History of Bun Bo Hue

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Vietnam Travel

Bun Bo Hue

Bun bo Hue, a popular Vietnamese dish, was thought to have originated in Hue, a city located in central Viet Nam. This savory soup – spelled Bún bò Huế in Vietnamese – is served all around the world and has an interesting story behind it: the story of its origin. 

The first dish of Bun bo Hue can be traced all the way back to the 16th through 19th centuries, during the rule of the Nguyen Dynasty. As seen in its name, this dish came from Hue – the city that was, for the longest time, the capital city of Viet Nam. As of today, Bun bo Hue served in Hue stays most true to the original recipe. Besides its history as the capital city of Viet Nam, Hue was also the seat of power for rulers in ancient Vietnamese times. This makes Bun bo Hue the “food of kings”, and American TV chef Anthony Bourdain even described it as “the best soup in the world.” These facts are just some of the many interesting details about this dish. 

Bun bo Hue is made up of many key components, all of which are vital in the mouth-watering flavor of this soup. Beef is normally used in the recipe, hence the mention of “bò” in the name. In Vietnamese, this word translates to beef, and the full name of this soup is interpreted as beef noodles from Hue. However, pork is sometimes used as an alternative. Congealed pig’s blood and crab cakes, as well as varying sizes of rice noodles, can commonly be found in this dish. The broth for Bun bo Hue is always prepared first and is made by simmering beef and pork bones together, along with certain herbs. The broth is considered to be the “soul of the dish.” Mam ruoc – or shrimp paste – is also used and is normally neutralized with lemongrass. Just the right amount of shrimp paste and lemongrass is vital in the flavoring of the broth. The meat and herbs – mainly ginger – are then boiled along with the broth. Onions, salt, and sugar are added afterward. After preparing the above ingredients thoroughly, the noodles are added as the last component. These noodles are usually bigger than the typical noodles used. Optional garnish includes bean sprouts, water spinach, shaved banana blossom, and lettuce. 

In conclusion, Bun bo Hue, the delicious Vietnamese dish known today, has gone through many changes before becoming the soup it is now.