Bun mang vit (duck and bamboo vermicelli noodle soup) is absolutely one of our favorite Vietnamese noodle soups–yes, we seem to say that about all the Vietnamese soups we make–but really, who’s counting? You may not find this soup at most Vietnamese restaurants, but believe us–it’s delicious, comforting, and not any harder then making pho or other soups.
The deep and fragrant broth of this soup comes from the juicy duck and along with dried bamboo. Using dried bamboo is a must–if you prefer to add fresh bamboo, that’s fine too, but don’t skip out on the dried bamboo as the flavor and texture will not be the same. We’re very particular about our broth and use chicken bones as well. But as with all good things–there is only one easy but time consuming part of this dish and that is working with the dried bamboo.
Dried bamboo is often found in most Asian markets. There are many varieties, some may be completely dried and some may semi dried (dried stiff vs. still soft and pliable). Both types of dried bamboo will need to be reconstituted and brought to a tender state by boiling. The bamboo that is dried stiff will need to be boiled for at least 2-3 times with changes of water each time which is a lot of work. We prefer the semi dried one such as this that only requires about 10 minutes of boiling to be reconstituted. Do not use pickled bamboo. Canned bamboo is also acceptable if you can’t find dried but the flavor will be slightly different.
Accompaniments include a goi vit–duck salad/slaw, composed of thinly shredded red/white cabbage, herbs such as mint, coriander, perilla, topped with slices of duck and topped with a ginger fish sauce, nuoc mam gung. The ginger fish sauce is also used as a dipping sauce for the duck.
Bun Mang Vit (Duck and Bamboo Noodle Soup)
- 1 whole duck peking or magret (preferably fresh or frozen–if not available, use about 4 duck thighs/quarters)
- about 3 qts water (or chicken stock)
- 2 packages of dried bamboo
- 2 knobs of ginger, peeled. 1 knob finely minced
- 2 whole yellow onions, peeled
- fish sauce and nuoc mam cham
- 1 small head of cabbage (red/white or both) sliced thin as possible
- herbs: mint, perilla, coriander
- fried shallots
- Thai chili pepper, chopped
- scallions, chopped
- cilantro, chopped
- vermicelli noodles, boiled and drained
The dried bamboo needs to be re-hydrated and removed of that dried smell by boiling. This is the key step. Ideally have two pots of water ready. In one pot, bring the bamboo to boil for about 10 minutes and drain. The liquid will be dark yellow and the smell is quite strong. Put back the bamboo into the other boiling pot and boil again for another 10 mins. The bamboo will eventually increase in volume and softness. Repeat until bamboo is soft and tender to the bite and there is very faint if any hint of dried bamboo smell. When it’s ready, trim the bamboo into bite size pieices, about 2-3 inches long and set aside. (Some regions in Vietnam like to stir fry the bamboo at this point, but don’t’ find it makes huge difference)
During this time, boil the vermicelli and make the broth. To a large stock pot, add water, onions, ginger, sugar and salt and bring to boil. Add the entire duck and lower to simmer and poach for about 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 in thigh. Remove the duck and place in container covering with plastic wrap. Also, discard the onion and knobs of ginger.
Adjust the broth to taste with salt and sugar (MSG if preferred) but just go slowly and trust your taste buds. When the duck cools down enough to handle, carve or shred.
To make the nuoc mam gung/ginger fish sauce, you can just use nuoc mam cham and add it the minced ginger along with a few more splashes of fish sauce as this sauce is supposed to be slightly more stronger in fish sauce flavor to complement the strong flavor of the ginger. We like a lot of ginger, but use as much or as little as you like. Add a chopped red chiles to taste.
To make the goi vit, combine in mixing bowl the cabbage and herbs. Dress with a bit of nuoc mam cham. Top with slices of duck and ginger fish sauce and fried shallots.
The tenderized dried bamboo has an amazing complex tasted compared with fresh bamboo and paired with the duck flavored broth, it makes for a wonderful noodle soup. We like to add the goi vit directly into the soup for a textural crunchy contrast to the noodles and generously slather the duck in the ginger fish dipping sauce…. yumm!!!
So don’t limit yourself with just pho….try bun mang vit and it’ll will rock your world!