So spicy! But so great. This famous noodle soup from the Hue region packs a real flavour punch with the addition of lots of lemongrass and chilli.






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  • 200 g (7 oz) pig’s blood (available from Asian butchers), cut into 3 cm (1¼ in) cubes
  • 400 g (14 oz) thick bun (rice noodles)
  • 200 g (7 oz) cha lua (Vietnamese ham), sliced
  • 1 bunch spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced, to garnish
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced, to garnish
  • 1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked, to garnish
  • 4 long red chillies, sliced
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges (optional)


  • 5 kg (11 lb) beef shin bones
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) pork hock, cut into 8–10 rounds about 3-cm (1¼-in) thick (ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 kg (4 lb 6 oz) gravy beef or stewing steak
  • 200 g (7 oz) pineapple, peeled and cored, chopped into large chunks
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, white part only, bruised
  • 2 brown onions, peeled
  • 3 tbsp sea salt
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) fish sauce
  • 100 g (3½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

Chilli sate

  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp annatto seeds
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 30 g (1 oz) chilli flakes

Banana blossom salad

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 banana blossom
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch Thai basil, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch shiso, leaves picked
  • 100 g (3½ oz) shredded morning glory stems (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. To make the broth, rinse the beef bones and hock under cold running water to remove any blood or splinters. Transfer to a 10 litre (2½ gallon) stockpot along with the gravy beef, cover with cold water and bring to the boil for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the bones and hock of any residual blood and impurities. Return the bones, hock and beef to a clean stockpot, cover with water to nearly the top of the pot and bring to the boil again, removing any impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes until the hock is soft and cooked through. Remove from the broth, plunge into iced water, then drain and set aside.

2. Add the pineapple, lemongrass and onion to the broth and cook for a further 2 hours until the beef is tender. Carefully remove the beef, plunge into iced water and drain. Thinly slice and set aside.

3. Continue to simmer the broth for a further 3 hours or until reduced by 30 per cent. Season with the salt, fish sauce and sugar, then strain into a clean saucepan and discard the bones. Keep warm over low heat.

4. Meanwhile, to make the chilli sate, heat the oil in a small saucepan to 70°C (160°F). Place the seeds in the oil and cook for 5 minutes until the oil turns a vibrant orange. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool. Discard the seeds. One cool, place the annatto oil in a saucepan along with the shallot, lemongrass and garlic. Place over medium heat and cook for 3–4 minutes until soft and aromatic. Add the shrimp paste, fish sauce, sugar and chilli flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for 4–5 minutes until aromatic. Set aside.

5. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the pig’s blood and boil for 10 minutes. Remove and plunge into iced water. Drain when cool and set aside.

6. To prepare the salad, fill a non-reactive bowl with cold water and squeeze in the lemon. Peel and discard the outer layers and flowers of the banana blossom until you reach the light-coloured interior. Cut the blossom in half lengthways and remove the inner flowers. Thinly slice the blossom and immediately plunge into the lemon water. Set aside for 30 minutes, then drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the remaining salad ingredients and toss to combine.

7. Return the broth to the boil and add the hock and chilli sate.

8 Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain and divide among serving bowls. Top with the gravy beef, pork hock, chu lua and pig’s blood. Ladle over the broth and garnish with spring onion, red onion and coriander. Place the salad, sliced chilli and lemon wedges (if using) in the centre of the table and invite guests to help themselves.



Morning glory shredders are used in Vietnam to cut water spinach stems into strands. This simple yet genius piece of equipment is essentially a 20-30-cm metal rod, which is point at one end and has a round plastic top with internal blades at another. To use, thread a stem of morning glory onto the rod and push it through the blade at the top. Available for purchase online.


Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99