The 10 Best Bún Bò Huế Spots in Ho Chi Minh City

Bun bò Huế and its garnishes
Bun bò Huế and its garnishes | © Kars Alfrink / Flickr
Piumi Rajapaksha

Considered one of the best noodle soups in the world by the late Anthony Bourdain, bún bò Huế is a spicy broth of beef, rice noodles and chilli. This delicious bowl originated in the Imperial city of Huế, during the reign of the Nguyen dynasty from 1802 till 1945. Luckily, you don’t need to head to Huế to find this meaty dish – try it at these 10 spots in Ho Chi Minh City.

From recipes that remain true to the original, to those tailored to sweeter southern Vietnamese tastebuds, here are the top 10 spots in Saigon where you can find a nice big bowl of bún bò Huế.

1. Bún bò Huế Đông Ba

Restaurant, Vietnamese

Oily & spicy
© Alpha / Flickr

One of the longest standing bún bò Huế spots in Ho Chi Minh City, Bún bò Huế Đông Ba has been serving fresh bowls since the 1920s. In a city where establishments close regularly, this is an amazing feat. They have been serving the same consistent recipe: considered a family secret, passed down through generations. The restaurant is not fancy by any means, but that does not deter the loyal clientele who have been dining here over the years. Thanks to its central location, you can enjoy a lunch here after visiting the Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral.

2. Bún bò Huế Nam Giao

Restaurant, Vietnamese

A hearty meal
© Alpha / Flickr

Bún Bò Huế Nam Giao started as a small humble vendor on Bùi Viện street and thanks to its delicious take on the classic soup, the venue has now expanded into a decently-sized restaurant. The broth is definitely the star, thanks to the generous use of lemongrass and shrimp paste. You’re given a variety of additional greens and condiments to mix with your bowl – just be careful on the number of seemingly harmless green chilli slices you put in. Besides good bún bò, this place also serves great mì quảng, another central Vietnamese speciality. Due to the size of your bún bò Huế though, Culture Trip recommends you go a second time to try their mì quảng, when your belly is less stuffed.

3. Bún Bò Huế 31

Restaurant, Vietnamese

Standing out on Mac Dinh Chi street thanks to its big red sign, Bún Bò Huế 31 may look a bit old and worn down, but this is only because it has been at the exact same location for almost 30 years. Nothing about the bún bò can be faulted here – the portions are huge, with generous amounts of ingredients and at the right amount of spicy. The pork knuckle is melt-in-your-mouth tender. Ask for “tô đặc biệt đủ thứ,” and you will get a big bowl full of all the ingredients in the shop. You can even watch as the chefs cook up your meal behind a screen.

4. Bún bò Chú Há

Restaurant, Vietnamese

Located on the intersection of Võ Văn Tần and Nguyễn Thượng Hiền street, this restaurant is half indoors, half outdoors – with the outdoor bit being just a small mobile cart, proudly displaying all the ingredients used to make a bowl of bún bò. It’s extremely fun watching the owner make the dish, as she throws in a chunk of noodles, some herbs, veggies and meat into a bowl, and then pours piping hot broth over it. There is no need for additional garnishing here as the broth is made to perfection. The real highlight in this bowl is the hunk of oxtail. Tender with a slight lemongrass flavor, you’ll likely find yourself asking for seconds.

5. Bún Bò Tây Lộc

Restaurant, Vietnamese

Sometimes you will find blood cubes served with your bun bo
© thatwelike / Flickr

There’s no need to travel all the way to Huế to find a Huế-style bún bò. The owner of Tây Lộc is from Huế, and she has carried her family recipe hundreds of miles all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City. Located in the less busy side of District 1, the bowls served here spare no expense. As meaty as a bowl of bún bò can get, it’s still surprising how cheap it is. A bowl and a drink is approximately VND $48,000 ($2 USD), making this spot great at the end of the month when you’re running low on cash.

6. Bún Bò Út Hưng

Restaurant, Vietnamese

Bun bo Hue and its garnishes
© Kars Alfrink / Flickr

A favourite among locals near and far, Bún Bò Út Hưng is extremely lively during opening hours. The bún bò served here is cooked following a special recipe from An Cựu, an old village in Huế – but that is the only information let on by the staff. The broth here is wonderful: a smooth beef flavor with red oil flakes floating about and salted to perfection, with a slight lemon tinge.

7. Bún Bò Hẻm

Restaurant, Vietnamese

As the name suggests, this bún bò joint is located in an alleyway off Trần Quang Diệu street (“hẻm” in Vietnamese means “alleyway”). Once located in Lý Chính Thắng street, thanks to their success, they were able to move to a bigger space. Still no fine dining experience though, but you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious hearty bowl of bún bò after exploring the tourist attractions in District 3. Besides bún bò, you can find other specialities from Huế on the menu. You will notice the flavors are slightly altered to suit the tastes of the Ho Chi Minh City dwellers – less spicy and sweeter.

8. Bún Bò Xưa

Restaurant, Vietnamese

One of the more upscale venues in this list, Bún Bò Xưa is a great place to enjoy this classic dish. An air-conditioned venue decorated to look like a house from the Vietnamese countryside, with bamboo chairs and tables, wooden doors and windows, and village music played on speakers, the experience of eating a bún bò here is unmatched. The menu not only serves bún bò, but a variety of other Vietnamese dishes, and there is also an extensive drinks and dessert menu. This joint is open all day and night, meaning it’s a great place to stop at after a heavy night out.

9. Bún Bò Huế Hạnh

Restaurant, Vietnamese

The noodles used for Bun bo Hue is thick and slippery
© irrational_cat / Flickr

Bún Bò Huế Hạnh is the most popular bún bò spot in Tan Binh district. Started 30 years ago by a Huế native, the recipe here stays true to the original bún bò found in its city of origin. Attentive and quick service, with affordable prices and delicious bowls made using fresh ingredients, you can’t go wrong choosing to dine here.

10. Bún Bò Sông Hương

Restaurant, Vietnamese

With six locations in the city, Bún Bò Sông Hương is one of the most popular spots in Saigon for this dish. Despite its popularity, don’t expect anything fancy – it’s a typical Vietnamese restaurant with small stools and tables, often full, with people eating in a hurried manner. The portions served are large, with big chunks of meat and a large helping of noodles. Served with this is a basket of greens and sauces, but make sure you taste the broth before you add any other condiment. It’s good as it is.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article