The Greatest Beef Noodle Soup? The Warming, Soulful, Flavorful, Mouth-Watering Beef Noodle Soup of Central Vietnam - Ngu Binh [Thoughts + Pics]

Hi @tailbacku,

Thanks. It’s definitely not close, but at the same time, to borrow a @PorkyBelly phrase, it’s #TotallyWorthIt. :wink:

Seriously though, everyone’s tolerance on what’s worth it or not differs. For us? If there’s a chance of experiencing new flavors, new dishes / cuisines, and exploring new restaurants that our FTC’ers have been raving about, then we don’t mind doing an excursion from time-to-time. :slight_smile:

The first time we found Ngu Binh was because we were already in the area trying out Pho Ga Hai Van, a Chicken Pho place that @JeetKuneBao recommended. So this turned out to be a very nice bang-bang.

And while it can be far, we’ve found other reasons to help make the trip more worth it, like visiting friends in OC, or stopping by South Coast Plaza, or visiting other recommended spots as well (like ST Patisserie, Taco Maria, Kitakata Ramen Bannai (my favorite Ramen right now in LA/OC), etc. :wink:

But I wish they opened a Ngu Binh on the Westside. It would be an insane hit I think.

Regardless, the Hue-Style Beef Noodle Soup is so good, such a wonderful Best Bite, that it made the trip more than worth it for us. :slight_smile:


Hi @BradFord,

No way, you’re giving me too much credit! :sweat_smile: We’re so happy to read all of the great reports from you and all the FTC veterans; I just hope my posts might be helpful to others from time to time. Thanks.


Trust me, it’s no treat going the other way either. Try 5 hours r/t from Laguna. A couple weeks ago (after trying a car service and other options) I’ve just decided to always get a hotel. Plus, that way I can fit in more meals😎


I love their Bun Bo Hue!!! Glad you finally made it there and errrr… it has been mentioned many times :wink: on FTC. I just wish there was something comparable closer to LA… such a hike to get there.

My other required stopover when I’m in OC is “Seoul Do Soon Yi Kimchi” in garden grove, excellent kimchi!

1 Like

Horror of horrors but we could actually COOK the soup :slight_smile:


I love it in chao…the rice porridge dish that is packed to the gills with various kinds of offal…hearts, kidneys, intestines…my Mom used to make it a lot when we were growing up.

1 Like


Oh yeah, thanks for reviewing this place!

Yeah Ngu Binh has the best Bun Bo Hue I’ve tried so far and it outsmokes anything in San Jose (Northern California). However their other Hue style dishes like Banh Beo and Banh It Kep Banh Ram didn’t do anything for me and were more disappointing, while my friend thought one of the Hue restaurants in San Jose did those two dishes far better.

The BBH’s cubed pork blood is also quite respectable, although it does not come anywhere close to the legendary Chiu Chow cubed blood you find in Hong Kong Chiu Chow restaurants that come closer to the consistency of firm jello with a very addictive yet clean taste (over there cubed blood with chives is another well known dish). Yes agreed, the meats are great as is the pork knuckle and the pork “tsukune”.

For sure Ngu Binh’s Vietnamese coffee outsmokes Brodard’s and Trieu Chau’s, but is still far from some of the better drip versions I’ve had in Northern California.

If you like the umami from the shrimp paste in Bun Bo Hue, there are some preps of Canh Bun that likely have this in addition (or you just ask for it on the side to add to the noodle soup) though you probably want to get the versions with water spinach/rau muong, and some preps have pork blood in it as well. A lot more hardcore than the Cantonese prep of Tong Choy with shrimp paste stir fried (aka kungxin cai). Surely there are places in Westminster that do excellent versions of Canh Bun so I’ll let others chime in where their favorites are.


Hi @beefnoguy,

Thank you! We definitely can’t stop thinking about Ngu Binh’s Bun Bo Hue. :slight_smile:

The Banh Beo Chen little dishes seemed pretty nice (but we’ve only had it at 2 other places around town), so it’s limited in comparison. Were the ones in Nor Cal just lighter or more flavor? Thanks.

I’ve never tried Canh Bun before, but it sounds nice. Was it on Ngu Binh’s menu? I didn’t see it.

They do have a Banh Canh Tom Cua (White Noodle Soup with Crab and Shrimp), is that comparable? And have you or @Ns1 @attran99 tried it before? Curious if that’s worth ordering.


Quan bun ban mai
9142 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

Been around for ages but does very classic northern viet versions/variations of Canh bun, bun rieu, bun oc

used to have squirt bottles of shrimp paste at the table and that should tell u something.


Hi @Chowseeker1999 -

Good seeking. It looks really delicious!

Once won’t kill me. :sweat_smile: I’m usually willing to break a rule if it’s something the restaurant is known for. Besides I’ve been curious about that brick o’ blood for some time now. Does not having it make or break the dish?


1 Like

Perfect description, that’s what I wanted to say. :slight_smile:

Never paid much attention to blood yay or nay. Enjoyed it recently on a few occasions and now a fan.

Pork blood with offal:

Personal spicy hot pot:


Unsolicited rec: the unfortunately renamed “summer rolls” in Rosemead also has tasty bun bo hue, and a DIY roll setup that I like better than Brodard, plus other goodies.

And if it turns out terrible there’s an In n Out next door.


Hi @TheCookie,

No, the amazing Bun Bo Hue can be enjoyed without the blood cube and be just as tasty. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Though try not to eat too much of the stuff in Hong Kong now with the times changing…lots of reports now saying that there are a lot of fake blood cubes out there, some where they mix in 2/3 parts beef blood, or add in chemicals or worse case ones that are cancer causing, since slaughter house processing is now centralized and a lot of it coming north of the border.

I do enjoy the spicy Taiwanese/Sichuanese hotpot version with pork intestines though. Sometimes, you have to “live” a little.


So, so sad to hear.


I don’t find it has much ‘flavor’ when in all those other things. But it’s the texture of it and so many other things that made it so wonderful. Rest assured, my buddy didn’t get that whole block. That was just a photo op :slight_smile:

1 Like

Wish I ngu about this before I moved to norcal! I never binh.


See what you did there :joy: you have a great option up there…

Can vouch for Bun bo hue an nam in SJ. I’m sure there are others.

/edit, it’s also been years since been to an nam

1 Like

Haven’t been back to Bun Bo Hue An Nam SJ in a while but a few years ago went to their #2 location and there was probably more MSG than spicy oil. Though to their credit An Nam does offer a version with bull penis (ngau pin). Never had it before but based on TV footage of beef mixed parts noodle soups at the hard core Chiu Chow noodle restaurants in Hong Kong, it can potentially be as tender and gelatinous as beef tendon…

1 Like