Bun Bo Nam Bo is a very mouth-watering vermicelli noodle dish served with stir-fried marinated beef, shortly known as stir-fried beef noodles. This popular food item has been introduced well from north to south Vietnam and is best well known in the capital Hanoi.
Bun Bo Nam Bo
Literally, Bun Bo Nam Bo means beef noodles of the southern region, but until now there is no certain information about the origin of this dish. Many assumed that this noodle originated from the south of Vietnam, while some others agreed that it came from Hanoi and served in southern style: dry noodle without broth. Whether from north or south, Bun Bo Nam Bo is still a typical Vietnamese noodle dish that was once recommended among the top 10 must-try food in Vietnam by CNN.
Regardless of the time, Bun Bo Nam Bo is chosen as the main dish for all meals of the day. Diners can enjoy it at breakfast, lunch or dinner time. By simple, a bowl of this noodle makes eaters not too full but easy to digest, also not too fatty like many other dishes.
1. Ingredients of Bun Bo Nam Bo
Nowadays, Bun Bo Nam Bo has many variants, but in general, it is still consistent with the processing and includes ingredients such as rice vermicelli noodle, stir-fried beef, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, fried shallots, fresh herbs, pickled papaya or carrot. Unlike other types of noodles, in which broth is indispensable, Bun Bo Nam Bo needs a special kind of sweet and sour fish sauce which is akin to a “bun cha” sauce.
Bun Bo Nam Bo is sometimes considered as a noodle salad because it is essentially a fascinating mix of healthy materials with very little fat or oil involved. All those ingredients together maintain the balance of the dish, green, fresh and sweet taste which is so perfect for hot summer days.
2. How to make Bun Bo Nam Bo
Making Bun Bo Nam Bo is not complicated as the ways to cook Bun cha, Cha ca or Pho. It is almost the most simple as if the ingredients are all prepared, it is very easy to get a meal ready for the whole family.
For the noodle: There are two main different kinds of Vietnamese rice noodles: bun and pho. Just like their names, they are used in different dishes. With Bun Bo Nam Bo, of course, you use “bun” which is small round fibers, the same as the one for “bun cha”. The fresh noodles can be bought easily in the marketplaces, while in the supermarkets, you will find dried noodles. If so, boil them up and drain out the water as the instructions on the package to have available noodles for Bun Bo Nam Bo.
For the beef: Thinly slice the beef then well season with soy sauce, oyster sauce (or fish sauce), sugar, pepper, and finely chopped garlic. After 30 minutes, stir-fry the beef on high heat and cook to just done. The beef should be soft with the naturally sweet taste and no fat grease. In restaurants, only when customers make orders, the cook will stir-fry the beef to keep the freshness and sweetness in each bite. Many cooks also stir-fry the beef with bean sprouts for a better taste.
With the fish sauce, dissolve the sugar with a sufficient amount of warm water, then add in the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, pepper, and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil for seconds to make all ingredients incorporated. The amount of each depends on your reference and the fish sauce brand you choose. If you enjoy Bun Bo Nam Bo in some restaurants, you may find it a little different from each other due to the flavor of the mixed fish sauce as each place has its own secret recipe in making the sauce that captivates every gastronome.
To prepare a serving bowl of Bun Bo Nam Bo, place the lettuce first, then rice noodles and beef. Top with fresh herbs, pickled carrot and papaya, bean sprouts, fried shallots, and roasted peanuts. Finally add 2-4 tablespoons of the fish sauce as your taste. Before you eat, just mix all together and enjoy!
3. Best restaurants to enjoy Bun Bo Nam Bo - Where to go?
As mentioned, Hanoi is the best place to enjoy Bun Bo Nam Bo with the authentic and original taste. If you travel to the south of Vietnam, ask for “bun bo xao”, meaning noodle with sauteed beef. Or you can also try another version with pork called “bun thit nuong” in Vietnamese restaurants. The following addresses are preferred suggestions for diners looking for Bun Bo Nam Bo in the capital Hanoi.
Bun Bo Nam Bo Bach Phuong - Hang Dieu, Hanoi, Vietnam
Bun Bo Nam Bo Bach Phuong has long been a familiar address to diners due to the sweet and sour taste of the accompanying fish sauce and the fragrant fried beef pieces. Everything from noodles, meat, and vegetables is mixed well to create delicious and full bowls of Bun Bo Nam Bo. The delicacy of Bun Bo Nam Bo Hang Dieu lies in the harmony between flavors and the careful preparation of the cook.
Address: No. 67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Open time: 7.30 - 22.30
Prices: 60,000 - 70,000 VND
Bun Bo Nam Bo Co Tuan - Tran Quoc Toan, Hanoi, Vietnam
Bun Bo Nam Bo Mrs. Tuan is a long-standing eatery that is well known by both local people and travelers. The eatery opens all day from morning to night and the peak time is at noon when diners sit side by side both in the house and the sidewalk. The beef there is soft, moderately chewy, and retaining the freshness of the meat. Fresh noodles and other ingredients are mixed well with sweet and sour fish sauce creating a very interesting and wonderful taste of Bun Bo Nam Bo.
Address: No. 49C Tran Quoc Toan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Open time: 06.30 - 21.00
Prices: 40,000 - 60,000 VND
Bun Bo Nam Bo - Ta Hien, Hanoi, Vietnam
The next suggestion is an indispensable address for foodies located right on Ta Hien, the western street in the crowded and bustling Hanoi Old Quarter. In addition to the basic materials such as fried onion, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, etc., Bun Bo Nam Bo at No. 7 Ta Hien has a few more pineapple slices. This is also a unique feature that makes this eatery different from others.
Address: No. 07 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Open time: 08.00 - 19.00
Prices: 35,000 - 50,000 VND
Bun Bo Nam Bo - Chua Lang, Hanoi, Vietnam
Bun Bo Nam Bo at 79 Chua Lang is an interesting combination of sweet and sour fish sauce, along with soft beef, fresh raw vegetables, fragrant fried shallots, and crispy roasted peanuts. Right when entering the restaurant, diners will feel surprised at the decorations inside. The atmosphere is nostalgic with antennae head TVs, cassette speakers, and old wooden furniture that makes you feel like coming back to the 1980s.
Address: No. 79 Chua Lang, Dong Da, Hanoi
Open time: 7.00 - 23.00
Prices: 45,000 - 60,000 VND
If you happen to be in Hanoi these days, let take a walk around the ancient streets of Hanoi Old Quarter and stop at a local restaurant for a delicious bowl of Bun Bo Nam Bo while resting your legs. The easier and more convenient way to enjoy Bun Bo Nam Bo is taking our Hanoi street food tour that our friendly local tour guides will take you to the hidden gems to savor the authentic and original taste of Hanoi street food. Also get inspired by our ready-made Culinary Tours if you get into Vietnamese cuisine, or contact our INSIDE TRAVEL Expert Team for a completely tailor-made holiday itinerary in Vietnam.