Bun bo vietnam: Bún Bò Huế Recipe – Spicy Vietnamese Beef & Pork Noodle Soup

Bún Bò Huế Recipe – Spicy Vietnamese Beef & Pork Noodle Soup

Bún bò Huế is a hidden Vietnamese gem that has yet to “make it” in mainstream American cuisine. It’s a rich and spicy soup with deep layers of flavor. This Central Vietnamese soup is paired with tender slices of beef and pork, then topped with lots of fresh herbs.

I consulted my favorite Vietnamese cook–Mom–on how to make bún bò Huế. And to find out subleties that make BBH authentic. I promise you’ll love this version!

Not as popular as phở….yet?

Phở has claimed some serious territory here and has grown popular quickly. According to data from Google, since 2004 compared to March 2021, phở has grown in popularity by 830%, which is an amazing gain.

Comparatively, for the previous 12 months starting March 2021, bún bò Huế is much less popular at a measly 1.2% of the searches for phở. But why isn’t phở’s equally spicy and attractive cousin allowed to join the party?

It has a lot of familiar and identifiable ingredients–a good step in getting people to eat something new. BBH has a few curveballs that could be holding it back from quicker adoption: shrimp paste and pork blood.

America seems to not be ready for this as a mainstay yet, whereas pho’s concept is easily recognizable and pitched as beef or chicken noodle soup. BUT bún bò Huế is not something you should look over–definitely give it a shot and you may love it even more than phở!

Bún bò Huế history

The city of Huế was put on the map as Vietnam’s capital in 1802 when the Nguyen Dynasty seized control of the country and ruled from this central city.

This city has a reputation for having spicy foods–not something as common with other Vietnamese cuisine. My mom believes there’s no real reason for it other than trying to boost flavor when there weren’t other options. Sounds kinda like what you hot sauce fiends out there do yeah?

Huế also just happens to be the origin of many of my favorite dishes. This city is responsible for bánh nậm, bánh bột lọc, cơm hến (omg), and of course bún bò Huế. Lez get cookin!

There will be blood (congealed and cubed)

An authentic component of BBH is cubes of congealed pork blood. You coagulate it by sitting fresh blood in a container, then boiling with salt to solidify it. It’s kinda dense, slightly chewy and holds its shape when bitten.

On a recent episode of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain dishes on what he needs in a romantic partner: “I would definitely bring a date for [bun bo hue]. Because if she doesn’t like this, there’s no hope of a relationship. If she said, ‘Oh, I don’t know, there’s blood and stuff in there,’ that would be a relationship-ender to me. I’m not kidding.”

If making BBH just for myself, I’d forfeit my chances with Bourdain and skip the pork blood. Shh!

The banana flowers

Another interesting & traditional ingredient in this soup is sliced banana flower (or banana blossoms).

You can find these in Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and other Asian markets. I even found this at a local Persian market! This is a neat addition to this dish but is by no means required. If you can’t find banana flower, move on. You can still make some amazing BBH without it.

Prepare your bowl of lemon water, then remove all the petals. Discard all the little fronds (the mini banana-like fellas). The lemon keeps the petals from browning and removes some of its bitter taste.

Unless it’s a Huế-specific restaurant, shops don’t bother serving this because it’s pricey and troublesome to prepare. If you don’t have access to these blossoms, you can do as the restaurants do and use red cabbage as a stand-in.

The saté / spicy chile condiment

BBH is a spicy soup, so surprise there’s a chile condiment / paste that goes with this pot of soup! And it’s incredibly easy to make, it just has a lot of ingredients.

You literally just rehydrate the dried chiles, mince the fresh aromatics, then throw everything into a pan on medium and stir until it thickens up and intensifies.

It takes a long time but it’s worth it! You can make more than the amount I list in the recipe card below, to store in the fridge for future BBH parties or to give away.

To answer some commonly asked questions…

Whats the difference between bún bò Huế and phở?

So many things! Lets start with the noodles: phở is actually named after the flat noodles in this soup, while bún bò Huế uses round noodles.

