Bun Bo Hue Recipe: How To Make Authentic Hue Spicy Noodle Soup

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A bold and flavorful soup, this Bun Bo Hue recipe is for one of Vietnam’s most famous soups, rivaling Pho. It’s a rich and soulful soup loaded with tender slices of beef and pork and fragrant herbs. With each exceptionally delicious bite, you’ll find yourself craving this Hue-style noodle soup even more.

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What is Bun Bo Hue?

Noodle Soup Bun Bo Hue Recipe by Authentic Food Quest
Discover this hearty Hue spicy noodle soup

Bun Bo Hue soup is often referred to as the soul of Hue cuisine. This spicy Vietnamese noodle soup holds a prominent place among Vietnam’s iconic soups.

The soup originates from Hue, in Central Vietnam and it is known for its bold and spicy flavors.

While in Vietnam, Anthony Bourdain famously described Bún Bò Huế  as “the greatest soup in the world.”

The broth for this Hue noodle soup is made with a combination of beef and pork. 

The soup’s rich flavors come from lemongrass, paprika, red pepper flakes, and shrimp paste.

Its iconic red color comes from the addition of annatto seed.

Bun Bo hue is served with rice noodles, thinly sliced brisket, cubes of gelatinous congealed pig’s blood and herbs, and lime wedges.  

A side of shredded banana blossom leaves, mung bean sprouts, and chili sauce complete the meal

The flavors of Bún Bò Huế are appreciated not only for the taste alone but also for its aromas. 

What is The Difference Between Bun Bo and Bun Bo Hue?

Spicy Soup Bun Bo Hue by Authentic Food Quest
The iconic flavors of Hue in a bowl

There is no difference between Bun Bo and Bun Bo Hue. It’s the same soup and the name used depends on where you are in the country.

Bun Bo Hue translates to “noodles from Hue,” the city of its origins. Outside Hue, it’s referred to as Bun Bò Hue to signify the Hue-style noodle soup.

Within the region of Hue, the noodle soup is simply referred to as Bun Bo.

Bun Bo Hue History

Vietnamese Soup Bun Bò Hue by Authentic Food Quest
Experience for yourself why they call bun bò hue the best soup in the world

Hue, in Central Vietnam, is considered to have some of the best food in the country. 

The city served as the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945.

During this time, Royal or Imperial Hue cuisine was elevated to an art form. 

Bun Bo Hue soup is one of the signature dishes and is described as the soul of Hue cuisine.

This authentic Bun Bo Hue recipe brings the flavors of imperial cuisine to your kitchen. 

With a little time and a few ingredients, you’ll discover why this was once described as the “greatest soup in the world.”

READ MORE: 10 of The Best Cookbook Holders To Equip Your Kitchen

Discovering Bun Bo Hue in Vietnam

Spicy Noodle Soup Vietnamese Bun Bo Hue by Authentic Food Quest
Vietnamese Bun Bo Hue is a mix of different tastes and textures

While exploring the local food specialties in central Vietnam, we visited Hue in search of this famous spicy Vietnamese noodle soup.

Our goal was to have the hot broth and noodle soup for dinner on the evening we arrived. Unable to find it, we quickly learned that Bun Bo Hue is traditionally eaten in the morning.

We later had the chance to savor the flavors of Bún Bò Huế soup in its city of origin. 

The taste of Bun Bo Hue is rich and complex. It’s a hearty soup with a unique combination of flavors and textures. 

The soup broth from pork bones with aromatic spices is savory and spices. And, when combined with the rice noodles and additional ingredients it is deeply satisfying.

Be aware, the soup is traditionally served with congealed pork blood cubes for added flavor and depth.

READ MORE: A Guide to The Best of Hue Food and Authentic Restaurants

Bun Bo Hue Recipe – How To Make Hue Style Noodles

Ingredients For The Broth

Ingredients Broth Bun Bo Hue Noodles by Authentic Food Quest
Different meats used for the broth

Sate Sauce or Spicy Condiment 

Ingredients Saté Bun Bo Hue Recipe by Authentic Food Quest
Spices for the bun bo hue pho sauce
  • Annatto seeds
  • Fresh chilies
  • Ginger root
  • Lemongrass
  • Chili powder

Garnishes and Other Ingredients For Bun Bo Hue

Ingredients Bun Bò Hue by Authentic Food Quest
The finishing touch for Bun Bo Hue recipe

Bun Bo Hue Recipe Tips

Recipe Tips Bun Bo Hue Ingredients by Authentic Food Quest
You can save time by cooking in an instant pot

When making this Hue spicy noodle soup at home, here are some tips to make the cooking process easier. 

  • Speed up with an Instant Pot – The soup broth flavor in this recipe comes from simmering the meats with lemon grass. For the pork bones, meat, and beef bones to soften, it might require 2 to 3 hours. Cut the time in half using an instant pot or a pressure cooker. The result is the same.
  • Use Hue-Style noodles – This Bun bo Hue recipe calls for thicker Hue-style noodles than the typical vermicelli noodles found in Vietnamese cuisine.
  • Bun Bo Hue Soup Base (optional) – Using Bun Bo Hue soup base is an option and can be a time-saver. To make an authentic Bun Bo Hue, we provide the necessary steps and ingredients in this recipe.

