Discover the incredible variety of dishes in the city streets with the help of our Hanoi Street Food Guide! Today Ed Pettit sucks up a delightful bowl of bun bo nam bo.

This week I’ll be delving into the land of Bun Bo Nam Bo – the beef, noodle and peanut staple of the south, that also happened to be pretty tasty in Hanoi.

I have already got into hot water for my comments on southern Pho versus northern Pho. This week I am on safer ground. Bun Bo Nam Bo is traditionally a southern dish, but I love it in Hanoi. Recently I have been on a mission to find more dishes that are not soups. The stand out so far has been Ngan Nuong, but there is only so much sizzling duck one man can eat without fearing for an early grave. Bun Bo Nam Bo is my saviour – tasty, filling and with a sauce rather than a soup.

Nutty Bliss

The body of the dish is vermicelli noodles topped off with stir fried beef. The beef is marinated and then briefly fried in garlic and lemongrass; the best places seem to get the timing just right so that the beef is really tender when served. Sitting on a bed of classic Vietnamese herbs and bean sprouts, the noodles are stacked high, topped with the hot fried beef and sprinkled with crushed peanuts. I am hungry just describing it. To finish things off, a ladle of broth is poured over the dish, soaking everything and adding a bit of heat and even more flavour. Bun Bo Nam Bo is far too easy to eat. The fried beef is balanced by the fresh herbs, and the broth is sweet enough to bring out the lemongrass without being too over powering. If you are tired of soups then Bun Bo Nam Bo is for you!

Don't forget to stir!

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. Bun Bo Nam Bo comes in one bowl – so just ask for Mot Bun Bo Nam Bo.

2. You can also order your drink – Tra Da – is iced tea.

Order in Vietnamese:

“Hai Bun Bo Nam Bo, hai Tra Da

“2 bowls of Bun Bo Nam Bo, two Iced Tea”

How To Eat

Bun Bo Nam Bo is served in one bowl with all the ingredients layered on top of each other. You can add extra herbs if you want but generally they are already in the dish. Be sure to use your chopsticks and a spoon to give the beef, noodles and sauce a really good stir. This isn’t just for taste reasons – it is for your own safety! In my experience people seem very keen to make sure you have mixed everything with the utmost care, and if they think you haven’t will be keen to help!

How Much It Is

Expect to pay between 30,000  – 50,000 VND for a bowl of Bun Bo Nam Bo and a glass of Tra Da.

Feeling the urge to slurp up a bowl of Bun Bo Nam Bo? Just ask your Buffalo Tours guide and he will make it happen on your Hanoi city tour! Or, consider getting properly intorduced to Vietnamese cuisine on an evening street food tour with Buffalo Tours!


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