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Vietnamese Hue Spicy Beef Noodle Soup (Bun Bo Hue)

Updated on March 6, 2012
Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese Hue Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)
Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese Hue Spicy Beef Noodle Soup) | Source

Slippery rice noodles topped with rustic beef and pork slices, swim in the spicy broth, Bun Bo Hue is a noodle soup from Central Vietnam (Hue). It could be this bun is the most popular Vietnamese noodle soup after beef pho (Pho Bo).

Some foodie especially non-Vietnamese, refers Bun Bo Hue as "spicy pho" . Bun Bo Hue is not pho. Unlike pho, Bun Bo Hue use round rice noodles (bun) and not banh pho (flat rice noodle); the broth is made of beef and pork bones with a lot of lemongrass, annatto seeds and shrimp paste (mam tom); beef shank, pork leg, pork hock, cha lua (Vietnamese sausage), pork blood are added to the soup. The garnish usually consist of onion, banana blossom, lettuce, bean sprouts, lime/lemon wedges, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander). It's clear that Bun Bo Hue and Pho Bo is totally different.

Here is how to make Hue style beef noodle soup. If you love something new and exotic, this bun is a must to try. The broth is flavored with pungent lemongrass and shrimp paste and colored red by annatto seeds. Its hearty, tasty and beautiful dish. To get more authentic, add pork blood, pig feet, banana blossom and Vietnamese coriander to your Bun Bo Hue.

Pig feet (cooked)
Pig feet (cooked) | Source

What You Need

Serves 6 - 8


4 lbs beef bones (leg bones)

1 lbs pork leg (boneless)

1 1/2 lbs beef shank (boneless)

1 lbs pork hock

2 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

5 quarts water


black pepper

1 tbsp anatto seds

4 tbsp fish sauce

1 oz rock sugar

5 stalks lemongrass, bruised and cut into 2-inch lengths

2 tbsp shrimp sauce (mam tom)

2 lbs dried rice noodle (round rice noodles)

2 tbsp cooking oil


1 onion, thinly sliced

3 spring onions, chopped

3 - 4 tbsp chopped cilantro

limes wedges

4 -5 Thai hot chili, thinly sliced

romaine lettuce leaves

2 - 3 cups bean sprouts

shrimp paste (mam tom)

Bun Bo Hue with pork blood
Bun Bo Hue with pork blood | Source
Bun Bo Hue
Bun Bo Hue | Source

How to Fix

  • Wash and rinse beef leg bones. Then drain. Cut it into 2 to 3-inch pieces.
  • Wash and rinse boneless pork hock. Drain and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.
  • Prepare the round rice noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Then add the rice noodles. Cook in for 10 minutes or until al dente, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain and set aside.
  • Put he beef leg bones in a large pot. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the bones for 3 minutes. Then dump the water and bones into the sink. Clean and scrap the pot from any residue. Rinse the bones under running water.
  • Return the pot onto the stove. Heat it over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoon of cooking oil. Then add onion. Cook for 1 minutes or until fragrant and soft. Throw the annatto seeds in. Add the beef shanks and pork legs. Sear the meat. The stir to combine.
  • Add water, beef leg bones and pork hock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer. Add 1 tbsp salt, lemongrass, rock sugar and fish sauce. Simmer gently for about 1 hour. Skim off any floating scum and foam.
  • Transfer the pork leg and hock to a bowl. Then cover with cold water for about 15 minutes. Then drain the meat. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store it in the fridge.
  • Simmer the broth for 1 more hour. Remove the beef shank and submerge it into a cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and store in the fridge.
  • Strain the broth and discard any solids. Skim the fat from the top of the broth.
  • Add shrimp paste into the broth. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the flavor with additional salt, black pepper, fish sauce or sugar.
  • Cut the pork and beef legs across the grain thinly.
  • Divide noodles into several portion and place them in soup bowls. Top each bowl of noodles with beef, pork, onion, coriander and spring onions. Pour hot boiling broth to cover rice noodles. Enjoy it with some garnish.

Bun Bo Hue


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    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 6 years ago from USA

      @urmilashukla23: thanks

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 6 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      This recipe looks interesting. Thanks for posting it. Voted up!