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Bowl of spicy beef noodle soup from above.
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5 from 3 votes

spicy beef noodle soup

Vietnamese inspired beef noodle soup.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Course: Main
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bun bo hue, vietnamese beef noodle soup
Servings: 2
Calories: 731kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


The broth

  • 3 lbs meaty beef ribs About 4 good sized ribs.
  • 6 cups chicken stock no sodium
  • 2 stalks lemongrass well-bruised
  • 1-2 large shallots
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp gia vi bun bo Hue spice mix from your Asian grocer (or see in the text above for ingredients). You likely won't need all of it.
  • 2 tbsp reserved beef fat skimmed from the broth
  • salt to taste creep up on it. Probably somewhere between 1/2-1 tsp total.

Spicy beef noodle soup

  • 6 oz rice noodles
  • 6 oz sirloin Chinese fondue beef. Leftover prime rib is good here too.
  • 6 oz reserved rib meat if you choose to use it.
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion thinly sliced
  • culantro, basil, cilantro, red chili slices and bean sprouts to garnish
  • lime, hoisin and sriracha to serve


Make the broth

  • Roast the beef ribs in a 325 degree oven for around 30-40 minutes. You want them to brown up a bit.
  • Bruise the lemongrass. Cut it in half and whack it repeatedly with the dull side of a big knife until it starts to break open.
  • Combine the roasted ribs (or leftover ribs from a rib roast), lemongrass, chicken stock, star anise, black cardamom, shallots and fish sauce in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook until the beef separates easily from the bone. This takes 90-120 minutes or so.
  • This next step is optional. If you like the textured bits in pho (like tendon) then go for it. If you prefer just sliced beef then leave the meat on the bones and continue simmering. Your broth will be beefier for it.
  • Remove the ribs from the pot. Let cool slightly. While you are at it remove everything except the shallots from the pot.
    Once the ribs have cooled enough to handle remove the meat and refrigerate. Return the stripped beef bones to the pot and continue simmering for a total of 4 hours. If your beef took 2 hours to get tender simmer for another 2 hours.
    Or, if you don't want the more interesting bits then just skip this step. Leave the beef on the bones but do remove the lemongrass, star anise and cardamom.
  • After 4 hours, remove the beef bones. Strain. Add enough water or stock to bring the total volume back to 6 cups. Refrigerate briefly. You want the fat to set up. There's too much at this point. Once the stock is chilled skim off the fat. Keep it handy though. Don't throw it away.
  • Return the skimmed stock to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust for salt.
  • Add three tablespoons of fat to a small sauce pan or frying pan. Heat over medium low heat. It will sputter for a bit as the water boils off. You should have enough fat. If you don't make up the difference with vegetable oil.
  • Add the bun bo Hue spice to the pan. Stir to coat the spices in oil and fry gently for about 30 seconds. Let this cool briefly and add about a tablespoon of the spice/fat mixture to the broth. Be careful. Hot fat into stock can bubble a bit. Taste and decide if it's spicy enough. If not, add a bit more and taste again. Once you have the salt and spice right your broth is done. Keep warm.

Prep the rice noodles

  • Soak the noodles in cool water for 30 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a brisk boil. A pasta pot works really well here. The type with the built in colander.
  • Add the pre-soaked noodles to the boiling water. Stir.
  • Start checking the noodles after around 30 seconds. You want them a little bit toothy. This can take a minute or so.
  • Remove the noodles from the hot water. Rinse with cold water. Keep the hot water handy.

Assemble the soup

  • Bring the broth back to a lively simmer.
  • Put the noodles back into the hot cooking water to warm through. This takes under 30 seconds if the water is still hot.
  • Divide the noodles into two bowls. Add the beef, green onions, shallots and red chili slices. Pour half the piping hot broth into each bowl.
  • Mix equal portions of hoisin and sriracha in a small bowl. Garnish with herbs and bean sprouts. Season with lime. Dip your beef into the hoisin/sriracha mixture for a little extra flavour. Enjoy.


Serving: 2g | Calories: 731kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1889mg | Potassium: 1473mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 7mg