Move over Pho, Make Room for Bun Bo Hue
I was only recently introduced to Bun Bo Hue which is a flavorful spicy Vietnamese noodle soup. It was a cold day and my coworker was craving Bun Bo Hue (at the time I didn’t even know the name of the soup). I was open to trying it so halfway through our walk, we called in our order to Tay Ho in Oakland Chinatown and picked it up to have back at the office. To our dismay, it was not the spicy noodle soup, it was Pho. Although this was one of the best Pho I have ever had (their broth is amazing), I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t having my first Bun Bo Hue.
I kept thinking about the Bun Bo Hue and decided to pick one up to have for dinner a few days later. My friend already vouched that Tay Ho has the best and I did enjoy the Pho very much so I returned to get the right thing this time around. The broth was in one container, the round rice Vermicelli noodles and meats in another, and a baggie held the fresh vegetables that included, sliced cabbage, lettuce, mint, and lime. I dumped everything in my bowl, had my chopsticks in my right hand and my soup spoon in my left.
My first slurp of noodles and soup was heavenly. From my understanding, the broth is made from beef and lemongrass. It also has a mild kick to it. The variety of protein included beef stew, beef tendons, and fish cakes. God, this was good!
Today my friend and I traveled to Little Saigon in San Jose to have Bun Bo Hue. We heard that this place by the name Bun Bo Hue An Nam is excellent. Although we arrived after 2pm, it still required a fifteen minute wait. In this version, the noodles were slightly thicker, the meats were chunkier, but it tasted fairly similar. I did remove the congealed pig blood. This is a normal item in Bun Bo Hue, but lucky for me, Tay Ho left it out the first time I had it. Next time I have to remember to tell them to omit it.
I like Bun Bo Hue much better than Pho mostly because the flavor of the broth is more unique and I like the slippery round noodles. For me, Bun Bo Hue is making Winter a lot more bearable. Bun Bo Hue is pure comfort and I am hooked.