Pho may be Vietnam's most famous export, but the country's noodle soup repertoire is vast and delicious. Embark on a culinary journey across Vietnam as we uncover the unique flavors of these regional specialties.


The Northern Staples

  • imageBun Thang (Hanoi): A symphony of flavors! Rice noodles in a delicate broth with chicken, egg, pork, and a touch of shrimp paste for complexity.
  • Bun Rieu (Nationwide): Crab lovers, rejoice! Tomato-infused broth, rice noodles, fluffy crab meatballs, and fresh herbs create a tangy, satisfying dish.
  • Mi Van Than (Quang Ninh): Seafood shines in this yellow-hued soup. Egg noodles, shrimp, wontons, and a rich, slightly sweet broth will tempt any pescatarian.


Central Vietnam's Fiery Flavors


  • Bun Bo Hue (Hue): Spice alert! Lemongrass and chili dominate this beef noodle soup. Thick rice noodles and blood jelly add unique textures. Not for the faint of heart.
  • Mi Quang (Hoi An): Turmeric-stained rice noodles, a small amount of intensely flavorful broth, and an array of toppings like pork, peanuts, and quail eggs.
  • Cao Lau (Hoi An): Thick rice noodles with a slightly smoky broth, resembling Japanese udon in texture. Topped with roast pork and fresh herbs, it's a regional favorite.


The Mekong Delta's Bounty


  • Hu Tieu (Southern Region): Clear, sweet pork-based broth with endless variations. Find it with everything from seafood to offal, showcasing the region's diverse ingredients.
  • Bun Mam (Soc Trang): An acquired taste, with fermented fish broth creating a pungent, salty flavor. For adventurous eaters seeking truly unique flavors.


How to Order Like a Pro

  • Learn the Names: Knowing the soup's name helps in smaller towns.
  • "Combo" Option: Many places offer "mixed" bowls with various meats and toppings.
  • Spice Level: Say "không cay" (no spice) if you're heat-sensitive.
  • Condiments are Key: Lime wedges, chili sauce, and fresh herbs let you customize.


Tips for Your Noodle Quest

  • Street Stalls are Superb: Some of the best soups are found on sidewalks.
  • Regional Specialties: Seek out dishes specific to the area you're visiting.
  • Beyond the Soup: Many stalls offer other delights like grilled skewers or sweet desserts.