VnExpress International
The most read Vietnamese newspaper
Contact us |
Follow us on       

The Bun Cha storm has touched down in Singapore

By The New Paper/Yeoh Wee Teck   June 3, 2016 | 08:39 pm PT
Bun Cha frenzy has officially come to Vietnam's neighboring Singapore following the viral instagram post by Anthony Bourdain enjoying this Hanoi street food with Obama in an ordinary eatery in Vietnam, according to the New Paper (TNP).

Last week, social media went crazy when U.S. celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain posted a photo of his dinner with U.S. President Barack Obama, who was touring Hanoi, Vietnam, at the Bun Cha Huong Lien eatery.

They were eating bun cha, a popular Hanoi dish of white rice noodles, herbs and grilled pork, and the picture had a ripple effect - at least for Uncle Ho Tuckshop at 100 Pasir Panjang Road in Singapore.


The "POTUS effect": Barack Obama having a meal of bun cha with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi, in a picture that has gone viral. Photo from Instagram/Anthony Bourdain 

Jackie Ho, a co-owner of the restaurant who is in her late 40s, said they usually sell about 200 bowls of bun cha at $12.90 each day. "Bun cha is in fact our house special and it is popular with customers," she told TNP. 

But since the Obama-Bourdain picture went viral, that number of customers has gone up by "more than 50 per cent." "We even had people calling us to reserve bowls for them, in case we run out by evening," she added.

To the uninitiated, bun cha is not pronounced as it is spelt. Ho said people have been coming in all week and mispronouncing it. "It's boon cha," she said.

Hanoi-born chef Le Van Tuan, Ho's uncle, 38, said bun cha must have a broth that is balanced - sweet, sour and salty. "The herbs are important too. We use the coca leaf and Vietnamese mint that we import," he said. You must also eat it with garlic and pickles in the broth. Note that the broth is not for drinking. It is actually a dipping sauce for the rice noodles. "It's a very famous shop with at least 20 years' history. It only sells bun cha," he said.

Tuan stressed that there is only one version: with pork.

The Obama effect isn't felt by all Vietnamese restaurants though, as bun cha is not as readily available in Singapore. TNP called a few other Vietnamese restaurants and only two sell it. Popular chain Wrap & Roll is one of those.

Jacinta Lee, marketing manager of MSJ Gourmet Group which operates Wrap & Roll, said: "We have not yet seen a rise in orders as people are still wondering exactly what dish it is, as the awareness on Vietnamese cuisine is still quite low."

But that may change soon.

Lee said that from Saturday, they will start serving an Obama set meal ($12.90) consisting of "Bun Cha Hanoi in its original Hanoi presentation with Vietnamese beer."

Enjoy unlimited articles and premium content with only $1.99 Subscribe now
go to top