Bún bò Huế (literally: Huế style beef rice vermicelli) or more specifically, bún bò giò heo (literally: beef and pig’s knuckle rice vermicelli) is a popular Vietnamese soup rice vermicelli dish. The predominant flavor is of lemon grass. The broth is sometimes mildly spicy, rarely very spicy, and occasionally not spicy at all.
Bún bò Huế originated in the old imperial capital of Central Vietnam, Huế. The broth is prepared by cooking beef bones for a long period, as well as a large variety of different spices including lemon grass and chili. Shrimp paste is also a very important ingredient.
Bún bò Huế usually includes thin slices of marinated beef shank, chunks of well-cooked oxtail, and pig’s knuckles or pork. It can also include cubes of congealed pig blood, which has a color between dark brown and maroon, and a texture-resembling gelatin. Bún bò Huế is commonly served with mung bean sprouts, lime wedges, cilantro sprigs, raw onions, and thinly sliced banana blossom. Thinly sliced purple cabbage or iceberg lettuce is common substitutes when banana blossom is not available. Purple cabbage most resembles banana blossom in texture, though not in taste. It is also common for a diner to add a small dollop of shrimp paste directly into the soup.
This dish can be easily found in any streets of Hue city with very good taste and price. Following are shops and restaurants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City:
1. Bun bo Hue Dong Ba, No. 110A Nguyen Du, Ben Thanh ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Tel: (08) 3912 5742 – (08) 3902 4306;
2. Bun bo Thanh Noi Hue, No. 47A Tran Cao Van, District 3, Ho Chi Minh, Tel: (08) 3829 9473;
3. Bun bo Gio heo Hue, No. 171, Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi. Tel: (04) 3974 3897;
4. Bun bo Hue shop, No.36, Hang Ca Street, Hoan Kiem District. Tel: (04) 3826 7414;
5. Bun bo Hue shop, No. 56, Nguyen Hong Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi. Tel: (04) 3773 3682.
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