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90-Minute Vegan Bun Bo Hue

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

Bun Bo Hue is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes. It tastes perfect on a cold day, the broth is full of flavor, and I would argue that it's better than pho (I know, controversial opinion). If pho is the only Vietnamese noodle dish that you've had, you've got to try out this bun bo hue!

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Bun Bo Hue

Broth Ingredients

  • 3 cups vegetable broth or vegetarian bouillon

  • 8 stalks lemongrass, dry leafy parts cut off and roots smashed

  • water, to cover lemongrass and fill pot

  • 1 large onion, halved with peel on

  • 2 tbsp fermented soybean paste

  • 1/3 cup sugar or brown sugar

  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2-5 tbsp salt (adjust to taste)

  • 2 tsp MSG (or mushroom seasoning)

  • 1 tbsp annatto seeds or ground annatto

  • 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

  • 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced (or 1/4 onion thinly sliced)

  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (add extra for more spice)

Toppings & Finishes

  • fried tofu and/or vegan beef slices

  • banana flower, sliced

  • bean sprouts

  • mint/basil

  • cabbage, sliced

  • Bun Bo Hue noodes (thick rice noodle sticks)

  • lemon slices


  1. Bring pot of water to boil. Then add bun bo hue noodles and boil for 20 minutes (prepare other ingredients in the meantime). Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

  2. In a large stockpot (around 6qt), add vegetable broth, lemongrass, and onions. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium low to allow the broth to simmer for 1 hour.

  3. Remove solid parts from broth. Add soybean paste, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and msg to the pot. Continue to simmer broth for 15 minutes.

  4. In a medium-sized pan, pour in canola oil. Bring the heat to medium high. Add annatto seeds and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2-3 minutes then remove solids.

  5. Pour annato oil into broth. Add fried tofu and/or soy beef slices. Simmer for another 15 minutes.

  6. Turn off heat. Remove tofu and mushrooms from broth and set aside to serve.

  7. In a bowl, add noodles and toppings. Then pour in your broth to bowl. Squeeze some lemon juice on top.

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe can be completed in 90 minutes if you are short on time, but ideally you would leave the onions and lemongrass to simmer for at least 2 hours for maximum flavor (the longer the better)

  • If you are really short on time, you can use a bun bo hue soup base. I love this brand because their bases are so flavorful (they're a well-known name in Vietnamese households). You can check out my review of them here.

Don't forget to tag us on Instagram if you end up making this. We love seeing your creations.


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