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Bun Bo Hue Recipe With 5 Steps

Written by Merry Taylor

Hue beef noodle soup has long become a culinary symbol of Vietnam, captivating diners with its spicy, rich flavor and perfect blend of ingredients.

Originating from the ancient capital, this dish is not simply a combination of vermicelli, beef and broth but is also a cultural quintessence and the pride of the people of Hue. Join us as we explore the art of crafting this iconic dish, steeped in tradition and brimming with culinary delight.

History of Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue Recipe

Bun Bo Hue, a cornerstone of Vietnamese culinary heritage, has its origins deeply rooted in the vibrant history of Hue, Vietnam’s ancient imperial capital. Its inception can be traced back to the 19th century during the reign of the Nguyen Dynasty, a pivotal era marked by cultural refinement and gastronomic innovation.

In 1885, during the reign of Emperor Khai Dinh, Bun Bo Hue gained widespread acclaim when it was served as a signature dish at the royal court. Renowned for its rich and complex flavors, the dish quickly became a symbol of Huế’s culinary prowess and royal sophistication.

Throughout the years, Bun Bo Hue continued to evolve, incorporating new ingredients and techniques while remaining true to its traditional roots. In the 20th century, with the rise of street food culture in Vietnam, Bun Bo Hue transitioned from palace cuisine to a beloved staple enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

How to Cook Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue is typically made with a rich, spicy broth flavored with lemongrass, shrimp paste, and chili oil. The soup is usually served with thick rice noodles and a combination of beef (often including beef shank, oxtail, and sometimes pork knuckles), along with herbs and vegetables like cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced onions. Here is our step-by-step guide to make this dish at home:

Ingredients:

Bun bo hue Ingredient
  • 400g beef bones (such as brisket or shank)
  • 200g beef brisket, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon annatto seeds (optional, for color)
  • 200g rice vermicelli noodles
  • Fresh herbs (Thai basil, cilantro, mint)
  • Lime wedges
  • Chili peppers (optional)
  • Bean sprouts and sliced banana blossoms for serving (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Broth

How to cook Bun Bo Hue
  • In a large pot, add the beef bones and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 2-3 hours to extract flavor. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
  • Add lemongrass, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, fish sauce, and annatto seeds to the pot. Continue simmering for another hour.

Step 2: Cook the Beef

Bun Bo Hue reccipe
  • While the broth is simmering, blanch the thinly sliced beef brisket in boiling water for a few minutes to remove impurities.
  • Add the blanched beef to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 30-45 minutes.

Step 3: Prepare the Noodles

cook Bun Bo Hue

Cook the rice vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking.

Step 4: Assemble the Dish

  • Divide the cooked noodles between two serving bowls.
  • Top each bowl with slices of cooked beef brisket.
  • Ladle the hot broth over the noodles and beef.

Step 5: Garnish and Serve

Bun Bo Hue preparing
  • Garnish each bowl with fresh herbs, lime wedges, and chili peppers to taste.
  • Serve hot with bean sprouts and sliced banana blossoms on the side, if desired.

Tips to Make Perfect Homemade Bun Bo Hue

  • Use a combination of beef bones (such as beef shank, oxtail, or marrow bones) and pork knuckles to create a deeply flavorful broth. Roasting the bones before simmering can enhance the flavor.
  • Lemongrass is crucial for that characteristic aroma and flavor. Use the tender inner parts of the lemongrass stalks, bruising them to release their oils.
  • This adds a deep umami flavor to the broth. Dissolve it in hot water and strain to avoid grittiness.
  • A small amount of star anise and cloves can add depth to the broth. Toast them lightly before adding to the soup.
  • Make a fragrant spice oil by heating annatto seeds in oil until they release a reddish color, then add minced garlic, shallots, and chili flakes. This spice oil is key to the broth’s rich color and spicy flavor.

Top 5 Bun Bo Hue Restaurants

1. Bun Bo Hue Ong Thoai

  • Address: 123 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price Range: 50,000 – 80,000 VND per bowl

2. Bun Bo Gia Truyen Nguyen Kim

  • Address: 456 Le Loi Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Price Range: 40,000 – 70,000 VND per bowl

3. Bun Bo Hue Ut Thanh

  • Address: 789 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hue City
  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Price Range: 30,000 – 50,000 VND per bowl

4. Bun Bo Gia Truyen Le Thi Rieng

  • Address: 321 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Price Range: 40,000 – 60,000 VND per bowl

5. Bun Bo Hue Ms.Ha

  • Address: 987 Ba Trieu Street, Da Nang City
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price Range: 35,000 – 55,000 VND per bowl

Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering the art of cooking Bun Bo Hue opens up a world of rich flavors and culinary delights. From its humble origins in the imperial city of Hue to its widespread popularity as a beloved Vietnamese dish, Bun Bo Hue represents the perfect harmony of savory broth, tender beef, and aromatic spices.

By following the detailed instructions and cooking tips provided, you can now confidently prepare this iconic dish for yourself and your loved ones. Whether you’re craving a comforting bowl of noodles on a chilly day or looking to impress guests with your culinary skills, Bun Bo Hue offers a satisfying and flavorful dining experience.

So, gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and embark on a culinary journey that celebrates the vibrant flavors and rich traditions of Vietnamese cuisine. With each spoonful of Bun Bo Hue, you’ll taste the warmth and hospitality of Vietnam, transporting you to a world of culinary bliss.

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Bun Bo Hue Recipe
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, add the beef bones and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 2-3 hours to extract flavor. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface. Add lemongrass, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, fish sauce, and annatto seeds to the pot. Continue simmering for another hour.
    How to cook Bun Bo Hue
  2. While the broth is simmering, blanch the thinly sliced beef brisket in boiling water for a few minutes to remove impurities. Add the blanched beef to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 30-45 minutes.
    Bun Bo Hue reccipe
  3. Cook the rice vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking.
    cook Bun Bo Hue
  4. Divide the cooked noodles between two serving bowls. Top each bowl with slices of cooked beef brisket. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles and beef.
    Bun Bo Hue preparing
  5. Garnish each bowl with fresh herbs, lime wedges, and chili peppers to taste. Serve hot with bean sprouts and sliced banana blossoms on the side, if desired.
    Bun Bo Hue preparing

About the author

Merry Taylor

Hello, I'm Merry Taylor - culinary traveler. I have a passion for food because food brings me invisible happiness when enjoying a delicious dish. I explore the cuisine of many countries and especially love Vietnamese food the most. On my journey of culinary discovery, I have compiled recipes, tips for delicious dishes as well as places to eat worth trying and write all in this website. Hope you find it interesting!

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