The broth in phở is typically all beef, or all chicken, and served with cuts of meat from the same animal, while bún bò Huế typically uses both beef and pork in the same broth. Bún bò Huế broth packs more of a punch with the use of shrimp paste, pork bones, and chile paste.

Phở is not lacking in flavor by any means, as it can be incredibly rich and satisfying in its own way.

Is bún bò Huế Spicy?

Yes, traditionally, and typically. However, the bún bò Huế broth base we make below, I like to make it not spicy at all. In my family and friend groups there’s always a spectrum of spicyness people can handle.

If you leave the broth at 0 spice, and leave the spicy chile paste on the side, each person can make it as spicy as they like.

Does bún bò Huế have pork?

Yes. It’s kinda funny “bún bò Huế” means Huế beef noodle soup, but it can have just as much or even more pork than it does beef.

In our recipe below, we use pork hocks, Huế style pork sausage, and congealed pork blood. Vegetarians beware.

What does bún bò Huế mean?

“Bún bò Huế” literally translates to Huế beef noodle soup.

Where does bún bò Huế come from?

Huế is a city in central Vietnam from where this noodle soup originates.

How do you eat bún bò Huế?

With chopsticks and soup spoon! But really, prepare a bowl with the soup and broth, add as little or as much meat as you’d like, then top it off with the veggies listed below: mint, Thai basil, bean sprouts, and banana flower.

The veggies make it a smidge healthier, and helps cool down the soup too.

The final touch will be how much spicy chile paste you add to the soup, and a spritz of lime if you prefer.

BY: Hungry Huy

Prep: 30 mins

Cook: 3 hrs

Total: 3 hrs 30 mins

SERVINGS: 8 bowls

  • ▢ 2 lb (907. 2 g) beef shank
  • ▢ 2 lb (907.2 g) oxtail
  • ▢ 2 lb (907.2 g) pork hocks
  • ▢ 1 lb (453.6 g) Huế style pork sausage chả Huế, which has garlic and whole peppercorns
  • ▢ 1 lb (453.6 g) block of pork blood
Broth base & Seasoning
  • ▢ water I used an 8 quart pot, and added water to cover the meat.
  • ▢ 24 oz chicken broth
  • ▢ 12 stalks lemongrass leafy tops removed, roots smashed
  • ▢ 2 yellow onions, large halved, to be removed from the broth after fully cooked.
  • ▢ 3 tbsp salt
  • ▢ 2 tbsp sugar
  • ▢ 2 tbsp shrimp paste Lee Kum Kee brand
  • ▢ 3-4 tbsp fish sauce
  • ▢ 2 tsp MSG (monosodium glutamate) if not using oxtail, add 4 teaspoons
Aromatics & Color
  • ▢ 3 tbsp anatto seeds
  • ▢ 3 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • ▢ 2 tbsp shallot sliced
  • ▢ 2 tbsp garlic minced
Herbs & Veg
  • ▢ mint
  • ▢ basil
  • ▢ bean sprouts
  • ▢ birds eye chile or jalapeno
  • ▢ lime sliced
Banana Flower
  • ▢ 1 banana flower
  • ▢ 2 cups water
  • ▢ 1 lemon juiced
  • ▢ 14 oz (396. 9 g) package dried rice noodle medium or large thickness
Saté (spicy chile condiment)
  • ▢ 20 g dried Thai chile crushed
  • ▢ 1/2 c neutral cooking oil
  • ▢ 80 g shallot or white onion minced
  • ▢ 40 g garlic minced
  • ▢ 30 g lemongrass minced
  • ▢ 2 tbsp Korean chile powder (gochugaru)
  • ▢ 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ▢ 1 tbsp sugar
  • ▢ 2/3 tsp salt
  • ▢ 1/2 tsp MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Clean the meat: Add all meat to a stock pot and enough water to submerge it, bring to a boil. Drain and rinse thoroughly under running water.

  • Add the meat, broth, lemongrass and onions to the pot and fill with water almost to the brim. Bring to a boil then drop the heat to medium-high to maintain a low boil. Add the seasoning.

