Bun bo Hue is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup originated from Hue, a former royal city in central Vietnam which served countless royal courts. The city is therefore associated with the cooking style of the former royal courts, being famous for its flavorful and very rick cooking styles. Among noodle lovers, Bun bo Hue is greatly admired for its balance of spicy, salty, and umami flavors.
The dish, containing rice vermicelli and beef, is now considered one of the most popular dishes from Vietnam, and it’s served in many cities including Hanoi. Compared to Pho Bo or Bun Rieu Cua, the noodles are thicker and more cylindrical. Many of our customers on our Hanoi street food tour asked us for a recipe to cook it at home, so you can follow steps below to cook bun bo hue yourself.
Meat & Broth
- 3 lb beef ‘neck’ bones
- 1 lb of boneless beef shank
- 1/3 pineapple
- 6 lemongrass stalks
- ½ yellow onion
- 3 in piece ginger
- 2 tsp of salt
- ½ tbsp of chicken stock powder
- 1 tbsp of rock sugar
- 2 tbsp of cooking oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 lemongrass talk
- 2 shallots
- ½ tbsp of fish sauce
- ½ tbsp of paprika
- ½ tbsp of crushed red pepper
- ½ tbsp of onion powder
- 1 tbsp of dry bun bo hue
Noodles & Garnish
- Thick rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 cilantro bunch
- 6 – 8 limes
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 banana blossom bunch
- In a large stock pot, add the 3lb of beef neck bones and 1lb of beef shank. Par boil for 10 minutes. Drain and wash the bones. Clean the pot. Add the bones back into the pot. Add 28 cups of water into the pot. Turn to medium heat.
- Peel and cut the pineapple into large chunks. Add the pineapple and the ½ onion to the pot. Trim the dead parts of the lemongrass. Finely chop 1 lemongrass stalk, set aside. Bruise the other 5 stalks and tie the lemongrass together. Add the tied stalks to the pot.
- Slice the ginger, smash the pieces, and add to the pot. Add ½ tbsp of chicken stock powder, 2 tsp of salt, and 1 tbsp of rock sugar. Let the broth simmer for 2 ½ hours. Remove the scum every 30 minutes. Finely chop the 2 garlic cloves. Mince the shallots. Finely slice the yellow onion and set aside. Thinly slice the banana blossoms and add to bowl of ice water.
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat with cooking oil. Add the minced shallots and chopped the lemongrass. Sauté for 3 minutes then add the chopped garlic. Sauté for 1 minute then add the ½ tbsp of crushed red pepper flakes, ½ tbsp of paprika, ½ tbsp of onion powder and ½ tbsp of fish sauce. Add 1 tbsp of bun bo hue seasoning powder. If not available, add more paprika and onion powder.
- After 2 ½ hours, remove and discard the lemongrass stalks, pineapple, onion, and ginger from the broth. Remove the beef shank and rinse under cold water. Refrigerate the beef for about 30 minutes before slicing. Remove from the fridge and slice into ½-inch thinness.
- Add the sauteed sauce. Let stew for 5 minutes. Taste the broth. If it’s not seasoned enough to your taste, then add 1 tbsp of fish sauce each time until desired taste.
- Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Add fish sauce as desired. Cook the rice noodles and drain.
- Add noodles, meat, garnishes, broth, and beef bones in to bowls. Serve with veggie plated and lime.