Hue’s rich history as the former capital of the Vietnamese empire has birthed myriad unique hyper-local delicacies – unparalleled, inimitable, incomparable – unlike any other food.
Below is a list of Hue’s four most popular dishes that define the noodle section of Hue cuisine.
Bun bo – Hue-style beef noodle soup
Herbs and bean sprouts are added to Hue-style beef noodle soup. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tran
Among all the popular dishes that originated in Hue, bun bo boasts the most widespread popularity throughout Vietnam and even abroad as well. You can easily find this beef noodle soup sold everywhere, from street stalls and local markets to luxury restaurants.
In most other cities across Vietnam, the vermicelli used in bun bo are thick. But in Hue, you can savor different types of vermicelli, including thick noodles and smaller thinner noodles. Some foreigners compare these finer noodles to angel hair pasta from Italy.
A piece of pig trotter, one or two sizable pieces of blood pudding, a beef roll, and thinly sliced boiling beef are the most common ingredients in a bowl of bun bo. The price ranges from VND20,000 (84 cents) per bowl at Dong Ba market to VND50,000 ($2.11) at restaurants.
Bun nghe long lon – Stir-fried vermicelli with turmeric and pig intestines
A bowl of stir-fried vermicelli with turmeric and pig intestines costs around VND15,000 on average (63 cents). Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tran
Bun nghe long lon is a popular dish that is enjoyed across all socio-economic categories. The key components of stir-fried vermicelli with pig intestine include vermicelli noodles dyed with fresh turmeric, pig intestines, blood pudding, laksa leaves, all mixed with spices, satay, and soy sauce.
Despite the dish’s simplicity, each item needs to be properly chosen and cooked. The vermicelli needs to be soft and fragrant. Pork intestines must be washed thoroughly to remove all odors. And the pork blood pudding is supposed to have a fatty, rich taste.
Bun hen – Baby clam vermicelli
A portion of bun hen starts from VND10,000 (42 cents). Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tran
Wandering the ancient citadel that surrounds the former imperial capital of Hue and its palaces, courts and mausoleums, you can find several eateries selling both com hen – baby clam rice, and bun hen – baby clam vermicelli. This is a type of dry noodle dish. The vermicelli is served with stir-fried baby clam, crushed roasted peanuts, rice paper, pork skin, fried pork fat, topped with a spoonful of mam ruoc – shrimp paste. All is served with thinly sliced banana blossom, giant taro stem, slices of pineapple and star fruit, as well as herbs and stir-fried chili.
You can request to have hot baby clam broth either poured directly into your bowl of noodles or served in a separate dish.
Bun thit nuong – Grilled pork noodles
Prices of bun thit nuong range from VND30,000 to VND40,000 ($1.27 to $1.69). Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tran
Bun thit nuong is a common dish that you can find in many other places within Vietnam, not only in Hue. However, the grilled pork noodle here has its own flavor thanks to a special secret sauce. The sauce is made of liver, flour, sesame, crushed peanuts, ground pork, fish sauce and pepper. After mixing, the concoction becomes a thick, fragrant and savory sauce to compliment the aromatic grilled meat.
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