Bun Bo Hue Dong Ba is the perfect place for a meal before or after (or during) a concert at the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music right next door.
The restaurant has the name of Dong Ba, a famous market in Hue where delicious traditional snacks have been served for decades.
Bun Bo Hue (a beef noodle soup that is one of the most famous of Hue's classic dishes) is the restaurant's specialty.
The soup fills the air with the uplifting fragrance of boiled lemon grass, a natural herb that helps fight colds, fevers, and the flu.
But as this is not Central Vietnam, the Bun Bo Hue served at Dong Ba is not spicy at all. Here, the sliced chilies and lemons are on a condiments tray at the table for the customer to use at their own discretion.
Food from central Vietnam is always spicer than in the south.
A bowl of Bun Bo Hue (a large for VND40,000 and small for VND30,000) includes thin-sliced boiled beef, a small round piece of shrimp pie and long piece of rich and flavorful pork pie.
The ingredients are arranged in a bowl on top of white noodle in delicious brown-red soup made from cow bone and lemon grass. There are also spring onions and sliced onions dashed across the top.
But the most important ingredient is the Mam ruoc, a fermented fish sauce cooked into the broth that gives the soup its pungency.
BUN BO HUE DONG BA
110 A Nguyen Du street,
District 1, HCMC
Each bowl of Bun Bo Hue is served with a dish of herbs and thin sliced morning glory and banana flower. You can have it served freshly to enjoy the crunchy taste or you could ask the waiter to boil the herbs and to have a softer taste.
The restaurant also serves Banh Canh ca loc cha cua (Banh Canh noodles with Loc fish and field crab pie) and different kinds of Hue rice cakes including Banh Beo, Banh Nam, Banh Loc, and Banh It (VND38,000 for a large order and VND28,000 for a small).
Some special drinks such as seaweed juice and Rau Ma (Pennywort, which help to cool down the body), as well as coconut, passion fruit and pineapple juice are also available.
Sometimes the service is slow, but the restaurant is always crowded because the Bun Bo Hue is so good.