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Tet 2017


Bún Bò Huế - The Best Soup In The World

The spicy noodle soup known as Bun Bo Hue is a must eat in Hue Vietnam. Our top priority in Hue, the historic city in Central Vietnam near the DMZ (demilitarized zone), was to eat a good bowl of Bun Bo Hue (or Bún bò Huế as the Vietnamese spell it.) After a couple false starts of good but not great bowls of the spicy noodle soup, we finally ate the real deal for breakfast at Bo Hue Quan Cam. This popular stall has limited hours and closes when the soup is gone, so soup lovers need to get there early. One whiff of the savory brew and you will know you’re at one of the best restaurants in Hue.
What’s the Difference between Pho and Bun Noodles?

Bun Bo Hue has a spicy broth and noodles shaped like vermicelli. The difference between pho noodles and bun noodles is that pho is flat like fettuccine whereas bun is cylindrical like spaghetti. Traditional versions of Bun Bo Hue feature beef shank and gelatinous pig blood. Yes, pig blood. Flavors are deep and rich, providing a satisfying meal that will fill up most diners for several hours. Plus, it’s typical for Hue restaurants like Bo Hue Quan Cam to serve heaping plates of fresh herbs along with the soup.

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Receiving the multifaceted brew of pork broth, pork balls, vermicelli-like rice noodles and, many times, congealed pork blood, is just part of the Bun Bo Hue fun. Augmenting the soup with the assortment of herbs, banana blossom and hot chili flakes is a freewheeling exercise. 

Hue Beyond the Spicy Noodle Soup

When you visit Hue, you visit a land where war ghosts and royalty intermingle on the perfume river and haunt the landscape. There is no other Vietnamese city that can claim a more unique food identity with dishes that originated in the royal court of the former Vietnamese capital. Crunchy Banh Khoai, a taco-like pocket of meat and veggies coexists alongside silky cups of Banh Beo, delicate mouth sized rice cakes topped with dried shrimp and pork cracklings, not to mention satisfying bowls of Com Hen, a rustic home-style blend of rice, clams and pork cracklins (It seems they love pork cracklins in Hue.) Add the popular Bun Bo Hue soup to the mix, and the royal city may possess one of the most varied, original food scenes in all of Southeast Asia.

Exploring Hue… and Beyond

For Many Americans (us included), Saigon is the first city that pops to mind when the Vietnam War is mentioned. But, in reality, many of the crucial battles of the ill-fated war were fought in Vietnam’s tumultuous center. The DMZ line that divides what used to be the separate nations of North Vietnam and South Vietnam lies just an hour north of Hue, with the Perfume River separating battle lines during the 1968 Têt Offensive – the battle that opened the world’s eyes to the complicated nature of the Vietnam conflict.

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In fact, round concrete structures that housed much of the U.S. artillery used in the ill-fated war still stand today. We traveled throughout the DMZ to hills that held artillery positions which guarded much of the highlands around the Perfume River. Many say that landmines still dot the landscape. In other words, hiking the Central Vietnamese countryside unguided around the outskirts of Hue may be a life-risking activity but a great adventure.

The history of Hue is as complex as the spicy noodle soup that bears its name. The noodles convey the deep history of its earth and the rice fields that cover its landscape. The spicy broth simulates the hot sweat of Hue’s people, a people with a strength that carries them through the heat and volatile Vietnamese weather. The pigs blood (in our opinion, a necessary Bun Bo Hue ingredient) provides the bloody taste of Hue’s turbulent, war-torn history. This is a city where foes sat face to face, struggling through the inconceivable death and destruction that war brings.

A soup like Bun Bo Hue symbolizes the importance of cuisine in times of war and peace. Plus, it tastes good. Bun Bo Hue Quan Cam is located at 38 Trần Cao Vân, Phú Hội, tp. Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế, Vietnam.

Explore and enjoy the culture, cuisine and landscapes of Vietnam through the magazine viettravelmagazine.com
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Item Reviewed: Bún Bò Huế - The Best Soup In The World Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nga Đỗ
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