Updated: Feb 23
Want Vietnamese soup without spending hours making the broth? Vietnamese supermarkets have entire aisles dedicated to instant soup bases. Here's a quick review of Quoc Viet Foods's bún bò huế soup base!
We love making broth from scratch. It's truly a labor of love, and simmering the ingredients for several hours creates complex flavors that can't be replicated from a soup base.
That being said, sometimes we don't have the time or energy to purchase ingredients, prepare them, and watch a pot for over an hour (in the case of Vietnamese broths, it could easily be at least 2 hours). The quick and easy solution is to use soup bases.
Not all soup bases are created equal! Have you ever been to a restaurant, and the broth tasted watered down? That is a poorly prepared (and diluted) broth with a base that's most likely lacking in flavor.
Quoc Viet Foods is a company that's based out of Southern California, and they specialize in making soup bases. This company has become a common name in Vietnamese households. When they reached out to us, we were ecstatic because there were some soup bases we hadn't tried before (plus it was pretty cool talking to a company that I grew up knowing).
We received a bún bò huế base and a canh chua base, but today we're focusing on just the bún bò huế (BBH). Our first impression was that the base had such a vibrant color (of course it has to be for BBH). One of the characteristics that surprised me the most was the texture because it wasn't as powdery as I thought it would be. I've tried their Vietnamese curry base, and it was more dry while the BBH base is a bit moist and clumpy (most likely from the lemongrass oil).
Now the part that you've probably been waiting for: how does it taste? We're happy to say that it tastes like the real-deal. As a vegan, I'm happy to have a quick alternative to spending hours on a broth. You might be thinking, "Ok, but Vivian's tastebuds have lower standards because she hasn't tasted meaty BBH in forever." Well, Bao (who is an omnivore) eats BBH pretty often, and it received his seal of approval!
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Here's how we prepared our instant bún bò huế:
Bring a pot of water to boil
Add 1 tsp of base to every cup of water (more if you want a stronger/saltier broth)
Prepare your BBH noodles (either dry or fresh)
Add noodles to bowl, then pour broth over the noodles
Top off with your veggies.
It takes less than 20 minutes (or under 10 minutes if you buy fresh noodles). This instant broth has our seal of approval!
You can purchase your own vegan soup bases at Vietnamese supermarkets, or visit Quoc Viet's site here. Use promo code FRONDANDFRAME for 5% off your order!
If you want to make your own vegan bún bò huế broth from scratch, check out our recipe.
What other vegan products do you want us to review? Let us know in the comments!