Six Versions of Bun Rieu in Ho Chi Minh City that Mesmerizes Food Lovers

Bun Rieu, or bun noodles with a sour soup and freshwater or seafood, is an irreplaceable part of Vietnamese cuisine. Coming to Ho Chi Minh City, tourists can also enjoy many flavorful but no less tasty variations. Read on to find out what they are!
August 16, 2021 | 12:04
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Bun Rieu with dried shrimp and pork cracklings (Bún riêu tôm khô tóp mỡ)

As its name implies, the dish’s major ingredients include dried shrimps, tomatoes and pork cracklings. In some restaurants, the chef also adds different versions of pork paste such as cha chien (fried pork paste), cha lua (steamed pork paste) and cha que (roasted pork paste with cinnamon), depending on the requests of the customers. Even though it has simple ingredients, Bun Rieu with dried shrimp and pork cracklings, with its rich history, has become a favorite of generations of Saigonese. The broth, made from dried shrimp that is washed carefully and cooked until soft, is clear and full of umami goodness. Side dishes include shredded morning glory and banana flowers, beansprout and fresh herbs. Customers may also add shrimp paste, lime juice or chilly, depending on their taste.

Six Versions of Bun Rieu in Ho Chi Minh City that Mesmerizes Food Lovers
Bun Rieu with dried shrimp and pork cracklings. Photo: @foodholicvn/Instagram

Bun Rieu without snails or crab (Bún riêu không ốc, không cua)

Ben Thanh Market’s special version of Bun Rieu attracts visitors with its clear, bright yellow and flavorful broth. According to the food stall’s owner, Bun Rieu at the stall does not use pork paste, crab or snail but meatballs, soft duck blood puddings, hot tofu and a mixture of tamarind juice and chilly sauce. Visitors to Ben Thanh adore the dish for its flavors. The dish can be eaten as is without adding any additional seasonings.

Six Versions of Bun Rieu in Ho Chi Minh City that Mesmerizes Food Lovers
Bun Rieu without snails or crab. Photo: VnExpress

Bun Rieu with octopus (Bún riêu bạch tuộc)

Bun Rieu with octopus acquires its unique flavor from the use of thoroughly cooked octopus perfectly balancing between chewiness and crunchiness, combining with other ingredients such as pork paste, blood pudding, crab, fried tofu and a flavorful, clear broth. Shrimp paste is often added to the dish to enhance its flavor.

Six Versions of Bun Rieu in Ho Chi Minh City that Mesmerizes Food Lovers

Bun Rieu with octopus. Photo: @fyuichi/Instagram

Bun Rieu with sea crab and sautéed snails (Bún riêu cua biển, ốc xào)

Bun Rieu with sea crab and sautéed snails are cooked with sea crabs instead of freshwater crabs. The dish does not contain blood pudding and fried tofu, only sea crab paste, grilled crab paste mixed with dried shrimp and mushrooms, steamed pork paste, snail, tomatoes and scallions. The rich sea crab mixing with snails sautéed in shacha sauce are considered the highlights of the dish, brought to a whole new level by adding grilled crab paste. The flavorful broth is a favorite of many food lovers, adorned by the spiciness from the snails sautéed in shacha sauce.

Six Versions of Bun Rieu in Ho Chi Minh City that Mesmerizes Food Lovers
Bun Rieu with sea crab and sautéed snails. Photo:@karla.foodblog/Instagram

Bun Rieu with boiled fertilized duck egg (Bún riêu trứng vịt lộn)

Bun Rieu with boiled fertilized duck eggs is garnished with pork cracklings, fried tofu, pork paste, scallion and fried shallots, served with a flavorful broth. Fertilized duck egg is boiled until cooked. The richness of the egg brings a new twist to the traditional dish but may drive away those who are hesitant to eat fertilized ducks. Bun Rieu with boiled fertilized duck eggs is served with a variety of vegetables such as lettuce, banana flowers and fresh herbs. When eating, customers may also add kumquat juice, fresh chilly and shrimp paste or mix their own dipping sauce to their liking.

Six Versions of Bun Rieu in Ho Chi Minh City that Mesmerizes Food Lovers
Bun Rieu with boiled fertilized duck egg.Photo: Vi Yen

Bun Rieu with duck meat (Bún riêu vịt)

Bun Rieu with duck meat is mesmerizing with its rich toppings, consisting of yellow boiled duck, blood puddings and fresh herbs. The dish does not use crab paste as the base but duck meat, dried shrimp floss and tomatoes. The duck meat has little fat, boiled until soft and prepared carefully so it does not have unpleasant odors. When dipping in a sauce made with fish sauce and ginger, the flavor of the duck becomes even more prominent.

Six Versions of Bun Rieu in Ho Chi Minh City that Mesmerizes Food Lovers
Bun Rieu with duck meat. Photo:PM FOOD TRAVEL/YouTube

Bun Rieu with duck meat uses two different types of blood pudding. In particular, huyết nếp (duck blood pudding with sticky rice), served as a side dish, is crunchy on the outside and soft inside, adding a fun variation to the dish. Customers can also order duck legs, heads or wings, depending on their tastes.

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