In 2016 during his historic diplomatic visit to Vietnam, then US President Barack Obama was treated to dinner by chef and travel writer Anthony Bourdain. Two years later, we follow in his footsteps and visit Bun Cha Huong Lien, the now-famous restaurant, and order the "Combo Obama".
Bún chả is a northern Vietnamese dish (a Hanoi specialty) consisting of grilled pork in a soup served with vermicelli noodles and fresh herbs. When you sit down to eat, the pork, noodles, and herbs are all served separately, and you mix them together in your bowl to create a delicious noodle soup.
We had lunch at Bun Cha Huong Lien, a crowded three-story restaurant in Hanoi's Old Quarter where Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain dined together. Now, the menu that the two men ordered is served as the "Combo Obama": a serving of bún chả, a fried seafood roll, and a cold bottle of Hanoi Beer.
It was lunchtime, and the restaurant was so busy. We had been walking all day and were starving! Stepping into the narrow and crowded restaurant, we were led up to the second floor to the only free table available. Service was fast! We ordered two "combos Obama", and soon we were about to learn just why the restaurant is so popular! The meal was filling and delicious!
There are big framed pictures of Mr. Obama eating at the restaurant hanging on every wall, and the table, chairs, dining set, and silverware that he used are kept safe behind a glass display case!
The restaurant is nothing fancy - plastic stools and metal tables, and the price hasn't gone up since the restaurant became the most popular shop in the city. The whole meal, including bún chả, seafood roll, and a bottle of Hanoi beer, cost only 85,000 dong (about $6).
The shop is just a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake area, and it's easy to find.
Address: 24 Lê Văn Hưu, Phan Chu Trinh, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội
Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bunchahuonglienobama/