One of the best noodle dishes we had in Huế this time was, naturally, Bún Bò Huế - a spicy specialty soup noodle dish which originated from this city. Despite its name - literally meaning “beef noodles from Huế”, its intensely-flavoured broth is actually made from boiling pork-bones and pig’s trotters, but topped with good quality sliced beef before serving.
Huế’s bún noodles are made from a mixture of rice flour and cassava starch, using a hand-press. Huế’s bún tend to be thicker than those in both Hanoi/North and Saigon/South. The Huế people also liked to season their bún with lots of spicy toasted chili and nước mắm (fermented fish sauce).
The broth is prepared by boiling pig’s trotters, pig bones and pig tendon, together with lemongrass and shallots. Nước mắm is added, together with onions.
The noodles are usually garnished with thin slivers of beef, pork, pork-crabmeat balls, and sprinkled with chili flakes and chopped scallions. Shredded banana blossoms, fresh basil (húng quế) leaves and shredded fish mint (diếp cá) leaves are served on the side.
And one of my favourite morsels in the soup noodle has to be the chả viên (pork-crabmeat balls). These utterly decadent meatballs are coloured orange with crab-roe and milt. I first had these in Paris’ Vietnamese-run Chinatown more than two decades ago.
We had our Bún bò Huế fix here at Bà Bớt - one of the go-to place for this dish in the evenings. Always crowded with local noodle-lovers.
We plonked ourselves down on the kindergarten-sized plastic stools and pray that they don’t break halfway through our meal - they didn’t. If I can do it (I’m 6 feet 2 inches and weigh 253 lbs), so can you!
Bún bò Huế Bà Bớt
1 Hà Nội, Vĩnh Ninh, Thành phố Huế
Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam
Tel: +84 379 888 770