Vietnamese food question-Bun rules Pho drools!

So anybody here able to educate me a bit on Vietnamese food? Perhaps pronunciation wise?

One of my favorite dishes of all time is the Vietnamese noodle bowl(not Pho, I like Pho, although I never actually order it, brcause Bun kicks its ass)

The one with Noodles, veggies, and grilled pork , and a slightly sweet fish sauce dressing. Sometimes they put a fried spring roll in it as well, but that isn’t the prime attraction. Some places just call it a Vermicelli bowl, which annoys me as well, but I digress.

I love that stuff so much. And since Covid closed my only two close places I know that had it, I have been Jonesing. I was taking to a friend and she took me to a Pho place she swore had it. But the order taker at the desk didn’t really speak English very well. I thought I ordered(mimed) a grilled pork noodle bowl, but I got the boiled pork fat bowl instead, which was quite disappointing. :frowning:

Can anyone give a phonetic primer on how to order the right one?

Don’t know but “pho” (fow) in English is “fu” in Vietnamese. Beyond that, sorry, can’t help ya

I don’t have much to add, but I’ve had a bit of success with taking a picture of the name off the menu. I take it to the asian grocery and look at all the little spice mixtures with different names. Those pre-made mixtures might not be great, but they can help you find a “better” name to search for recipes and descriptions.

It’s pretty close to “Boone”, but shortened perhaps?

Assuming you mean this:


Another example:

If you go to a really good Vietnamese place, you won’t want anything other than the Pho, imo. My favorite place in Atlanta has broth that is absolutely incredible.

I’m hooked on a new Vietnamese place that just opened near me. I love the different types of Pho they have ( as well as other stuff ) but after reading this thread about ‘Bun’ I’m damn near swooning over it.

I’m also a fan of Bun over Pho, because I’m just not that into soup as a meal. I also suspect that the sodium content of a giant bowl of broth is off the charts, and I just don’t need to add a bunch of salty water to my diet.

Bun, though, is just right, noodles, sauces, veggies, meats and other tasties. Somehow I’m going to have to get it on the menu.

Bun just ferrets to the round vermicelli-like rice noodles, which are different than pho noodles. They are commonly used cold to make a sort of salad with grilled meat, herbs, bean sprouts, etc and a dipping sauce. I think you are supposed to use the grilled meat to “cook” or flavor the sauce before dipping the other stuff into the sauce…

However, bun is also used in plenty of hot soups, most notably bun bo hue, a spicy beef noodle soup with blood sausage and beef shank that I like more than pho, and bun oc, with snails and crabmeat.

It’s commonly pronounced as “fuh” around here (Chicago) even in English, but you’ll still find a lot of people saying “foe”. Plus, depending on dialect, “pho” can have a range of pronunciations in Vietnamese, but “fuh” is the generally closest accepted English approximation. (I assume that’s what you meant by "fow,"or did you mean it to rhyme with “cow.” And I assume “fu” – which to me is “foo” like in Kung Fu-- you mean “fuh.” Or am I mistaken on either of these?)

If you really want to ruin some good food, add anise, cloves and cinnamon to a savory dish. (Also; all spice and nutmeg. I’m looking at you Jamaican Jerk)

I’ll take a good Bun Bo Hue or a Tom Yum Gai (Thai)

Hmm…that’s interesting as almost all those spices I use in savory foods more often than sweets. Heck, I just put some schwarma meat in the fridge to marinate and it’s got allspice, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon of the spices you mentioned (it’s mostly cumin and coriander, and paprika though.) A few allspice berries is de rigeur in Polish chicken soup; sticking cloves in some onions for chicken or beef broth is also common. (And no barbecue sauce for me is complete without a clove or allspice kick.) Bechamel without some nutmeg is boring. Where would we be without bratwurst, which in many concoctions includes nutmeg or mace?

One of our local Vietnamese places has a version that includes all the meat toppings and is on the menu as “Pho King Awesome bowl”. :smiley:

You say schwarma has those spices I counter with the better and arguably more popular gyro meat.

You say pho has those spices and I counter with the better and arguably more popular ramen.

You say polish chicken soup has those spices and I counter with the better and arguably more popular regular chicken soup.

If you replace the nutmeg in bechamel with just about anything that isn’t nutmeg you have a better sauce. Garlic, romano, pepper corns, country sausage.


With the Polish chicken soup, it’s a very subtle flavor. Also found in a lot of Polish sausage recipes.)

With schwarma, the spice mixes are all over the map, but I far prefer the the spicing, sauces, and flavors of doners or schwarma to gyros. Gyros are okay, but I like the other takes on spit roasted meat better.

And ramen and pho are different enough that I’d hate to pick one or the other, but I prefer pho most of the time.

I love both pho and bun, and it’s hard to decide between the two.

But I think I have to give bun the edge. In particular, I love Bun Cha Ha Noi. It has the rice noodles and the lettuce leaves and the herbs, as well, but the meat is a combo of grilled pork and pork meatballs. The meat is served soaking in a cup of the dipping sauce. I always asked for extra chopped peanuts to sprinkle over all.

I’d rather have pho over bun bo hue, personally. I’ve had restaurant bun bo hue a few times and they were okay, but too much for me. Future son-in-law’s mom makes killer pho, plus I’m lucky to have some seriously fantastic Vietnamese restaurants nearby and a legendary Cambodian restaurant a 20 minute drive away.

However, given a choice, I’ll take a big bowl of yao hon over anything.