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Beef noodle soup in Hanoi and Saigon in the eyes of Hue people

In Saigon, many people prefer vermicelli with cooked meat, while the Hue people’s favorite bowl of beef vermicelli has rosy, red, and tender meat.

Bao Ngan, born in 1996, is a Hue person far from his hometown, currently living and working in Hanoi, sharing his feelings about his favorite food. In Hue, this noodle dish is called “bun bo” or “bun bo with pork”, while in Hanoi or other localities it is often called “bun bo Hue” to indicate its origin.

Ngan often goes to Thanh Cong food court to enjoy beef noodle soup. The first time she came here, she was impressed by the scent of lemongrass and fish sauce spreading from afar. Ngan once read somewhere that a delicious pot of vermicelli according to the standards of Hue people should have: “The broth is clear, with the sweetness of the stewed meat bones and the mild aroma of lemongrass with a very typical taste of the shrimp”.

The beef noodle shop in Hanoi has a broth that has been greatly reduced to suit the taste of the North. The shop uses beef bones and tendons for sweetness, while Hue people use pork belly and pork rolls. Therefore, the taste of traditional Hue beef noodle soup is usually sweeter and more salty and spicy. The bowl of vermicelli in Hue is usually half the size of a bowl of vermicelli commonly found in Hanoi. Accompanying ingredients such as crab cakes, blood… are also small, including vermicelli.

Beef noodle soup in Hanoi and Saigon in the eyes of Hue people
Beef noodle soup at Thanh Cong food court, Hanoi. Photo: Bao Ngan

In addition, the vermicelli here does not use crab cakes like in Hue but instead uses beef balls. According to the restaurant owner, Northern people often prefer beef, but crab cakes do not like it.

A full bowl of vermicelli at Thanh Cong costs 35,000 VND, including beef, beef balls, pork rolls, pork blood, and a rich sweet broth with a distinctive orange-red color. Diners can eat raw bananas, bean sprouts and herbs if desired. Pork rolls are well simmered, soft and tender when eaten.

As for Phuong Loan, born in 1999, a Hue native who has been studying in Saigon for 4 years now, she shared beef noodle soup as her favorite dish. When she went to school for 6 days, Loan ate bun bo in 6 mornings without any problems. know bored. Since coming to Saigon to study, she often finds noodle shops to eat to relieve her cravings. Going to many places, but Loan still finds that the noodle in Saigon is not the same as the bowl of beef noodle soup in Hue that I used to eat, but I still like this dish.

In Loan’s memory, the bowl of beef noodle soup in Hue is always fragrant with the smell of shrimp and lemongrass, some restaurants add pineapple when cooking to have a sweet taste with the broth from pork, sometimes adding beef bones. In Saigon, the broth is also stewed from bones, with alum sugar added, but the aroma is softer than in Hue.

The obvious difference is the beef vermicelli, the restaurant in Hue uses medium-sized vermicelli, not as big as in Saigon and not as small as the grilled pork vermicelli, in the bowl of vermicelli there will be crab cakes and blood served. . The bowl of vermicelli that Loan likes the most is thinly sliced ​​fresh beef and lightly marinated, when the customer calls, the new owner brings it back, the meat turns pink and soft to eat, adding a little green onion, a little cilantro and ground pepper.

The 31 beef noodle shop on Mac Dinh Chi Street, District 10 is famous for a long time in Saigon. Photo: Di Vy

“In Saigon, people often prefer Hue beef noodle soup with cooked and thinly sliced ​​meat, restaurants often replace crab cakes with silk rolls, tree rolls or beef balls unlike in Hue. I see fish sauce eaten with beef vermicelli. In the South, the taste is slightly sweeter and milder, in Hue, the restaurants serve salty fish sauce and sliced ​​fresh chili,” Loan commented.

The bowl of beef vermicelli is better when there are a variety of raw vegetables served such as lettuce, bean sprouts, cinnamon, sometimes with grated banana, and mixed lettuce. In Saigon, a few places sell beef noodle soup with spinach or lettuce, white cabbage, not as diverse as in Hue.

Bun bo in Saigon is usually full, priced from 40,000 VND to 50,000 VND / bowl, while in Hue, the price is cheaper from 20,000 VND to 25,000 VND, the central area is about 40,000 VND higher. In Saigon, people can eat beef noodle soup at any time of the day, morning, noon, afternoon, evening. As for Hue people, they often eat bun bo in the morning, in the afternoon they will prefer to eat Banh Chung. “In the rainy and cold season in Hue, in the early morning, visit a restaurant to eat a bowl of hot beef noodle soup, with both chili and hot pepper to warm everyone up,” Loan shared.

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