Recipe: Hue-Style Spicy Beef Noodle Soup – Bún bò Huế

Bun Bo Hue - Hue-Style Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

By Helen Le Published: March 25, 2012

  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Ready In: 2 hrs 30 mins

  • Yield: 6-8 Servings

This dish originates from Hue - the old capital city of Vietnam. It is loved by people in other regions for the bold flavors.

  • Place the beef/pork bones and the pork trotters in a stockpot filled with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5-10 minutes until the impurities rise to the top. Dump out the whole pot, rinse the bones well to wash off the scum. Wash the pot clean.
  • Return the bones and pork trotters to the pot and fill with 5 liters water. Also add the beef shank.
  • Smash the lemongrass with a pestle or a knife handle to release the fragrance. Tie them up and add to the stockpot. Also add 1 peeled yellow onion, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to medium and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Occasionally skim off the scum. When the beef shrank and pork trotter is cooked, remove the meat and soak in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to prevent it from turning dark. Then drain, let cool and slice thinly into bite-sized pieces. Meanwhile continue to simmer the bones for 1-2 more hours. If you cook the stock more than 2 hours, add the bruised lemongrass only at the last hour.
  • To make the Saté, heat vegetable oil in a pan, sautee minced lemongrass, garlic and shallot until fragrant and slightly golden. Then take off the heat. Add chili powder, fish sauce, sugar, beef broth, stir well and simmer under low heat for 5 mins until smooth. Add half of this saté to the stockpot. Save the rest in a small bowl for serving later.
  • Cook the rice vermicelli following package instructions. Then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and remove the outside starch. Then rinse again under hot water. This helps the noodles to get dried faster (hot water evaporates quicker) and become more fluffy (rather than stick to each other and turn lumpy).
  • Dissolve Vietnamese fermented shrimp paste (mam ruoc Hue) in 1 cup of cold water. Let it sit for 10 minutes to settle the dregs. Fill a saucepan with 2 cups of water, add the shrimp paste liquid (discard the dregs at the bottom). Bring to boil, then remove from the heat and let it sit for 15 mins, undisturbed, to settle the dregs again. Then extract the clear broth on top and add to the simmering stockpot. Discard the dregs. Adjust the flavor of the broth to your taste with salt, fish sauce and chicken/pork stock.
  • To assemble the dish, place a handful of the rice vermicelli in a serving bowl. Top with the sliced beef and pork. Also add boiled blood cubes (Huyet), Vietnamese shrimp patties (Cha Hue) or Vietnamese ham (Cha Lua) if available. Ladle the broth over the noodles and garmish with the chopped spring onion, cilantro and paper-thin sliced onion. Serve with extra sate and the fresh vegetable platter.

Post By Helen Le (291 Posts)

Since 2011 Helen has shared her Vietnamese home cooking video recipes on Youtube, helping viewers cook Vietnamese Food in the easiest, fastest and most authentic way possible. Subscribe to receive her newest videos for FREE:

Website: → Danang Cuisine


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5 comments on “Recipe: Hue-Style Spicy Beef Noodle Soup – Bún bò Huế


what happened to the preparation of the beef shank?
it doesn’t need to be cooked in the stock or sauteed?

Helen Le

Pls read the direction again: “Place the bones & meat to a
clean big pot filled with 5 liter water. […]Remove
the meat and soak in cold water to avoid it from blackening…”When I said “meat” I meant beef shank, lol. Sorry if it was unclear.


 oooh, thanks. I totally missed that part and i reread the whole thing a few times, ^_^

Mitchell Brown

Not the easiest recipe to follow. You didn’t include the ADDITIONAL stock, sugar, salt and fish sauce to add at the END of the process.

Do I add MORE of these ingredients at the end? Where was chicken stock mentioned? How much salt, sugar and fish sauce? 1 tablespoon? 2?

Some clarification would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


    There is no necessity to add anything to the end of the process, but you can add adjust the recipe according to your taste. If you feel that your soup needed more sugar, salt, or fish sauce, then add more. Also, chicken stock was not mentioned because it’s not in the recipe.

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