If you’re headed to the Tan Son Nhat airport to hop on a domestic flight and you’re feeling an incey wincey bit peckish there’re three options ahead of you.
- Hold out and suffer Vietnam Airlines domestic schedule spam sandwich in a box.
- Or you could stump up between 3 and 4 times the town price for sub-standard crap in
the Airport SkyNet cafe. A 333 beer will set you back around 23,000VD.
It costs 6,000VD at my corner shop.
- Or stop off somewhere en route and outside airport grounds
Bun Cha Van Anh is one of many restaurant options lining the main road to the airport, Truong Son Street. You’ll find it at the corner with Song Day Street. If you’re travelling light, like me, you could even walk to the airport from here. Regular noodlepie readers will know that Bun Cha is a northern dish. There seems to be a proliferation of northern restaurants the closer you get to the airport. I have a feeling it’s something of a Hanoian’s comfort zone away from home.
Within walking distance you’ll find Hanoi style Pho shacks, there’s an interesting looking Chao luon specialist tucked just around the corner and I also spied a Banh cuon hole. But I’ve been meaning to try Van Anh’s Bun Cha for donkeys and I only recently made time to stop off. The sixteen tables and plastic chairs were almost full when I arrived
Van Anh serves Bun cha Hanoi and Bun nem cua (Cha gio). Bun cha is everything you see above sans spring rolls (couple chopped up on your left). Bun nem cua is everything minus the bowl of minced pork and fish sauce directly above. If you’re interested in knowing more – Google noodlepie – we’ve covered this dish three times previously.
The shot above and the one below (in my opinion) are the best photos to grace this blog ever. In the UK there’s a newspaper called The Sun, every day it publishes a saucy pic of a tasty topless dish on Page 3. Noodlepie doesn’t have a Page 3, but if it did, you wouldn’t find anything better looking spread across this blog’s table than that fine looking pair. The Bun cha above is filled with quality meat, not fatty at all, dunked in a corkin’ nuoc mam (fish sauce) and charred faultlessly.
The crab filled Cha gio are better than any I ever had in Hanoi. I felt a bit of hog ordering two, but to be honest I could’ve stuffed a couple more in. Balls out rockin’ topscoff.
The killer condiment is that vat of vinegar and garlic above. A spoon or two of that nectar will have your Bun cha singing soprano with a full backing band as opposed to warbling aimlessly at the rear of the Sunday school choir. There’s also a jar of chilli sauce, nuoc mam and a tub of minced red chilli.
At the rear of this fabulous den are a bunch of chefs pounding meat, rolling rolls and washing herbs. That’s one of the biggest plates of Cha gio you’re ever likely to see and I’ll admit for a few seconds I did consider swiping the lot and making a dash for the airport.
However, I fully intend to make a repeat visit here and thieves probably aren’t tolerated upon a second visit. The barbie is hidden away in a hole in the wall in the middle of the restaurant. It might not look hot in the shot below, but believe me – there’s some fierce heat emanating from that hole.
This is probably the best Bun cha I’ve found in Saigon so far and it’s well
worth the trip out for a fix even if you’re not airport bound. They have better quality meat, better cha gio and a better sauce than the others. Although the shrubbery is lacking. It’s hyper-popular. That little lot, with an iced tea, came to 20,000VD. If you
can’t be arsed heading in an airporterly direction, I suggest you scoff at 20B Tran Cao Van Street instead.