was as huge as we expected, and I’m blissful to document the stools held up for the entire meal. (Flimsy plastic stools are the norm everywhere, and we have been heavily involved each time we planted our butts down on them)
Bun Cha in Hanoi Vietnam, a common Vietnamese food

What is Bun Cha?

Bun Cha is a common Vietnamese red meat dish that’s a speciality of Hanoi, the capital metropolis of Vietnam. Seasoned red meat patties (I name them squished meatballs) and caramelised red meat stomach slices are served in a broth alongside rice noodles, recent vegetables and herbs.
How to devour Bun Cha – The concept is to make use of the broth for dunking the noodles, vegetables and herbs. So you dunk, slurp noodles, chew into juicy pork, attempt to cram in in elementary terms a number of sprigs of herbs – and that second whilst you succeed, whilst you get a mouthful with a little bit of everything…
THAT my friends, is a big, fats mouthful that epitomises all that's huge about Vietnamese food. That suited stability of fresh, savoury, sweet, herb, citrus, tender noodles, and that juicy caramelised pork….. YES!!!
Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatball patties in a black skillet, recent off the stove

About this Bun Cha recipe

This Bun Cha recipe I’m sharing in the present day is a easy residence model that’s a type additional acquainted to these of us backyard of Vietnam. On level with flavour, but presented differently.
To make this a easy dinner recipe, I’ve skipped the red meat stomach and made noodle bowls with the sauce for spooning over, relatively than serving it “soup” style. This Noodle Bowl method of serving Vietnamese meals is increasingly conventional proper the following in Sydney, especially with the work lunch crowd.
Overhead photograph of Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatballs in a bowl with noodles, capable to be eaten

How to make Vietnamese Meatballs

You’ll love how you won’t must take a ride to an Asian shop for this! You’ll also love how flexible this recipe in actual fact is.
The Vietnamese (squished) meatballs are simply made with pork, garlic, sugar, fish sauce*, salt, pepper and scallions/green onions. Fish sauce is the important thing seasoning here, and the contact of sugar that makes the floor superbly caramelised.
The Vietnamese Sauce is a model of Nuoc Cham, a model of which is served with “everything” in Vietnamese delicacies (and that’s no exaggeration).
The sauce for Bun Cha is made with fish sauce*, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic and chilli (hot or no longer hot, and even skip it). It’s diluted with water to make it additional like a soup broth. In a nod to the genuine method Bun Cha is served, the concept with this recipe is to use lots of sauce. You need it, to slurp up the noodles!
* I recognise there are folks who aren’t a fan of fish sauce. But fish sauce is as Vietnamese as Banh Mi, so I in actual fact do urge you to make use of it in the event you happen to can. This recipe is never “fishy” tasting like some Vietnamese foods. It’s in elementary terms a savoury seasoning that has additional depth of flavour than soy sauce.
How to make Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatballs

Essential Sides

To entire the bowl, these Vietnamese Meatballs are served common Bun Cha type with noodles, recent vegetables and herbs.
The noodles are rice vermicelli noodles, discovered “everywhere” these days in Australia. Simply soak in boiling water for a pair of minutes, then drain.
Fresh vegetables and herbs are an primary side of Vietnamese food, and you’ll get huge bowls served alongside virtually each meal. Bean sprouts, mint and coriander/cilantro are in all probability essentially the foremost common, as properly as pickled vegetables.
But here is the type of recipe that’s terrifically flexible which will work properly with many sorts of vegetables. Shredded cabbage or lettuce, or different leafy greens. Finely sliced cucumber, inexperienced beans, red radish, cherry tomatoes, even asparagus. Most recent vegetables will work huge in this!
In today’s recipe, I’ve also supplied a quick Asian pickled vegetables recipe which is higher to serve with this Bun Cha recipe. But pickling is optional.
Nuoc Cham and Pickled Vegetables
The size of the list of ingredients is in actual fact fairly deceptive because there’s a handful of repeat ingredients. So don’t be grew to become off simply simply due to the fact this isn’t a 5 component recipe. 🙂
It’s price it, I promise. If you're keen on Vietnamese meals (and I don’t recognise anybody who doesn’t!), this one will in actual fact hit the spot! – Nagi x

Get your Vietnamese fix!

  • Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
  • Lemongrass Chicken – one in every of my favorite issues to grill!
  • Vietnamese Caramel Pork – one other iconic Vietnamese food! Also see the Chicken version.
  • Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Bowls – the tremendous speedy model of the above
  • Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Close up of Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatballs

Bun Cha – Vietnamese Meatballs
Watch How To Make It

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Overhead photograph of Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatballs noodle bowls, capable to be eaten

Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatballs

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Recipe video above. Everything you recognise and love about Vietnamese meals - fresh, wholesome and filled with flavour! Bun Cha in Vietnam is served somewhat differently (read in post), but proper the following I've made noodle bowls which are additional acquainted to these backyard of Vietnam. See Notes for what this tastes like!