  • Let it simmer and periodically check the meats for doneness and remove them as they finish cooking. The pork should be done after about an hour, the beef can vary between 2-3 hours.

  • After all the meat has removed, let it cool, then slice it. Adjust seasoning and add water to the broth pot if necessary.

  • Make the aromatics & coloring then add it to the pot.

  • Boil noodles according to package instructions.

  • Assemble your bowl, and serve with herbs and veg on a side platter.

Red Coloring & Aromatics
  • Sauté seeds in oil on medium heat until the seeds give up the bright red color, then remove the seeds.

  • Add shallots and garlic, sauté until brown.

  • Add all of this to the pot of broth for color.

Pork Blood (Huyet / Tiet)
  • The easiest thing to do is just buy it already cooked and boil just to heat it up. If you use the raw type like we did for this recipe, cut into 1″ cubes and boil for 30-45 minutes

Banana Flower
  • Prepare a bowl of about 2 cups of water, mixed with the juice of 1 lemon.

  • Thinly slice the banana flower and add to the water mixture to sit for about 30 minutes.

  • Avoid adding little fronds (that look like mini bananas), removing them as you encounter them. They taste bitter!

Saté (spicy chile condiment)
  • Weigh out the dried Thai chiles, then soak in just enough warm water to cover the chiles for 20 minutes. Drain the water.

  • Add all sate ingredients to a pan on medium heat and stir continuously to brown, cook, and slightly reduce the chile paste, about 30-40 minutes. If at any point it becomes too dry, you can add more oil, up to 50% of the amount we started with. Taste and reseason with sugar or salt as desired. See photo for how the final product should look.

  • Let cool and transfer to a sealed jar stored in the fridge . You can add ~2 tbsp of the final product to the soup pot for a boost in flavor and color, or simply and let each person add to their bowl to make it as spicy as they’d like!

2/11/2021: Added recipe for sate (spicy chile condiment)

Calories note: The actual calories per bowl may be lower by 200-250kcal than listed, since the saté / chile condiment typically isn’t fully used up for a single pot of this soup.

Serving: 0g | Calories: 1276.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.37g | Protein: 89.95g | Fat: 73.1g | Saturated Fat: 20.9g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 330.02mg | Sodium: 4939.39mg | Potassium: 1181.93mg | Fiber: 2.55g | Sugar: 7.32g | Vitamin A: 671.03IU | Vitamin C: 18.37mg | Calcium: 143.14mg | Iron: 11.91mg

Nutrition Facts

Bún Bò Huế – Spicy Vietnamese Beef & Pork Noodle Soup

Serving Size


0 g

Amount per Serving



% Daily Value*

Saturated Fat


Trans Fat


























Vitamin A




Vitamin C












* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Course: Dinner, Lunch, Soup

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Keyword: blood, pork, rice noodles, soup, spicy

Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!

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Vietnamese-Style Bun Bo – Leite’s Culinaria

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posted by David Leite | photo by Manos Chatzikonstantis
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This Vietnamese-style bun bo is a traditional soup made with beef bone broth, vermicelli noodles, and seared sirloin steak that has been marinated in lemongrass, ginger, and fish sauce. Similar to yet distinct from pho, it’s a classic for a reason.

Adapted from Tessa Kiros | Provence to Pondicherry | Quadrille, 2017

It’s nice to have all these separate bowls of bits and pieces to set out with your bun bo so everyone can add more or less of something to their bowls of broth if they want. You can also serve some carrot and daikon pickle on the side here along with the other accompaniments.–Tessa Kiros

☞ Contents


This Vietnamese-style bun bo is a traditional soup made with beef bone broth, vermicelli noodles, and seared sirloin steak that has been marinated in lemongrass, ginger, and fish sauce. Similar to yet distinct from pho, it’s a classic for a reason.

