Famous alley shop in Hanoi’s Old Quarter thrives
In an alley 10 minutes from Hoan Kiem Lake, this is a go-to spot for many locals and tourists.
“Before the pandemic, I served dozens of foreigners. Some had to compliment me after their first bite and they invited others to try,” owner Dao Thi Mai Lan said.
The shop located in a small, deep alleyway has been a "living and business area" of about a dozen households, most of which are Lan's siblings. The store next to her also serves spring rolls and beverages to serve diners.
The shop prepares 400 to 500 servings every day. If it is Tet, a holiday or the weekends, they serve only from 10 AM to 3 PM.
At 6 AM, Lan’s family and staff wash and slice the fresh pork, then marinate and shape them into patties.
"In the past, my parents-in-law have been dealing in pork for many years, so they have a secret to choosing good meat. Delicious, fresh and clean meat is what determines the quality of bun cha. As for marinating, I only use simple ingredients like fish sauce, salt, main noodles, and sugar," said Lan.
Around 7 AM, the coal stove turns red, and the two main cooks continuously grill over a hundred racks of sliced pork and patties.
The sliced pork belly and minced pork patties are grilled twice to first par-cook the meat, then to give it some char and a smoky, fatty flavor.