Bun Bo Hue, a Vietnamese specialty hailing from the central region of the country, is a mouth-watering noodle soup. For food lovers all over the world, this soup is hearty, delicious, and robust with flavors and aromatic spices. Even if you’re a fan of this dish, trying to Bun Bo Hue from scratch may seem daunting. It seems like a whole lot of ingredients and a very difficult process.
However, home-made Bun Bo Hue is incredibly rich and flavorful. It also makes you appreciate the food culture, intricacy, and dedication the Vietnamese have for their food. I tried making this dish at home over the past weekend and the results were outstanding. I was impressed that it tasted even better than some of the restaurant editions of this famous noodle soup.
Making Bun Bo Hue
To prepare a sensational bowl of Bun Bo Hue, you will need:
- 2-3 pounds of beef bones or pork bones
- 1 pound of beef shank
- 1 pound of pork hocks or pig’s feet
- 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
- 3-4 shallots, peeled
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2-3 tablespoons of shrimp paste
- 1 tablespoon of annatto seeds
- 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce
- Salt and sugar to taste
- 1 pound of beef brisket or beef tendon (optional)
- 1 pound of pork blood cubes (optional)
Noodles and Garnishes:
- Fresh round rice noodles (bun)
- Bean sprouts
- Fresh herbs (cilantro, Thai basil if desired)
- Lime wedges
- Sliced onions
- Sliced chili peppers
- Shrimp paste or fermented shrimp sauce (mam ruoc)
Preparing the Bun Bo Hue Broth:
- Start by cleaning the beef and pork bones thoroughly under cold running water. Place them in a large stockpot and cover with water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface to ensure a clear broth.
- Add the lemongrass, shallots, and garlic to the pot. Allow them to infuse their flavors into the broth as it simmers.
- In a separate pan, dry-toast the annatto seeds until they release their vibrant red color. Grind the seeds into a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
- Add the shrimp paste and ground annatto seeds to the broth, along with fish sauce, salt, and sugar. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences.
- Continue simmering the broth for at least 3-4 hours to extract all the flavors. The longer it simmers, the richer and more aromatic the broth will become.
Preparing the Meats and Protein:
- If using beef brisket or tendon, slice the meat into thin strips. Blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until they are cooked but still tender. Set aside.
- Cook the pork hocks or pig’s feet in a separate pot of boiling water until tender. Remove them from the pot and slice the meat into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- If you choose to include pork blood cubes, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until they firm up. Rinse them in cold water to remove excess blood and slice them into small cubes. Set aside.
- Cook the fresh round rice noodles (bun) according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Prepare the garnishes by washing and plucking the fresh herbs. Slice the onions and chili peppers, and set aside some lime wedges and bean sprouts.
- Add the boiled broth over top of the noodles and serve.