U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with staff as he leaves after having a dinner of bun cha at the Bún chả hương Liên restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam May 23, 2016. 

After a long Monday of shaking hands and brokering military weapons sales in Hanoi, President Barack Obama must have worked up an appetite.

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So writer và chef Anthony Bourdain escorted the president khổng lồ a little diner for some beer và supper.


The other diners at called Bún Chả hương Liên seem nonplussed by the leader of the miễn phí world eating noodles in their midst. They were there for one reason above all: Bún chả.

The traditional Vietnamese dish consists of grilled pork (chả) served in a broth or dipping sauce, along with rice noodles (bún) và fresh herbs.

“Bún chả is one of the oldest favorites of north Vietnam cuisine,” says Michael Chuong, the chef at Elements, an Asian-fusion restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “They grill pork in two styles,” he says. There's grilled fatty pork, & a preparation that's more lượt thích barbecued pulled pork. Chuong says there’s a version of bún chả that’s more popular in southern Vietnam called bún làm thịt nướng, which features less broth.


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A traditional Bún chả meal served in Hanoi, Vietnam usually consists of grilled pork served in a broth or dipping sauce, along with rice noodles and fresh herbs.

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Credit:

Courtesy Bún chả hương thơm Liên.


Chuong’s been busy preparing bún chả at Elements this week. He says it's been selling like crazy ever since the photos of Obama & Bourdain hit social media.

In Vietnam, people enjoy bún chả for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s a timeless recipe. Chef Chuong says that food has allowed him lớn hold onto his culture. He grew up in southern Vietnam, but was forced to lớn flee at the age of 15 lớn escape the war.

"I really enjoy bring Western và Southeast Asian cultures together,” Chuong says. Vietnam already had a tradition of that when he was growing up, especially in the kitchen: "We have this Vietnamese-French fusion style that goes back centuries."

Like Chuong’s fusion cuisine, Obama’s visit to Vietnam is also aimed at linking cultures. On his first presidential visit khổng lồ the country this week, Obama announced the lifting of a 50-year embargo on US military arms sales to Vietnam. While that will boost the economic và security relationship between the erstwhile enemies, some rights workers fear that the over of the embargo will enable human rights abuses in Vietnam. The Obama administration denies that. On Tuesday the president met with Vietnamese activists lớn hear their concerns — and he chastised the government when some activists were barred from attending.

If the president’s tour inspires you lớn give Vietnamese food a try, Chuong points out that there’s a lot more than bún on the menu. His personal favorites include pungent curried crabs & aromatic braised five-spice pork shank.