Discover the incredible variety of dishes in the city streets with the help of our Hanoi Street Food Guide! Today Ed Pettit savours the flavours of Hue in a meaty bowl of Bun Bo Hue.
Hue in central Vietnam is famous throughout the whole country for its Royal cuisine. For a taste of the city what better place to start than a bowl of the delicious Bun Bo Hue?
Hanoi may be the unrivalled king of street food, but when it comes to national recognition, it is the dishes of Hue that are lauded as the pinnacle of Vietnamese cuisine. It may be the city’s Imperial history that has helped, or simply the delicate spices found in the soups and dishes. Everywhere you go in Vietnam you will hear that Hue is the place to go for a good meal. Forget about the beautiful Perfume River, crumbling facades and hillside tombs – it is all about the dinner table! Whatever it is Hue certainly is a great place to eat, and there is nothing better than the city’s signature dish, Bun Bo Hue.
Noodle Soup With a Difference…
Bun Bo Hue is on first impressions quite similar to Pho – the noodle soup staple of much of Vietnam. You have a soup, noodles and a healthy portion of beef. But there are a number of key differences between the two. The first thing that hits you is the flavour of lemongrass, quite unlike most of the other soups you will find in Vietnam. The combination of the freshness of the lemongrass and the spice of the chilli paste – another key ingredient – is perfect. Throw in boiled beef shank (and the occasional piece of pork) and you are close to the perfect dish – spicy, fresh and filling. Rather than the vermicelli noodles of Bun Cha or the flat noodles of Pho, Bun Bo Hue’s offering are rounder and thicker – a nice change after a few weeks!
How to Order
Just grab a seat – don’t wait to be asked to sit down. If things are busy you can wait, or just move to the next place. This is street food and things move quickly so you won’t be waiting for long.
1. How many? One or two? (Mot or Hai) If all else fails just hold up the right number of fingers.
2. You just need to say Bun Bo Hue
3. If you would like fried bread to dip in the soup, just ask for Quay.
4. You can also order your drink – Tra Da – is green iced tea.
Order in Vietnamese:
“Hai Bun Bo Hue, hai Quay, hai Tra Da”
“Two Bun Bo Hue, two fried breads, two Iced Tea”
How to Eat
The soup is served in one bowl, with herbs, chilli and lime brought separately. Be sure to add a good pinch of herbs and the lime is a must. Beware not to add chilli before trying the soup! Sometimes Bun Bo Hue can have quite a kick and spice will be the last thing you want.
How Much It Is
Expect to pay between 30,000 – 50,000 VND for a portion of Bun Bo Hue, Quay and a Tra Da.
If you would like to enjoy a lunch of Bun Bo Hue on your Hue city tour, just ask your guide and he will make it happen!