Introducing Bun Cha, the famous caramelized pork meatballs from the streets of Hanoi. Traditional Vietnamese food – made at home!

This is an easy Vietnamese recipe that anyone can make that’s fresh and full of flavor. Load it up with your vegetables of choice!

Bun Cha features flavorful and juicy pork meatballs, vermicelli noodles, plenty of refreshing herbs, and traditional lime fish sauce dipping. It is the dish all Hanoians, as well as many Northerners, hold dear in their hearts.

Bun Cha Recipe

Seasonings, such as sliced chili, chopped garlic, lettuce leaves, and fresh herbs are served with it. Let’s see how you can make this recipe. 

Quick Stats:

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes 
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes 
  • Servings: 4 serves


For Meatballs: 

  • 250 – 300 g/8 – 10 oz chicken mince 
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green onions/scallions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of white pepper and salt
  • 2 tsp lemongrass paste or fresh finely chopped, optional
  • 1.5 tbsp oil, for cooking

For Nuoc Cham – the traditional dressing:

  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ⅓ cup (85 ml) water
  • 1 birds eye chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

For Serving:  

  • 300 g (11 oz) dried vermicelli noodles, cooked according to packet instructions 
  • iceberg lettuce or other salad leaves, roughly torn
  • 1–2 small carrots, finely shredded
  • cucumber, sliced into thin batons
  • bean sprouts (optional)
  • mint
  • coriander (cilantro)
  • Thai basil
  • perilla leaves

Method to Prepare:

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the minced pork, fish sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, honey, spring onions, coriander (cilantro), and garlic.
  • Set the mixture aside for 30-60 minutes in the fridge to let the flavors develop and to allow the mixture to firm.
  • Form the pork mixture into small meatballs about the size of a golf ball, and then flatten them slightly.
  • Heat a large frying pan with some vegetable oil and cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized.
  • Now, let’s make Nuoc Cham. 
  • In a medium bowl, dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice.
  • Add the fish sauce, water, garlic, and chili (if using), and mix until well-combined.
  • Set the sauce aside for about 10-15 minutes before tasting.
  • You may need to add a bit more lemon juice, fish sauce, or even water, to get a good balance of sweet, sour, and salty.
  • Serving Bun Cha in the traditional way is essential to enjoy it more. 
  • Place some salad and vegetables on the bottom of each bowl or plate.
  • Place a good handful of noodles on top of the salad.
  • Top with however many meatballs you like.
  • Garnish with some herbs, roughly torn.
  • Generously drizzle some Vietnamese dipping sauce over the noodles and meatballs, and use chopsticks to mix everything together.
  • Provide each person with a bowl of dipping sauce to drizzle over the noodles and also to dip the meatballs into. 

Recipe Notes:

  • Bun Cha Hanoi is often on the sweet side a little bit, so adjust seasonings to your liking.
  • The Vietnamese dipping sauce (Nuoc Cham) keeps well in the fridge in a sealed jar for several weeks. I often double or triple the recipe so that I always have a bottle handy in the fridge.
  • If you are feeding young children, omit the chillies from the sauce and either serve chopped chillies or pickled chillies on the side.

Read More:- Hunan Chicken – Delicious Weekday Recipe

Final Words:

A tasty recipe for Bun Cha – grilled Vietnamese meatballs served with a Vietnamese noodle salad with fresh herbs and citrus dipping sauce (Nuoc Cham). A healthy and delicious dish, perfect for lunch or dinner.