This Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan) is one of my favorite noodle soup to order when eating out. The flavor is a combination of spicy, sour, slightly sweet, and savory – all in one dish.
In Malaysia, there are a variety of noodles dishes that I love for breakfast. Each one is unique and has its own amazing flavor and pairing ingredients. When I first had this Bun Bo Hue, it reminds me of Asam Laksa. It’s so hard for me to choose between Pho or this as they both have their own distinct flavor and gave me different satisfaction. If you like Pho for its warming and cozy feel, you’ll like this delicious one for its vibrant and spicy flavor.
Traditionally, this soup is made with meat but thanks to my friend for showing me a great way to make this soup flavorful using fruits and vegetables.
Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan) Key Components
Similar to a lot of Vietnamese soup, Bun Bo Hue is very special as it has its own distinction which means when you look at it, you’ll know it’s Bun Bo Hue. Here are some of the key components.
- Red color – Bun Bo Hue has its distinct red color broth that comes from being spicy and annatto oil. I made my annatto oil by simmering annatto seeds in oil until it releases the red color. Then, this oil is used to sauté the chopped lemongrass, leek, and the filling ingredients to give them that vibrant red color.
- Broth – Bun Bo Hue is spicy, but can be made mild and keep the same red color using the above annatto oil. To give the broth a sweet and sour taste, I’m using pineapple and apples. For the savory and sweet flavor, the ingredients are quite similar to my Vegan Pho which is daikon radish, jicama, carrot, leek, and onion.
- Garnish – I love Vietnamese soup because the garnish is unique to the soup. For Bun Bo Hue, you must pair it with the Vietnamese coriander (mint) or what we can daun kesum in Malay. It’s very citrusy and also the ingredient that gives the soup the tart taste. Other common ones include; thin shredded red cabbage and green cabbage, mung bean sprouts, banana blossoms, Thai basil, jalapenôs, and lime wedges.
- Noodles – Bun Bo Hue’s noodle is round and thick very similar to what we call Laksa noodles at home.
How to make Bun Bo Hue Chay (Vegan)
As with a lot of noodle soup, the most time-consuming part is making the broth but it’s also worth it. Making this broth is not hard, thanks to the combination of fruits and vegetables.
This broth uses a lot of lemongrass as that’s one of the main ingredients for a flavorful taste. Prepare the lemongrass and save the stalk for soup and the white part for the sauce. Repeat the same step for leek as well.
Place all vegetables, fruits, water, and a cube of rock sugar in a pot. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for an hour. You can also make this broth in an Instant Pot to reduce cooking time.
Meanwhile, prepare the annatto oil. Heat a small pot with oil, then add in the annatto seeds. Once the oil turns red, turn off the heat and discard the seeds.
Using the same oil, prepare the chopped white lemongrass and leek along with the filling ingredients. This step is to give the broth the color while season the filling.
Once the broth is ready, discard the ingredients, and season accordingly. Then place the cooked ingredients from above back into the broth and cook for another 10 minutes.
Prepare the noodles as directed and serve warm with the broth and garnish with the suggested herbs and vegetables.
Check out my other delicious Noodles soup
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Bún Bò Huế Chay (Vegan)
- ½ pineapple cut into large chunks
- 1 large jicama cut into cubes
- 2 Granny Smith apples seeds removed
- 1 Daikon radish roughly chopped
- 3 carrots roughly chopped
- 2 large leeks reserve the white part
- 10 stalks lemongrass reserve the white part
- 40 g rock sugar
- 20 cups water
- umami seasoning or mushrooms seasoning
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons Annatto seeds
- 5 tablespoons oil
- 14 oz firm tofu pressed, cut into cubes, and pan-fried
- ¼-½ cup white part of leek
- ¼-½ cup the white part of the lemongrass
- 1 cup King oyster mushrooms sliced
- 2 tablespoons chili flakes more for a spicier broth
- umami seasoning
Pairing Ingredients (Herbs and Garnishes)
- Thai basil
- Mung bean sprouts
- Shredded green cabbage
- Shredded purple cabbage
- Water spinach stems
- Green onions
- Vietnamese coriander
- Banana flower
- Jalapenô slices
Make the Broth
- Prepare the lemongrass; remove the outer layer, and finely chop the white part and reserve the stalk for soup. Repeat the same step for leek.
- Use the back of the knife or pestle to pound the lemongrass to release its flavor.
- Then, place all the broth ingredients in a large pot except the umami seasoning.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for an hour. Feel free to use an Instant pot to reduce the cooking time.
- When ready, discard the ingredients and season to taste (I used umami seasoning that's made from leek).
- Heat a small pot with oil. Add in the annatto seeds and stir until the oil turns red.
- Sieve to discard the seeds and reserve the oil for cooking.
How to prepare the filling ingredients
- Heat a small pan, add in the annatto oil, then sauté leek and lemongrass until fragrant.
- Add in the mushrooms, tofu, chili flakes, and season to taste.
- Transfer this mixture into the prepared broth and cook for another 10-15 minutes to release its flavor. You may reserve some filling as toppings as well.
How to serve
- To put everything together, cook noodles as directed and place them into a bowl.
- Ladle hot soup over the noodles and garnish with suggested pairings. Serve warm.