Simplified Hue Noodle Soup (Bun bo Hue)

viet beef

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a very productive week here, I’ve worked on many fun creative projects, preparing to start on a few exciting ones, even found time to do some bookkeeping (My absolute least favorite thing about running a small business). Since the week has been a busy one, at evening time I’ve been cooking dishes that take very little preparation time, or recipes I am very familiar with (Like sweet and sour fish that little girl requested a couple of nights ago). Hubby had mentioned he wanted to take us out to eat Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) if work let out early on Thursday, the lazy part of me thought that’s a great idea, the frugal part of me saw the beef stew meat we had in the fridge and decided to cook soup noodles in the crock pot and save $20 instead. Due to how simple this recipe is, guess both the lazy and frugal part of me won!


  • 4 lemongrass stalks (bottom 3 inches only), outer layers peeled
  • 1 pounds beef stew meat
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) chili garlic sauce
  • 1  teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package dried thin rice noodles (vermicelli-style)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup thinly shredded cabbage
  • fried tofu, cut into smaller pieces


Finely chop enough lemongrass stalks to measure 2 teaspoons. Cut remaining stalks in half. Place beef and stalks in large crock pot. Add broth and 4 cups water.

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add chili garlic sauce, paprika, and chopped lemongrass; sauté 1 minute. Add mixture to soup; mix in fish sauce, sugar, MSG, and salt. Cook in crock pot on high for 6 hours, skimming foam from surface from time to time. Add the fried tofu into broth about 1 hour before serving.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; rinse under cold water and drain again. Divide noodles into serving bowls. Top with beef soup, bean sprouts, green onions, and shredded cabbage.

I also cut up some Thai chili pepper and added them to 3 tablespoons of fish sauce. Once we added the noodle to the Beef soup, the taste did dilute a bit, so adding this hot fish sauce on top kicked it up a notch. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

23 Comments Add yours

  1. What a nice home cooked noodle soup! We go to eat pho like once a week or every other week. We love Vietnamse noodle which is so simple and delicious (as opposed to oily ramen). I love how you prepared this at home and save money. You are right. Eating out at Vietnamse noodle shop is the cheapest option but still it costs us $25 minimum for 3 bowls (imagine when each kid eats each bowl). Great choice and delicious noodle. Have a great weekend Cindy!

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Nami! There is a neighborhood pho place which we frequent quite often, though cooking this at home is cleaner and much much cheaper, looks like I will be making it on a regular basis!

      Hope you have a great weekend also, the rain finally left, it’s a blessing since Texas has been so dry, but I want to go out on the weekends and enjoy nice weather, so hopefully it will stay dry for a couple of days!

  2. I usually enjoy home-cooked meals the most. (And my wallet does as well. ;)) This one looks wonderful, Jeno!

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Kath! I’ve noticed while eating out on the weekends, I would try to really taste the food, unless they taste better than mine, otherwise the restaurant would be considered a dissapointment. Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Sissi says:

    Jeno, this soup looks lovely, delicious and not simplified at all (I cannot imagine how the not simplified version is complicated then 😉 ). I love pho soup too. I have never attempted making it on my own, but I always enjoy it in restaurants.

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Sissi for the kind words! The recipe really is simple, as long as you have all the ingredients. I love crock pot cooking, just throw everything together, 6 hours later we have a home cooked meal, easy and economical! Have a great weekend!

  4. I like the idea of transform the leftover dishes into something new! I sometimes also mix and match leftover dishes just so I can get rid of them:). The pho looks great!

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Yi, I normally don’t cook a lot so there’s normally only enough leftover for next day’s lunch boxes (and some scraps for my doggie). Hope you have a great week!

  5. Yum and easy 🙂 I know Mr Bao would love something like this for lunch ~ I don’t think I’ve heard or had ‘Bun Bo Hue’ before where does it originate from?

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Daisy! My hubby is from a small Vietnamese town of Hue, and this noodle soup recipe is originally from there. I’ve tasted my Mother In Law’s and it’s delicious, though I know she takes the whole day to cook it from scratch. This recipe is the much simplified version and pretty yummy too!

      1. Oh wow! Thanks for explaining cuz i really didn’t know anything about this 🙂
        You’re mother in law must make some amazing pho then! I love beef pho ~

  6. kankana says:

    Beautiful flavor combination and the soup sounds so comforting!

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Kankana, I plan to make this again very soon!

  7. hotlyspiced says:

    Oh, you just reminded me. I am so behind on my book-keeping! I’ll save that project for next week. That’s a great family mid-week meal and yes, good to use up what you have in the fridge.

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you Hotly Spiced! Oh boy do I hate bookkeeping, everytime the calendar reminder sents me an email I feel a sense of dread! Hope you are much better at it than I am!

    1. Jeno says:

      Thank you for the compliment!

  8. Christy says:

    I am sure your hubby’s appeased by this and totally forgotten about the going out to dinner part 🙂 Forget the lazy vs frugal match, this is one good bowl of noodles!
    I have yet to really try the authentic Pho; yeah, we have Vietnamese eateries here, but somehow, I just don’t find them authentic..just a feeling I have :p
    By the way, your little girl’s got good taste, I love sweet and sour fish too, YEAY!:D

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Christy! I think hubby and little girl enjoyed stay home and have a warm meal instead of going out, we do that every weekend anyway!

      There are several pho shops at Houston, I have no idea what authentic taste like, though I do like how light they are, yum!

  9. Shu Han says:

    oooh love it! it may not be authentic but it still sounds awesome to me; this recipe is perfect for a simple homecooked bowl of deliciciousness (:

    1. Jeno says:

      Hi Shu Han! Thank you! We had some soup noodle last night from the crock pot (pork stew), I just love a yummy crock pot dinner, so easy and satisfiying!

  10. wok with ray says:

    I would do exactly what you did, Cindy — being frugal that is. But I don’t think I can do this delicious looking Pho as well as you did. Thank you for sharing. I hope you are having a wonderful week! 🙂

    1. Jeno says:

      Oh C’mon ray, you are such a wonderful cook this dish should be way too easy to recreate, this is why it’s one of my lazy night’s go to recipe! Thank you for visiting and the compliment!

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