Does Bun Bo Hue Have Shrimp? Unveiling the Truth About This Popular Vietnamese Dish

Bun bo Hue is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup that is known for its spicy and savory flavors. However, there is some confusion over whether or not the dish contains shrimp. Some people claim that shrimp is a key ingredient in the soup, while others argue that it is not traditionally included. So, does bun bo Hue have shrimp?

The answer to this question is not straightforward. Some versions of the soup do include shrimp, while others do not. The recipe for bun bo Hue can vary depending on the region of Vietnam where it is made, as well as the personal preferences of the cook. Some recipes call for shrimp paste or dried shrimp to be added to the broth, while others do not use any shrimp at all. Ultimately, whether or not you will find shrimp in your bowl of bun bo Hue will depend on where you order it and who is making it.

What is Bun Bo Hue?

Bun Bo Hue is a popular Vietnamese soup that originates from the city of Hue in central Vietnam. Hue was the former capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty, and the royal court played a significant role in the development of the dish.

Bun Bo Hue is a spicy and flavorful soup that typically contains beef, pork, and rice noodles. The soup is traditionally made with beef shank, pig’s feet, and lemongrass, which give it a unique and aromatic flavor.

The origins of Bun Bo Hue can be traced back to the royal court of Hue, where it was served to the royal family and their guests. Over time, the dish became popular among the local population and spread throughout Vietnam.

Today, Bun Bo Hue is enjoyed by people all over the world, and many restaurants and food stalls serve their own variations of the dish. While some versions of the soup may include shrimp or other seafood, the traditional recipe does not typically include these ingredients.

Overall, Bun Bo Hue is a delicious and satisfying soup that is beloved by many. If you have the opportunity to try it, we highly recommend it!

Ingredients and Broth

Ingredients and Broth
Ingredients and Broth


Bun Bo Hue is a Vietnamese soup that is known for its flavorful broth. The broth is made from a combination of beef and pork bones, which are simmered for hours with lemongrass stalks, onion, shallots, ginger, garlic, spices, and annatto seeds. This gives the broth a rich, earthy flavor and a deep red color.

Other key ingredients in the broth include shrimp paste and fermented shrimp paste. These ingredients add a distinct umami flavor to the soup and are commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine. Sugar and salt are also added to balance out the flavors.

Other Ingredients

In addition to the flavorful broth, Bun Bo Hue also contains a variety of other ingredients that give the soup its unique taste and texture. These include:

  • Noodles: Vermicelli rice noodles are typically used in Bun Bo Hue. They are thin and translucent and have a slightly chewy texture.
  • Beef and Pork: Beef brisket, pork shanks, and pork hocks are commonly used in the soup. The meat is cooked until it is tender and falls off the bone.
  • Bean Sprouts and Banana Blossom: Bean sprouts and banana blossom add crunch and texture to the soup.
  • Herbs: Cilantro, mint, and green onion are added to the soup for freshness and flavor.
  • Vegetables: Red and purple cabbage, banana flower, and perilla are also commonly used in Bun Bo Hue.
  • Spices: Lemongrass, shallots, ginger, and garlic are used to flavor the soup.
  • Condiments: Chili oil, cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage), pork blood, blood cake, and fermented shrimp are often served on the side for diners to add to their soup as desired.
  • Sate Sauce and Paprika: These ingredients are sometimes added to the soup for a spicy kick.
  • Lime Wedges and Fish Sauce: These are served on the side for diners to add to their soup as desired.

Overall, while shrimp is not a key ingredient in Bun Bo Hue, the soup contains a wide variety of other flavorful and aromatic ingredients that make it a beloved dish in Vietnamese cuisine.

How to Make Bun Bo Hue

How to Make Bun Bo Hue
How to Make Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue is a delicious Vietnamese soup that is known for its spicy and flavorful broth. While it traditionally contains beef and pork, some variations also include shrimp. Here’s how to make your own version of Bun Bo Hue with shrimp:



  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound of beef shank, cut into small pieces
  • 1 pound of pork shoulder, cut into small pieces
  • 1 package of Bun Bo Hue seasoning
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 8 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vermicelli noodles
  • Bean sprouts
  • Lime wedges
  • Thai basil
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeno peppers


  1. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add the beef and pork and cook until browned on all sides.
  3. Add the Bun Bo Hue seasoning and stir to combine.
  4. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until they turn pink.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Simmering the soup for a long time is key to developing deep layers of flavor. The longer you let it simmer, the more flavorful it will become. Be sure to stir occasionally and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.

Bun Bo Hue Seasoning

Bun Bo Hue seasoning is a blend of spices and herbs that gives the soup its signature flavor. You can find it at most Asian grocery stores or online.


As the soup simmers, you may notice some scum rising to the surface. This is normal and can be skimmed off with a spoon.

Deep Layers of Flavor

To achieve deep layers of flavor, it’s important to brown the meat before adding the seasoning and water. This will create a rich, caramelized flavor that will infuse the soup with deliciousness.

