Shortcut Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese Beef and Pork Noodle Soup)

  • Yield : 4 servings
  • Cook Time : 40m
  • Ready In : 50m
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  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, quartered
  • 4 stalks lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce, or more to taste
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar, plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 12 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
  • 8 ounces boneless top blade steak, connective tissue removed, meat sliced thinly across the grain
  • 1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • Serving suggestions: bean sprouts, mint leaves, basil leaves, thinly sliced red cabbage, lime wedges


Step 1

Cut the tops off the lemongrass stalks, about 6 inches from the base. Bruise the tops with something heavy, like a meat mallet, and reserve for the broth. Peel off 2 or 3 of the woody outer layers from the base stalks until you reach the smoother, more tender core. Roughly chop the stalks and put in a food processor along with the garlic and shallots. Pulse about 20 times until everything is finely chopped, but not a paste.

Step 2

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the chopped lemongrass mixture and cook until soft and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and stir for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 4 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened slightly, a spoon dragged across the pan leaves a trail and the oil is starting to separate from the solids. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the lemongrass mixture from the pan and reserve.

Step 3

Add the beef broth, 4 cups of water, and the bruised lemongrass tops to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until it tastes like lemongrass, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 4

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the vermicelli noodles. Cook, stirring periodically, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain very well and divide among 4 large soup bowls.

Step 5

Add the remaining tablespoon fish sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 3/4 teaspoon salt to the beef broth. Remove the lemongrass tops. Add the steak slices and gently simmer until no longer pink, about 2 minutes.

Step 6

Top each bowl with slices of cooked beef, the white onion and cilantro. Pour hot broth into the bowls to completely cover the noodles.

Step 7

Serve with the reserved lemongrass-chile mixture and suggested garnishes on the side.

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