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noodles being held by chopsticks in a bowl of beef soup with onions and fresh herbs

Bun Bo Hue (Vietnamese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup)

Bun Bo Hue is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has a deep, rich broth made of beef and spices, served with slices of beef and pork along with some fresh herbs.
Course Soup/Stew
Cuisine Vietnamese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 1230kcal


  • Large pot or Dutch oven


  • 2 pounds beef shank
  • 2 pounds beef short ribs
  • 1 ½ pounds pork bones any kind
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 6 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 6 ounces Vietnamese meatballs
  • ½ pound Vietnamese sausage
  • 14 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Thai Basil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • ½ cup sliced red onion

Vietnamese sate sauce (below)


  • Add the pork bones, short ribs and beef shank to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • While the meat is simmering, cut the stalky ends off the lemongrass and peels away the outer leaves. Trim the top so you have about 8 inches of lemongrass. Halve it then using the back of a knife, bruise it.
  • Drain and rinse the bones and meat to remove the impurities and blood. Scrub them well to get them clean.
  • Place the meat back in the pot and add the broth, lemongrass, coconut sugar, pineapple, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce and onion. Add water until the bones are almost fully covered.
  • Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and cover, simmering on low for 4 hours. Remove from heat.
  • Strain the broth through a cheesecloth lined strainer and set the meat aside. Reserve the meat and broth separately.
  • Pull the meat off the bones and set aside to serve in the soup. Keep the broth warm over low heat while you finish any other prep.
  • Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and divide into bowls.
  • Add the broth, sliced meat, fresh mint, cilantro, Thai basil, red onion and a squeeze of lime juice. Spoon in the sate sauce to taste and enjoy!

Vietnamese Sate Sauce:

  • Add the shrimp paste, fish sauce, shallot, garlic, chilies and MSG to a food processor and pulse until a paste is formed. Set aside.
  • Add the oil to a skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add the annatto seeds and fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Discard the annatto seeds.
  • Add the oil back to the skillet and heat to medium-low heat. Add the puree and fry for 2-4 minutes, until it becomes fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Store in a covered jar in the fridge for 4-6 weeks.


  1. Rinse/scrub the bones well after the initial simmer to ensure all the impurities are removed. This will ensure your broth is nice and clear.
  2. Substitute oxtail for the short ribs if desired.
  3. Add additional Thai chilies to the sate if you'd like a spicier sauce.
  4. Traditionally, Bun Bo Hue is served with pork blood, but I'm not a huge fan so I omitted it. You can buy if from many Asian markets.
Make Ahead: Make the broth in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze it until ready for use. You can do the same with the meat. You can also make the sate up to a month in advance and store it in a covered container in the fridge.


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 1230kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 242mg | Sodium: 2424mg | Potassium: 1392mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 11140IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 10mg