With these tips, you can make a delicious bowl of Bun Bo Hue with shrimp that will satisfy your cravings for something spicy and flavorful. Serve with vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, lime wedges, Thai basil, cilantro, and jalapeno peppers for the ultimate experience.

Serving and Eating Bun Bo Hue

Serving and Eating Bun Bo Hue
Serving and Eating Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue is a hearty and flavorful soup that is typically served in a large bowl with a variety of toppings. When it comes to serving and eating Bun Bo Hue, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the most out of this delicious dish.

How to Serve Bun Bo Hue

When you order Bun Bo Hue at a restaurant, you will typically be presented with a large bowl of steaming hot soup, along with a plate of toppings. These toppings can include bean sprouts, mint leaves, Thai basil, green onions, red cabbage, purple cabbage, and banana flower.

To start, you can add some of these toppings to the soup. Bean sprouts and mint leaves are particularly popular choices, as they add a refreshing crunch and a burst of flavor to the soup. Thai basil is also a great option, as it has a slightly sweet and spicy flavor that pairs well with the rich and savory broth.

You can also add a squeeze of lime juice to the soup, which will help to brighten up the flavors and cut through the richness of the broth.

How to Eat Bun Bo Hue

To eat Bun Bo Hue, you will need a pair of chopsticks and a spoon. Use the chopsticks to pick up the noodles and meat in the soup, and use the spoon to scoop up some of the broth.

Make sure to slurp the noodles and broth together, as this will help to mix the flavors and create a more satisfying eating experience. Don’t be afraid to make a little bit of noise while you eat – in many cultures, slurping is a sign of appreciation for the food!

Overall, Bun Bo Hue is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for a cold day or whenever you’re in the mood for something hearty and flavorful. With the right toppings and a little bit of practice with the chopsticks, you’ll be able to enjoy this soup like a pro in no time!

Does Bun Bo Hue Have Shrimp?

Variations of Bun Bo Hue
Variations of Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue is a Vietnamese soup that is known for its spicy and savory flavors. It is typically made with vermicelli noodles, beef, and pork, but there are many variations of this dish that use different ingredients to create unique flavors. One of the most common questions about Bun Bo Hue is whether or not it contains shrimp.

While shrimp is not a traditional ingredient in Bun Bo Hue, some variations of the dish do include it. Some recipes call for shrimp paste, which is made from fermented shrimp and adds a rich umami flavor to the broth. Other variations may include whole shrimp, either cooked or raw, as a topping or garnish.

In addition to shrimp, there are many other ingredients that can be used to create different variations of Bun Bo Hue. Lemongrass, annatto seeds, and Vietnamese ham are all common ingredients that add depth and complexity to the broth. Pork knuckles and blood cake are also often included in the soup, adding a rich, savory flavor and a unique texture.

One of the things that makes Bun Bo Hue so delicious is the deep layers of flavor that are created by using a variety of spices and seasonings. The soup is typically quite spicy, with a combination of chili peppers and other spices that give it a complex, fiery flavor. It is also often sweet and sour, with a balance of flavors that is both refreshing and satisfying.

Overall, there are many different variations of Bun Bo Hue, each with its own unique combination of flavors and ingredients. Whether you prefer a spicy, savory broth or a sweeter, more complex flavor, there is sure to be a version of this delicious soup that you will love.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is shrimp commonly used in Bun Bo Hue?

Yes, shrimp is a common ingredient in Bun Bo Hue. However, it is not a required ingredient, and some recipes may omit it.

What are the typical ingredients in Bun Bo Hue?

Bun Bo Hue typically includes rice vermicelli noodles, beef shank, pork hock, lemongrass, shrimp paste, and a variety of herbs and spices. Other common ingredients include pork blood cubes, beef tendon, and pig’s feet.

How spicy is Bun Bo Hue usually?

Bun Bo Hue is known for being spicy, but the level of spiciness can vary depending on the recipe and the chef. Some versions may be milder, while others can be quite hot.

What is the origin of Bun Bo Hue?

Bun Bo Hue is a traditional Vietnamese soup that originates from the city of Hue in central Vietnam. It is believed to have been created by the royal chefs of the Nguyen dynasty.

Where can I find the best Bun Bo Hue in my area?

The best place to find Bun Bo Hue will depend on your location. You can try searching for Vietnamese restaurants in your area or asking for recommendations from friends or online forums.

What is the traditional way to serve Bun Bo Hue?

Bun Bo Hue is typically served with a side of fresh herbs and vegetables, such as bean sprouts, lime wedges, and sliced jalapeños. Diners can add these ingredients to the soup to customize the flavor and texture to their liking.

About Mai Tran

As Mai Tran, the author of the Bunker Vietnamese website specializing in Vietnamese food, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all my readers. Growing up in a Vietnamese household, I have always had a deep appreciation for the rich and diverse flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. Through my website, I aim to share my passion for cooking and my cultural heritage with the world. From traditional recipes passed down through generations to modern twists on classic dishes, my website is a celebration of the vibrant and delicious world of Vietnamese food. Join me on this culinary journey and discover the beauty and complexity of Vietnamese cuisine.

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