The Bun Bo Hue chay, healthy and homey Vietnamese vegetarian dish with stylish taste

Bún Sả Huế at Hoa Nguyên vegetarian restaurant. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English

The way to my heart? Bun Bo Hue, of course

Vietnamese spicy beef noodle soup, or Bun Bo Hue chay, gets me every time.

During the summer, when it’s hot, humid or dry, I eat this tasty soup to raise my body temperature and be in sync with the weather. During the winter, I eat it to keep warm. In other types of weather, I eat it to satisfy my craving for comfort and home.

I can eat it any time in any place.

But there’s a problem with the meat-based version of Bun Bo Hue: It can be very fatty. Since pig’s trotters, beef bones and beef shank are simmered for hours to extract the flavor of those meats, the final broth is hearty and sumptuous.

I always opt for the vegetarian Bun Bo Hue, however.

Bún Bò Huế vegetarian styles at Mai’s kitchen. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)
Bun Bo Hue vegetarian at Au Lac. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)
Bun Bo Hue vegetarian at Bo De Tinh Tam Chay. (Photo: Titi Mary Tran)

This style of the soup is made from different roots, fruits and herbs. And the flavor can vary depending on the region of Vietnam from which the cook originates.

But basic ingredients such as lemongrass, apples or pears, carrots and red pepper flakes are musts. Keep in mind that the soup isn’t Bun Bo Hue if it isn’t spicy and lemon-grassy. And it’s easy to find since it has become a staple dish in Vietnamese vegetarian restaurants in Little Saigon.

Here are some Vietnamese vegetarian restaurants in Orange County that serve my favorite Bun Bo Hue soup:

Mai’s kitchen, Westminster

An Lac Duyen, Garden Grove

Au Lac, Fountain Valley

Bo De Tinh Tam Chay, Westminster

Bo De Vegetarian Food, Garden Grove

Golden Flower Veggie, Westminster

Hoa Nguyen, Westminster

Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, Garden Grove

Nhan Duc Hanh, Westminster

Pho Veggie, Anaheim

Quan Long Hoa, Westminster

Thien Dang Vegetarian, Garden Grove

Happy dining!