  • 250 - 300 g/8 - 10 oz pork mince (ground pork)(Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (Note 2)
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped inexperienced onions / scallions
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • Pinch of white pepper and salt
  • 2 tsp lemongrass paste or recent finely chopped , optionally available (Note 4)
  • 1.5 tbsp oil , for cooking


  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (Note 2)
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/3 cup (85 ml) water
  • 1 birds eye chilli , seeded and finely chopped (Note 3)
  • 3 cloves garlic , finely chopped


  • 100 g / 3.5 oz vermicelli noodles , dried
  • Big handful beansprouts
  • Few lettuce leaves , folded or shredded
  • Julienned carrot and white radish (daikon), optionally available speedy pickle (Note 5)
  • Handful of coriander/cilantro sprigs , mint
  • Sliced red chilli , lime wedges (optional)


  • Sauce: Mix ingredients. Set apart 10 minutes+.
  • Noodles: Pour over boiling water and soak per packet directions. Drain, set aside.


  • Mix all ingredients besides oil till combined.
  • Shape into 6 mini hamburger patties together with your hands.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium excessive heat. Add patties and prepare dinner for 2 1/2 minutes or till golden. Flip, prepare dinner 2 minutes then remove.


  • Place noodles in bowl. Top with a handful of beansprouts, wedge in lettuce, carrots and radish in.
  • Place meatballs on top, higher with coriander and mint.
  • Spoon over a beneficiant quantity of Sauce (it's supposed to be like a soup broth), devour and be happy!

 Recipe Notes:

1. Pork: Can use hen or turkey. Fattier the higher - juicier!
2. Nuoc Cham: This sauce isn't as robust / fishy as others you might have tried. It's supposed to be used virtually like a soup broth. Adapt this on your type via way of adjusting the quantities. You maybe won't use all this sauce - but I do no longer desire you to run out!
3. Chilli: Birds eye chillies are small red chillies which might be fairly spicy. To make it much less spicy, use huge red chillies as an alternative (which aren't as hot) or skip it.
4. Lemongrass will provides this an additional Vietnamese flavour that westerners are acquainted with. But no longer all Vietnamese recipes have lemongrass in it - and if I protected it in everything, then they could all type the same! Traditional Bun Cha doesn't have it in it, and it is in actual fact tasty without. But it is an optionally available extra!
5. Serving sides: Traditional Vietnamese meals is served with a lot of recent sides. Bean sprouts and herbs comparable to mint and coriander/cilantro are in all probability essentially the foremost common, but in addition pickles. You're supposed to pile them on higher of no matter your consuming and devour it together.
There's a lot of options here, so sub ingredients as desired! Shredded cabbage or different leafy greens, cucumber and even finely sliced asparagus and inexperienced beans could be ideal. I'd even throw in some cherry tomatoes!
Lettuce - if utilizing smooth lettuce (like I've used), tear then fold. If utilizing crisp lettuce (eg iceberg), finely slice. 
6. Quick Asian Pickled Vegetables: 1 cup julienned carrot (1 medium) 1 loosely packed cup julienned white radish / daikon 1 cup (250 ml) warm tap water 1/3 cup white sugar 1 tbsp salt 1/2 cup (125 ml)rice wine vinegar Directions: Combine sugar, salt, vinegar and water. Stir till sugar and salt are dissolved. Add vegetables and permit stand for no less than 1 hour to pickle. Drain.

7. What this tastes like: The red meat is savoury with a contact of sweet, and caramelised at the outside. The sauce isn't that robust (supposed to make use of alot) - sweet, balanced with slight tang and savoury. Not that spicy simply due to the fact there also can additionally just be in elementary terms one small chilli unfold throughout virtually 1 cup of liquid. If concerned, use a huge red chilli (not as spicy) or skip it altogether. Though fish sauce is utilized in abundance proper the following (as with most Vietnamese recipes!) it doesn't type fishy. 

8. Adapted from in elementary terms a number of Vietnamese cookbooks, including My Vietnamese Kitchen by Uyen Luu and Hanoi Street Food by Luk This and Tom Vandenberghe.

9. Nutrition is for meatballs and sauce only, assuming all sauce is consumed. 


Calories: 540kcal (27%)Carbohydrates: 27g (9%)Protein: 23g (46%)Fat: 37g (57%)Saturated Fat: 10g (63%)Cholesterol: 90mg (30%)Sodium: 2903mg (126%)Potassium: 526mg (15%)Sugar: 24g (27%)Vitamin A: 165IU (3%)Vitamin C: 10.4mg (13%)Calcium: 49mg (5%)Iron: 1.6mg (9%)
Bun Cha - Vietnamese Meatballs
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