BUN BO HUE (Vietnamese: Bún bò Huế [ɓun-ɓɔ-hwe]) or BUN BO (Bún Bò) is a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli (bún) and beef (bò). Huế is a city in central Vietnam associated with the cooking style of the former royal court. The dish is greatly admired for its balance of spicy, sour, salty and sweet flavors and the predominant flavor is that of lemon grass. Compared to PHO (Phở) or BUN RIEU (Bún riêu), the noodles are thicker and more cylindrical.
Bún bò originated in Huế, a former capital of Vietnam. Outside the city of Huế and some parts of Central Vietnam, it is called bún bò Huế to denote its origin. Within Huế and surrounding cities, it is known simply as bún bò. The broth is prepared by simmering beef bones and beef shank with lemongrass and then seasoned with fermented shrimp sauce and sugar for taste. Very spicy chili oil is added later during the cooking process.
Bún bò usually includes thin slices of marinated and boiled beef shank, chunks of oxtail, and pig’s knuckles. It can also include cubes of congealed pig blood, which has a color between dark brown and maroon, and a texture resembling firm tofu.
Bún bò is commonly served with lime wedges, cilantro sprigs, diced green onions, raw sliced onions, chili sauce, thinly sliced banana blossom, red cabbage, mint, basil, perilla, persicaria odorata or Vietnamese coriander (rau răm), saw tooth herb (ngò gai) and sometimes mung bean sprouts. Thinly sliced purple cabbage is acceptable substitute when banana blossoms are not available. Purple cabbage most resembles banana blossom in texture, though not in taste. Fish sauce and shrimp sauce is added to the soup according to taste. Ingredients might be varied by regions due to their availability.
FOR BROTH: (Yield: 10ltrs)
- 6kg beef bone (or half beef, half pork bones)
- 10ltr water
- 10-15 lemon grass stalks
- 2 onions, peeled, halved
- 100gr Rock sugar
- 3 tbsps Huế shrimp paste (or LLK shrimp paste if HUE shrimp paste is not available)
- 3 tbsp Achiote seed oil or more (also called annatto oil)
- 2tsps white peppercorn
- 2kg beef shank, trussed with string
- 2kg pork trotter, boneless, trussed with string
- 100gr (per serving) Thinly sliced Beef shanks (Cooked in broth a bove)
- 100gr (per serving) Thinly sliced boneless-Pork hocks (Cooked in broth a bove)
- 2nos (per serving) Huế sausages (Chả Huế)
- 2nos (per serving) Cooked pork blood cut 3cm x 3cm (optional)
- 150gr Fresh Rice noodle per serving (or Dry rice noodle, cooked as direction on package)
- Thinly sliced onion, sliced scallion, sliced RAU RAM, sliced hot chile
- Fresh herbs: MINT, Vietnamese BASIL, RAU RAM, TIA TO, HUNG LUI, DAP CA, …
- Veggies: BEAN SPROUTS, BANANA BLOSSOM, WATER SPINACH (Rau muống)
- Xả tế (See recipe below)
- Lime wedges, Sliced hot chiles
- Wash the bone: Put the bones into stock pot, add cold water to cover, bring to a boil, drain off the water. Wash the bone under running cold water.
- Put the bones back to the stock pot, Add 10 ltrs cold water along with lemon grass (bruised), onion, white peppercorn, BEEF SHANKS, PORK TROTTERS. Bring to a boil, turn down heat. Remember to check the meat (beef, pork) during cooking, take out when they are cooked, put them in cold water (prevent dry out and dark color), set aside for reserving
- Simmer about 4-6 hrs (or longer to get perfected broth). Add some water (dehydrated during cooking), skimming scum occasionally.
- Discard the solids. Strain the both through muslin cloth. Put the broth back to the pot.
- In a sauce pan: put the shrimp paste along with 1 cup cold water, bring to a boil, about 2,3 minutes, strain through muslin cloth, discard the solid. Put the shrimp paste broth to the BUN BO broth.
- Seasoning with sugar, salt, pepper to taste. Add achoite seed oil to get the color.
- Heat up the BUN BO broth (Simmering), Slice the cooked meat thinly (beef shank, trotters)
- Wash the veggies carefully, thinly slice the banana blossom, cut the water spinach into julienne. Soak them in lime water to prevent them changing color. Drain out, put on a serving plate with sprouts as a condiment.
- Assemble: Blanch the noodle in boiling water then put them to serving bowl. Arrange sliced meat (and cooked pork blood if using – should be blanched in boiling broth first), Huế sausages (unwrapped – they are wrapped and cooked in banana leaves) on top along with sliced onion, scallion, RAU RAM. Ladle the very hot both over. and serve with condiments.
Note: put some fresh herbs, sliced chile, 1 tsp xa te (XẢ TẾ), sprouts, julienne veggies, mix in soup bowl with noodle and enjoy! don’t forget add in some lime juice.
Xa te (Xả tế):
- 200gr finely chopped lemongrass
- 200gr finely chopped hot chile
- 2tbsps cooking oil
- 2 tbsps achiote seed oil.
In sauce pan with medium heat, add 2 tbsps cooking oil, saute lemon grass, chile until fragrant and golden brown, add anatto seed oil, cook a couple minutes to finishing. Keep in jar until using (up to 1-2 weeks or longer in fridge).