Sunday, March 02, 2008

Bún bò Huế and Guong- January 16th

When we go over to my aunt's house, we usually have pho, vermicelli salad with spring rolls and beef/pork, or something else Vietnamese. Today happened to be bun bo hue and guong day. Once we got to my cousin's house, all you smell was a wonderful smell of soup. There was a slight sweetness in the air too. When I wandered off to check what smelt so good, I took this picture. It looks like there's a lot of grease, but it was only a thin layer. You might be wondering why the oil seems to be glowing. I wondered the same thing and asked my aunt... unfortunately, I forgot what she said.
Before the main course, we all had salad rolls (aka guong). We had a couple of fillings to choose from: cooked shrimp, this noodle thing with pork, vermicelli (not shown), lettuce, bean sprouts, basil and some other herb that smelt fishy.

To assemble your own salad roll, pick your fillings and place them near the bottom of one side of the softened rice paper. (I put some lettuce, the noodle thing with pork, and some vermicelli. I was told after I made it that if I wanted the noodle thing, then I was not to put the vermicelli and vice versa. Woops.) Once you've placed your filling, take the bottom of the rice roll and bring it over the filling.
Tightly roll the rice paper over the filling once, then fold in the sides so that the filling doesn't pop out.
Finish rolling up your salad roll - tightly. Now you're ready to dip in the fish sauce mixture and eat. The fun thing about eating these, is that they're so easy to make, and everyone can make their own. This is something nice and easy for the kids to make. Encourage them to make their own. The first picture is the finished product of our wrapping lesson.

I usually don't eat these because I'm not a big fan of it. I find them to be too plain. I was starving today, so I thought that I'd give it another shot. I also thought that guong was all that we were eating for lunch, and that the bun bo hue was for dinner. I wasn't thinking. I had made and consumed 3 rolls. Everyone else had 3 or more. It was surprisingly satisfying. I wasn't full at that point, nor was I hungry. I wasn't going to complain.

Then my aunt told us to stop making and eating so many salad rolls, and to save space for the bun bo hue. Oh boy. I get to eat the delicious smelling soup! My aunt had made the soup the previous night and had let flavours of the soup bloom by lightly simmering the soup all morning. That's why the house was filled with the smell of the sweet elixir. My aunt started cooking the noodles (they're like udon noodles) in boiling water, we started clearing the table, and set the table. Once the noodles were done, my aunt cranked the heat up for the soup and brought out the toppings from the fridge. On the plate there were: cubes of congealed blood, onions, processed meat, tendons, slices of meat and more tendons. There was also a small bowl of sliced green onions and cilantro. The soup started to boil and everything was ready.

Everyone took turns at filling their bowls of the noodles, their toppings and finally the hot soup. In my bowl, I just had some sliced meat and green onions. The soup was really good. My aunt chose not to make it spicy. The soup was sweet and favourful. I really enjoyed my two bowls of this stuff. It was nice that it wasn't pho or Phnom Penh noodles for once - not that I don't want them. I can't wait to have this again. It's definitely going on my "favourite" list of things to eat.



  1. Would be awesome if you can provide recipe for the broth! :)~~

  2. My aunt always makes it before we arrive. =[ I'd love to know how to make it, too.


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