Bún Chả Huế Hue Noodle Soup – 350 of 365

Bún Chả Huế

Long ago I threw up the white flag of surrender in finding Hanoi style bún chả here in Saigon.  Perhaps a bowl of succulent pork belly and soft ground pork medallions just doesn’t exist south of the 17th Parallel mid Vietnam.

My never ending hunt for a decent plate of food led me to a new dish supposedly coming from a city near the 17th Parallel…Hue.  I had never before heard of a bún chả Huế until seeing it on the menu at a joint called Bun Bo Hue 3A3 and what 3A3 means I have no clue.  I can report this is nothing like a bún chả Hanoi, but I can also report it tasted good.  Rather than a bowl of grilled meats with a small amount of sweet and vinegary broth served alongside mounds of rice vermicelli and fresh herbs, this thing was an actual bowl of soup.

And rather than succulent grilled meats, slices of sausage made of pounded pork paste steamed in a banana leaf floated around a broth tinted red with annatto seed oil.  Yes, I rolled my eyes as I thought back to all that delicious bún chả in Hanoi I seriously crave.  Not that this was bad or anything, I just was hoping it would be somewhat close in concept to what I had envisioned.

As I dug deeper into the spicy broth and tasted the slightly sweet meats, I soon forgot all about Hanoi and its bún chả treats.  The shredded banana leaf flower and water spinach were thoughtful touches but neither adds much flavor to its accompanying food.  I dropped in a scorching chili pepper slice and that was the magic needed to break my forehead out in beads of sweat.  Now we’re talking.  A squeeze of lime gave everything a nice citrusy sourness and this soup hit the spot.

Would I eat it again?  Probably not…At least not when an entire country of more interesting cuisine awaits.  But since my never ending search for proper bún chả Hanoi in Saigon crapped out miserably yet again, at least this bowl of bún chả Hue was able to save the day.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

One Comment on “Bún Chả Huế Hue Noodle Soup – 350 of 365”

  1. November 5, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    I think you should give it another shot! It’s actually my favourite noodle soup. There’s a great little Hue restaurant down a lane on Le Thanh Ton behind Ben Thanh market.

    I love the website by the way; it’s a great concept. I’ve just moved back home from Vietnam… but I’m seriously tempted to move back. Websites like yours make that decision easier!

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