Bún bò Huế (Hue beef noodle soup) is a speciality of Huế – former capital of Vietnam. The name is to distinguish beef noodle soup from Huế and from other provinces. Although the major components are also rice vermicelli and beef, what makes the dish distinctive is the perfect balance of its spicy, sour, salty and sweet flavors. Nonetheless, the predominant flavor sometimes comes from lemon grass, one of the indispensable ingredients to create a superb bowl of bún bò Huế.
A portion of bún bò Huế, as you can see in the picture above, contains slices of marinated and boiled beef shank, chunks of oxtail and a pork knuckle. Other ingredients that might be added are tiết luộc (boiled cubes of congealed pig blood), which has a mixed color of dark brown and maroon, and mọc (made of pork). Besides, like other kinds of Vietnamese noodle soups (e.g. phở), a hot, clear and tasty broth is of no less importance to the quality of bún bò Huế. The dish is commonly served with lime chili sauce, thinly sliced banana blossom, red cabbage, mint and Vietnamese coriander (rau răm). You can freely choose to add any ingredients among these into your bún bò Huế based on your own taste.
It’s not exaggerating to describe bún bò Huế as a timeless delicacy which connects the past and the present. Huế used to be famous for its typical cooking style of the royal court; however, as time goes by, bún bò Huế has changed and adapted itself to Vietnamese modern society. Nowadays, it is quite popular not only in Huế but also in every part of the country, not to mention other regions in the world by following the steps of Vietnamese immigrants. People may change but culture stays, and the culture lying deep within this dish is unforgettable. Till now, bún bò Huế has been among preferred choices for breakfast and lunch in Vietnam.