Prep 40 mins

Cook 3 hrs

Total 3 hrs 40 mins



5 servings

312 kcal

5 / 2 votes

For the beef broth
  • ▢ About 4 1/2 pounds beef bones
  • ▢ 3 quarts cold water plus more to cover bones
  • ▢ 2 inch piece ginger peeled and sliced
  • ▢ 2 whole star anise
  • ▢ 1 small (about 4 oz) yellow onion peeled
  • ▢ Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ▢ Fish sauce to taste (optional)
For the marinade
  • ▢ 1 lemongrass stalk outer leaves removed and inner part chopped
  • ▢ 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons fish sauce plus more for serving
  • ▢ 1/4 teaspoon chopped red chile pepper
  • ▢ 3 teaspoons light brown sugar or Asian palm sugar packed
  • ▢ 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the beef
  • ▢ One (14 ounce) sirloin steak sliced 1/8-inch (2-mm) thick and into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
  • ▢ 7 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
  • ▢ 2 teaspoons mild vegetable oil
  • ▢ 10 1/2 ounces bean sprouts
  • ▢ 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce plus more for serving (substitute tamari if keeping gluten-free)
To serve
  • ▢ A couple handfuls mixed leaves such as torn lettuce, morning glory, watercress, Thai basil, perilla
  • ▢ A couple of handfuls cilantro leaves
  • ▢ A couple of handfuls Vietnamese mint
  • ▢ Roasted crushed peanuts
  • ▢ Fried shallots
  • ▢ About 10 kumquats (or calamansi) halved (optional)
  • ▢ Sliced red chile peppers
  • ▢ Chili sauce preferably Asian
Make the beef broth
  • In a large stockpot over high heat, add the beef bones and just enough water to cover.

  • Bring to a boil and cook until the impurities come to the surface. Drain, rinse the bones and the stockpot, and return the bones to the stockpot.

  • Set the stockpot over high heat and add the ginger, star anise, onion, and 3 quarts water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, partly covered, for 3 hours.

  • Strain through a colander, then strain through a sieve lined with muslin or cheesecloth. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and fish sauce, if desired. You will need about 2 1/2 cups broth.

    ☞TESTER TIP: This makes more broth than you’ll need, which is a very good thing. Stash any remaining broth in the freezer until the next bun bo craving hits.

Make the marinade
  • In a medium bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients.

Make the beef
  • Add the steak pieces to the marinade and turn to coat. Let rest at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with warm water.

  • In a wok or skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 teaspoon oil and add the bean sprouts. Stir-fry until slightly wilted, about 90 seconds, then add the soy sauce. Let it bubble up, then transfer to a bowl.

  • Wipe out the wok with paper towels. Set it over high heat and add 1 teaspoon oil. When hot, add the beef and let it rest against the wok to get a good sear, about 30 seconds. Stir-fry quickly until cooked through, but not overcooked, 60 to 90 seconds more.

  • In 5 large, wide bowls, place a small handful of lettuce and other leaves and divide the noodles among the bowls.

  • Ladle about 1/2 cup hot broth into each bowl and then divide the bean sprouts among the bowls. Pile beef pieces on top and drizzle in any juice from the wok.

  • Sprinkle over some cilantro and mint leaves and then top with a heaped tablespoon each of crushed peanuts and fried shallots.

  • Serve immediately, passing fish sauce and soy sauce on the side for those who want a little more saltiness along with the kumquats, if using, chiles, chili sauce, and extra herbs in bowls on the side for diners to add as they wish.

Serving: 1portionCalories: 312kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 41g (14%)Protein: 23g (46%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 48mg (16%)Sodium: 1311mg (57%)Potassium: 505mg (14%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 17IUVitamin C: 9mg (11%)Calcium: 54mg (5%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published February 03, 2021

Recipe © 2017 Tessa Kiros. Photo © 2017 Manos Chatzikonstantis. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Filed Under: Entrees, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Stealthy Healthy, Vietnamese

