When traveling in Vietnam, Vietnamese food is something you have to try. Why? Because there are a lot of good dishes in Vietnamese cuisine, especially Vietnamese soups. Below are the top 5 Vietnamese noodle soups that are delicious and popular in Vietnam, from the North to the South.
Phở Bò (or Pho Bo) probably is the most famous Vietnamese noodle soup that foreign tourists know. However, it has a shorter name which is Pho. Pho was originated in Nam Dinh province (in the North of Vietnam). After that, Pho became popular in Hanoi as well.
Pho Bo consists of broth (pho soup), soft rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, sliced onions, and green onions. The pho broth is made from beef bones, pork bones simmered in about 10 to 12 hours, together with spices such as cinnamon, star anise, roasted ginger, clove, and coriander seeds. Fish sauce and sugar will also be added to the broth.
It is not as easy as it sounds to make pho soup because you need to watch the beef broth to make sure that it will not be boiled. Otherwise, the broth will not turn out clear and might have some overcooked flavor.
Nowadays, you can easily eat Pho at any local restaurant in Vietnam. Vietnamese people can eat Pho for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or whenever they are hungry.
Bánh Đa Cua is a traditional dish from Hai Phong City, which is about 100km far away from Hanoi. This noodle soup has red noodles, minced pork wrapped in piper lolot leaves, crab brick, vegetables such as water spinach, and herbs. The noodles are red because they put the Gac fruit into the rice flour.
Local people usually eat Banh Da Cua with sliced lettuce, bean sprouts, and some other fresh herbs.
As you can guess from its name, the Hue beef noodle started in Hue province in the central area of Vietnam. Hue beef noodle is different from the beef noodle soup from Nam Dinh and Hanoi. The noodles are round like stick noodles (bún) in the Hue dish but not flat as the pho noodles. In addition, the soup includes pig's hooves, a pig's blood cube, sliced beef, onions, and other herbs. The Hue beef noodle has a sweet and salty taste.
When eating Bun Bo Hue, Vietnamese people usually dress some lime juice, add bean sprouts and pickled shallots to the soup. As same as with Pho, you can eat Bun Bo Hue at any time in the day.
When you travel in the Central provinces such as Nghệ An, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, you can try the thick noodle soup which is the traditional food here. The noodles are thick because they are made from tapioca flour or a mix of rice and tapioca flour.
There are different versions of Bánh Canhdue to the different ingredients served with the noodles:
Hủ Tiếu is popular in Southern Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh City (or Sai Gon). It can be served as noodle soup with hot broth or mixed dried noodles. Basically, Hủ Tiếu consists of white rice noodles, pork bones, shrimp, and green onions. In addition, fresh herbs are usually served with a bowl of Hu Tieu.
The Southern Vietnamese noodle soup usually tastes sweeter than the noodles in the North or the Central.
Bun Thang is a Hanoian noodle soup. It includes rice noodles (bún), sliced pork or Vietnamese sausages, tared chicken, thinly sliced fried egg, herbs, and broth. Laksa leaves, as known as Vietnamese coriander, are added to the soup too. The original version of Bun Thang also includes shrimp paste (mắm tôm). However, the shrimp paste might have a strong flavor, so you should ask the seller not to put the shrimp paste in.
Bun Rieu Cua is popular in the river delta area in North Vietnam, including Hanoi, Hai Duong, Hai Phong. The soup has a nice flavor with tomato broth, crab brick, fried tofu, rice vermicelli, deep-fried onions, and herbs. Making this recipe takes less time than cooking Pho because the broth doesn't need to be simmered.
Fresh vegetables such as lettuce, Thai basil, red shiso, and sliced banana blossom will be set aside with Bun Rieu Cua.
Pho Ga is also a popular Vietnamese noodle soup nationwide. It has soft noodles like in Pho, but with chicken instead of beef. To make the broth, people simmer the chicken bones and pork bones for a long time to create a sweet and nutritious soup. Lime leaves are sliced very thinly and then added to the soup when serving it.
Love Vietnamese food? Learn some Vietnamese phrases below to help you order the traditional Vietnamese noodle soups:
You can learn more phrases for eating out in Vietnam and practice speaking the phrases with the Ling app. In addition, it has fun mini-games that will entertain you.