Monday, January 18, 2010
Bun Bo Hue
When people talk about Vietnamese food, no doubt Pho, spring rolls and banh mi are the top three dishes that come up. Yes, these things are popular in Vietnam, but it seems that to Vietnamese people, Bun Bo Hue is truly a coveted dish. For some crazy reason, I had never had Bun Bo Hue before this trip and after trying it, it makes me super sad that I have been deprived of this wonderful dish for so long!
Bun Bo Hue is a mildy spicy pho-like soup that originates from, duh, Hue. The central region of Vietnam is often forgot. My mom says they're kind of invisible in the minds of Northerner's and Southerners but that's hard for me to believe since Bun Bo Hue shops were well represented in both Saigon and Hanoi. I tried my first bowl in Nha Trang, which is also known for making good Bun Bo Hue. It has a very strong lemongrass flavor and for you meat lovers, there are slices of tender beef and a whole pork shank in each serving. The noodles are thick rice noodles...similar to Udon noodles. Not my favorite, but with such a flavorable broth, I could care less what kind of noodles they use. Just like with Pho, you get a plate of fresh herbs and veggies to add to your hot bowl of soup. Throw in some bean sprouts, cilantro and a squeeze of lime and you're ready to go.
A tip about eating Vietnamese soups :: Because the broths are made from stewed bones, it is always best to eat soups like Pho and Bun Bo Hue in the morning when the broth is fresh and strong. As the day goes on, restaurants add water to the broth and you lose a lot of the flavor.