Vietnamese Banh Bao buns – a step by step recipe with a photo on Cooking at home

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    Delicious and beautiful steamed buns with meat filling and egg. Very popular in Vietnam and are a local fast food. We rated it as a helper for work)). Ready-made buns can be wrapped in cling film and stored in the refrigerator, before use, you just need to warm it up in the microwave or steam.
    Thank you for the recipe Lyudmila easy cook


    flour 200 g
    milk (warm) 130 ml
    sugar 30 g
    vegetable oil 20 ml
    dry yeast 4 g
    baking powder 4 g
    salt pinch
    minced pork (can be replaced with another of your choice) 200 g
    quail eggs (boiled) 12 pcs
    or 3 eggs
    small bulb 1 piece
    hunting sausage
    dry shiitake mushrooms (can be replaced with fried mushrooms, which are available, I had 10 g
    garlic 1 tooth
    sesame oil 1 tbsp
    salt, pepper

    General information

    Table of weights and measures

    Let’s start with the test. To do this, add a couple of teaspoons of sugar, yeast and 70 g of flour to warm milk. Mix thoroughly and leave in a warm place to approach for 20-30 minutes.
    Add salt, remaining sugar, vegetable oil and flour mixed with baking powder to the dough that has come up. Knead the dough and knead it for 5-10 minutes. The dough is quite dense.
    Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour.

    Now let’s prepare the filling. Soak mushrooms in cold water, and when swollen, finely chop. I used some champignons, which I previously fried for the intensity of the mushroom flavor. The onion is also very finely chopped or chopped in a blender.
    Add mushrooms, onion, minced garlic, sesame oil, oyster sauce, turmeric, salt and pepper to minced meat. Mix well. Peel the eggs (cut the chicken in half). Cut the hunting sausage into very thin slices.

    Divide the risen dough into 6 pieces and roll each piece into a circle. Put the meat filling in the center, then sausage around it, and put 2 quail eggs or half a chicken on top.

    Pinch like khinkali.

    Place the finished buns on a piece of parchment (you can use a paper muffin liner, after flattening it). Cover the buns with a towel and let them rise for 15 minutes.

    Steam (in a double boiler, in a special insert in a slow cooker or on a saucepan covered with gauze) for about 20 min. Lay in a double boiler with a piece of parchment so that they do not stick.
    Remove the parchment from the hot buns and place on a wooden board. The buns are very juicy, fragrant and delicious.

    Bon appetit!

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    Banh bo recipe – Vietnamese cuisine

    Bánh bò is a traditional Vietnamese dessert. Banh bo are small sweet buns made from rice flour, water, coconut milk, sugar and yeast. Inside the baths, the bo have a porous texture due to the presence of numerous small air bubbles. Banh bo in Vietnam can be bought almost everywhere from street vendors.

    Banh bo is believed to have originated in Vietnam from southern China, although the Chinese version, called bái táng gāo, does not contain coconut milk. In Vietnamese, bánh means “pie” and bò can mean “cow” or “crawl”. There is a version that the dessert was named so because of the resemblance to the udder of a cow. However, according to a popular folk version, the bò in the name indicates that the cake “creeps” towards the sides of the bowl when cooked.

    Due to the similarity of the names, banh bo is often confused with the Vietnamese pressed cakes with candied fruits banh bo (Bánh bó), also called bánh bó mứt. In the first ban bo, which is the subject of this recipe, bò is pronounced with a falling tone, while in the second case, bó has a rising tone.

    Banh bo is distinguished by the method of preparation:

    • Banh bo nuong (Bánh bò nướng) are baked banh bos that are made by baking in the oven. They are generally white or yellowish white on the inside and golden on the outside due to the caramelized coconut milk.
    • Banh bo hap (Bánh bò hấp) – steam baths bo. They are usually small and spherical in shape. The color can be white, green, pink or pale purple.

    Below is a traditional Vietnamese recipe for steamed banh bo.

    Ingredients – Ban bo:

    • Rice flour – 4 cups,
    • tapioca – 4 teaspoons,
    • coconut milk – 1.5 cups,
    • warm water (36 C) – 2 cups,
    • sugar – 2/3 cup,
    • active dry yeast – 1 tbsp. spoon,
    • vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp,
    • salt – 1/4 teaspoon,
    • vegetable oil – for lubrication,
    • different food colors – 3 types.

    Recipe – Ban bo:

    1. Place all ingredients except food coloring into a deep bowl and mix vigorously until smooth.