Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bun Bo Hue for Breakfast

Bun Bo Hue
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
Soup is an important breakfast food in Vietnam. The best known soup is called pho, which originated in the North, but has spread throughout the country with minor regional variations.

Another popular soup is bun bo hue which translates loosely as "beef soup from Hue". It's named after Hue in the sense that Buffalo chicken wings are named after the city of Buffalo. Like Buffalo chicken wings, bun bo hue is spicier than other similar dishes.

Bun bo hue is available in other regions and is often advertised alongside pho, but we wanted to try the real thing from Hue. Like all the hotels we stayed at, the Saigon Morin offered a full breakfast buffet, which had both pho and bun bo hue. We were there at the same time as a large group of tourist industry workers on an incentive trip, so the lines for pho and bun stayed much longer than when we were at places with a more Western mix of guests.

Passion Fruit
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
The fruit tray also offered a fruit we hadn't seen at the other buffets. This one is greenish on the outside with bright yellow juicy meat and a lot of seeds. We were stumped as to what it was until I e-mailed a link to the picture to the noodlepie guy who guessed that it was a passion fruit. Further web searching confirmed this.

Passion fruit juice was often available with breakfast along with papaya juice, mango juice, pineapple juice or lemon juice. Vietnamese lemon juice is not the concentrated tart cooking ingredient like in the US, but is a drink that is lighter and sweeter than American lemonade.

Fresh fruit was always available for breakfast. There was usually a choice of that could include pineapple, mango, lychees, rambuttans, grapefruit, or dragonfruit. The Saigon Morin was the only place that had fresh passion fruit as well.

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