Bún Bò Huế Recipe Substitutions

Asian Market Hue Spicy Noodle Soup by Authentic Food Quest
Bun Bo Hue ingredients and meats at the market in Hue

The best place to find the ingredients for this noodle soup recipe is at an Asian markets or ethnic grocery stores. Some mainstream grocery stores with a robust Asian section may also have some of the ingredients. However, if you have difficulty finding some of the ingredients, you may;

  • Use purple cabbage instead of banana blossom – Banana blossoms also known as banana flower, grows at the end of a banana cluster. It can be hard to find banana blossoms if you are unable to find any, use purple or red cabbage instead.
  • Vietnamese Hue-style pork sausage – Finding Hue-style pork sausage is difficult outside of Vietnam. While it adds flavor to the Bun Bo Hue broth, we can make the recipe without it. In this simple recipe, we do not use Vietnamese sausage and the bold and delicious flavors remain the same.
  • Congealed Pork blood – Finding and cooking pork blood cubes can be challenging for some people. In this recipe, we use pork blood as it is traditionally used in Vietnam. Feel free to skip the congealed pork blood when you make this Bun Bo Hue recipe at home.

Bun Bo Hue Step by Step Instructions

Slow Cook the Meats

After rinsing and thoroughly cleaning the meats, add to water and allow to simmer for about 3 hours, until tender. Discard the water and any bones that may fall out. Chop into pieces and set aside.

Prepare the Sate Spicy Condiment

Cut up the onions, lemongrass, and chili to make the sate sauce. Add to a skillet along with oil and annatto seeds. If you prefer a spicy soup adjust the amount of chili.

Cook Noodles and Assemble Soup

Cook the Hue-style noodles following the package instructions. With all the ingredients already prepared, place the warm noodles in a bowl. Add cut-up slices of brisket, pork leg, and oxtail along with pork blood. Add condiments and garnishes and top with hot noodle soup.

Noodle Soup Bun Bo Hue Recipe by Authentic Food Quest

Bun Bo Hue Recipe: How To Make Authentic Hue Spicy Noodle Soup

A bold and flavorful soup, this Bun Bo Hue recipe is for one of Vietnam’s most famous soups, rivaling Pho. It's a rich and soulful soup loaded with tender slices of beef and pork and fragrant herbs. With each exceptionally delicious bite, you’ll find yourself craving this Hue-style noodle soup even more.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 6
Calories: 1184kcal
Author: Authentic Food Quest


For the broth

For the sate sauce or spicy condiment

Garnishes and other ingredients 

  • 400 g Hue-style rice noodles
  • 1 Banana flower or small red cabbage
  • 400 g Congealed pig’s blood frozen
  • 1 handful mint leaves  fresh
  • 10 chili peppers
  • Sprouted beans optional


For the broth

  • Clean and rinse the oxtail, pork leg, and brisket under plenty of running water. Place in a large broth pot and cover with water over high heat. You will see a dense foam beginning to form on the surface; remove as much foam as possible.
  • After about 10- minutes, turn off the stove and place the meat in a colander; discard the cooking liquid; and rinse again.
  • Using a blunt object hit the lemongrass stalks or cut them a little to extract the flavors. Peel the ginger root and cut it into large pieces.
  • Place the meat in a large pot with about three liters of water, the chicken cubes, fermented shrimp sauce, lemongrass, ginger, and half a teaspoon of salt.
  • Cook for approximately three hours on medium heat. Remove the meat from the pot when it is soft and tender. Cut it into pieces.
  • Keep the hot broth and discard any bones that fall off.

For the sate sauce or spicy condiment

  • Peel and thinly slice onion. Slice the lemongrass stalks into circular pieces. Slice the fresh chilies, if you like spice, leave the seeds; if not, remove them. Peel and crush the garlic.
  • Pour vegetable oil into a small sauce pan with the annatto seeds. Cook for about five minutes until the oil turns deep orange.
  • Allow the oil to cool down for a few minutes and then strain it through a metal strainer to remove the annatto seeds. Keep oil and set some aside. Discard the seeds.
  • In the same small sauce pan, fry onions, chili peppers, lemongrass stalks, and minced garlic.
  • Add strained oil to the pot. Add peeled and grated ginger, a teaspoon of chili powder, and salt to taste. Feel free to adjust the seasoning to taste. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Place about 2 to 4 tablespoons of sate sauce in a glass bowl and set aside for serving.
  • Add the rest of the sate sauce to the large pot with soup broth where you cooked the meat.
  • Cook sate sauce with soup broth for about 20 minutes until the hot broth has a robust orange color.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Garnishes and other ingredients 

  • Wash the banana flower very well; rub your hands with cooking oil to protect them from the flower sap. Remove the purple flower petals one by one. Between the petals, you will find the pistils; separate them so you can use them to serve the soup. Inside each small flower is a harder petal. Remove it as well. When you have used up the purple petals, slice the heart of the banana flower, it is the edible part (but this should be done only when serving because they tend to darken).
  • In another pot of water, cook Hun Bo Hue noodles according to the package instructions.
  • Cut the pork blood into cubes and place into pot with water. Cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat. If you cook it over high heat, it can disintegrate.

Assemble the noodle soup

  • Divide the Bun Bo Hue noodles and place them in the bottom of the bowls.
  • Add thinly sliced pieces of pork and beef to each bow. Add pork blood pieces.
  • Using a ladle, fill each bowl with hot Bun Bo Hue broth
  • Garnish with pieces of banana blossom, chili peppers, fresh herbs, lime wedges and bean sprouts.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.


Feel free to adjust seasonings and spice levels using fermented shrimp paste, chilies, and chili powder.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 1184kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 84g | Fat: 61g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 275mg | Sodium: 628mg | Potassium: 1081mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1275IU | Vitamin C: 177mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 11mg
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10 Comments on “Bun Bo Hue Recipe: How To Make Authentic Hue Spicy Noodle Soup”

  1. 5 stars
    It is so fascinating learning to make cuisine from other cultures and countries! Thank you for all the interesting background information on this soup.


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