Bún riêu cua is served with tomato broth and topped with crab or shrimp paste. In this dish, various freshwater paddy crabs are used, including the brown paddy crab found in rice paddies in Vietnam. The crab is used as the basis for crab cakes. Other ingredients for this dish are: fried tofu, mẻ or giấm bổng (kinds of rice vinegar), Garcinia multiflora Champ., annatto seeds (hạt điều màu) to redden the broth, huyết (congealed pig's blood), split water spinach stems, shredded banana flower, rau kinh giới (Elsholtzia ciliata), spearmint, perilla, bean sprouts and chả chay (vegetarian sausage). This dish is rich in nutrition: calcium from the ground crab shells, iron from the congealed pig's blood, and vitamins and fiber from the vegetables.More...
The dish is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, white onions, coriander leaves (cilantro), ngò gai (culantro, or long coriander), Thai basil, lemon or lime wedges, and bean sprouts. The last five items are usually provided on a separate plate, which allows customers to adjust the soup's flavor as they like. Some sauces such as hoisin sauce, fish sauce, and the Thai hot sauce Sriracha, are popular additions as well. The herb ngò ôm (Limnophila aromatica) is sometimes added as well.
For the phở connoisseur, other garnishes which may be ordered on the side include hành trần (the white "bulb" portion of scallions, blanched in boiling broth) and hành giấm (sliced white onions with a dash of vinegar). These are only brought to the table when specifically requested, as opposed to the general platter of greens and lime wedges. The diner typically squeezes a few drops of lime juice onto the vinegared onion slices before eating them. The hành trần and hành giấm, when eaten with the beef slices, are believed to cut the fattiness and balance the strong beef aroma that some find overpowering.More...
Bún bò Huế originated in the old imperial capital of Central Vietnam, Huế. The broth is prepared by cooking beef bones for a long period of time, as well as a large variety of different spices including lemon grass and chili. Shrimp paste is also a very important ingredient.
Bún bò Huế usually includes thin slices of marinated beef shank, chunks of well-cooked oxtail, and pig's knuckles or pork. It can also include cubes of congealed pig blood, which has a color between dark brown and maroon, and a texture resembling gelatin.
Bún bò Huế is commonly served with mung bean sprouts, lime wedges, cilantro sprigs, raw onions, and thinly sliced banana blossom. Thinly sliced purple cabbage or iceberg lettuce are common substitutes when banana blossom is not available. Purple cabbage most resembles banana blossom in texture, though not in taste. It is also common for a diner to add a small dollop of shrimp paste directly into the soup.