I’m just rolling out of bed midmorning after a few too many beers the night before, and I’m HUNGRY! I need something that will wake me up, fill my stomach and get me on track for the day. I’m craving… a bowl of fish-cake noodle soup called bún chả cá. What?!

Bun Cha Ca in Da Nang

Bún chả cá is one amazing dish. It’s on that fabled list of Da Nang food that, as Vietnamese people say, “cannot skip”. It’s that good! So what is it? It’s a noodle soup made with different kinds of fish cakes. Think of it as hot dog made out of fish. Of course, noodles and fish hot dog sounds pretty plain. But add in some tomato, pineapple, cabbage & bamboo, cook it for a couple hours and you’ve got one killer broth.

How to Eat It

Like many Vietnamese dishes, bún chả cá requires a bit of prep between delivery to your table and consumption. I like to squeeze a bit of lime into the bowl and toss in a bunch of the fresh veggies that always get served alongside. I also like to put a small dollop (and I mean REAL small) of the purple shrimp paste called mắm ruốc and a generous scoop of chili. At many restaurants, they will also have a small jar of pickled carrots and purple onions. A lot of people like to toss some of that in as well. I usually abstain, but that’s just me. As for utensils, I go for the spoon-and-chopsticks dual wield attack, which I find to be very effective in getting equal amounts of goodies and broth into my mouth.

bun cha ca in da nang, bún chả cá

Where to get Bun Cha Ca in Da Nang

If you wanna talk about bun cha ca in Da Nang, there’s two places that are more or less the standard. I’m not saying they’re the best, but they are the measure against which other bun cha ca in Da Nang will always be judged. The first and probably more famous shop is 109 Nguyễn Chí Thanh. It’s got a bold fish flavor, with a broth that’s not too sweet or salty. The second, and my personal favorite, is Bà Phiến at 63 Lê Hồng Phong. The broth here is definitely sweeter than at 109. Some “purists” may even say it’s too sweet, but I like it, and a lot of other people do too.

What’s your favorite place for bun cha ca in Da Nang? Let me know in the comments!

Wanna try some more awesome Da Nang food? Come on my food tour!


Shaun grew up in Southern California eating In & Out Burger and Pedro's tacos. In 2009, he moved to Da Nang and has been digging into the local food ever since. He pays his rent by eating and drinking at Da Nang Food Tour.