In all the food tours I’ve done, people invariably ask about where to get a good pho in here in Da Nang. I am happy to recommend a great spot. But I always feel compelled to explain that Central people don’t eat much pho, In fact, they don’t seem to care for it much. My customers are always surprised: “If they don’t eat pho, what do they eat?”
The short answer is, “lots of things,” like bún chả cá or bánh xèo. But I today I wanna talk about bun bo Hue, Vietnam’s “other” beef noodle soup. How is it different from pho, you ask? Don’t worry, I made a handy table to compare the two.
Bun Bo vs. Pho
|Bun Bo Hue||Pho|
|Noodles||round & thin||flat & thin|
|Meat||beef brisket, pork leg, congealed pig's blood||almost always beef, though sometimes chicken|
|Broth||beef shank, pork trotters, lemongrass||simmered beef bones, charred ginger, cinnamon, roasted onion, cardamon, star anise|
|Garnish||basil, bean sprouts, cilantro, sawtooth herb, squeeze of fresh lime, banana blossom, crushed chili||basil, bean sprouts, cilantro, sawtooth herb, squeeze of fresh lime, spring onion, pickled garlic, chili sauce|
|Eat with (optional)||baguette||fried breadstick|
Now that we’ve established how bun bo and pho are different, let’s get back to the topic at hand: bun bo Hue in Da Nang. Here’s what makes this particular bun bo shop special.
I like the beef in my bun bo Hue pretty rare and Ba Hich definitely nails it. The beef can get tough if it gets cooked too long. Here, grandma places raw beef in a bowl on top of the bun noodles, and pours boiling broth over the top.
Anyone who eats a lot of bun bo up in Hue will tell you that the the Hue basil has a unique taste. It’s hard to say what it is exactly; it’s just stronger, more floral somehow. Ba Hich orders basil directly from Hue to their shop here in Da Nang. You can definitely taste the difference!
After careful preparation, a very nice young lady delivers this to your table.
The bun bo Hue from Ba Hich has all the good stuff, including noodles, some blood cubes, crab balls, rare beef and of course the all-important Hue basil. Before digging in, toss in some more veggies, like banana blossom and bean sprouts. You’ll also want to squeeze in some fresh lime and add some chili if that’s your thing.
If you want to try some authentic bun bo hue in Da Nang, I highly recommend you check out Ba Hich.
5:30 am – 10 am every day (and they do sell out by 10 am)