Are you wondering what the difference is between Pho and Bun Bo Hue? I’m going to talk through the ingredients, the preparation, as well as nutritional comparison between both of these very popular Vietnamese dishes.
Both Pho and Bun Bo Hue are very popular soup noodle dishes that originate from Vietnam. They are similar dishes because they have a rich broth that is drenched with noodles and topped with fresh herbs, however the differences reside in what makes up the broth and the types of noodles that are used in the dish.
Pho and Bun Bo Hue vary due to the main protein that is used to make the stock as well as the seasoning in each of the dishes, which provide a large variation on how both soup noodles taste.
The Difference Between Vietnamese Pho and Bun Bo Hue
Pho is an iconic noodle soup made with broth cooked with beef bones with an array of spices with rice noodles topped with sliced beef, fresh herbs, and bean sprouts. Bun Bo Hue is noodle soup with a robust, spicy broth made with vermicelli rice noodles.
While both dishes seem similar, Pho generally uses a broth made from beef or chicken stock whereas Bun Bo Hue has a pork broth based with ingredients that make it spicier and saltier than Pho. Pho uses flat rice noodles whereas Bun Bo Hue uses vermicelli round rice noodles.
Both Bun Bo Hue and Pho demands a lot of time to prepare the broth in order to allow the flavor to develop.
While everyone knows about Pho, Bun Bo Hue is a hidden Vietnamese dish that has yet to “make it” in American mainstream cuisine.
Flavor Profile of Vietnamese Pho
Pho is a soup made with broth cooked from beef bones, simmered for as much as a day for a robust broth made with garlic, star anise, clove, and cinnamon topped with Thai basil, mint leaves, lime, and bean sprouts.
Flavor Profile of Vietnamese Bun Bo Hue
Bun Bo Hue is a multi-faceted soup that starts with pork and beef bones with it’s broth flavor made with lemongrass, annatto, shrimp paste that includes vermicelli rice noodles topped with herbs, a lime, and sliced beef brisket.
Everything You Wanted to Know About These Popular Vietnamese Soup Noodle Dishes
Pho originated in the northern city of Hanoi and has been adapted across the country as it’s popularity grew. There are various versions across Southeast Asia.
The broth is made from simmering beef bones, garlic, star anise, charred onions, clove, and cinnamon.
In it’s most basic form, Vietnamese pho in is made of a bowl of rice noodles, topped with thinly sliced raw beef, which is cooked when ladles of beef broth is poured on top.
Once served, it is garnished with fresh herbs, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, and other fresh herbs.
Translation of Pho
Pho refers to the flat rice noodles, not the soup.
Bun Bo Hue
Bun Bo Hue originated from Hue a central city in Vietnam. The broth of Bun Bo Hue is made from beef and pork bones.
Bun Bo Hue is made by simmering pork and beef bones that is then seasoned with lemongrass, fermented shrimp paste, sugar, and annatto seeds. It is served with vermicelli noodles that is then topped with beef brisket, cha lua, Thai basil, wedges, banana blossom, and bean sprouts.
Translation of Bun Bo Hue
Bun Bo Hue translates to beef noodle soup from Hue.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pho and Bun Bo Hue
Is Pho the same as Bun Bo Hue?
Pho is a different dish than Bun Bo Hue. Pho is a beef or chicken broth noodle soup.
What is healthier – Pho versus Bun Bo Hue?
Pho has 450 calories in one bowl. Bun Bo Hue has 850 calories in one bowl.
Both Pho and Bun Bo Hue are delicious and very popular Vietnamese dishes that are both savory and delicious. Married with umami of the caramelized beef stock, both broths have very aromatic and complex flavor profile.
I hope this provides you with some thoughts of these very popular soup noodle dishes and that you’ve learned the differences between Pho and Bun Bo Hue. The next time you head into your next local Vietnamese restaurant, you’ll know exactly what to order!
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