Bun Mang Vit Duck Bamboo Noodle Soup

bun mang vit 

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.

bun mang vit 

Dried bamboo is brown and can be found in any Asian market. There are many varieties..some appear yellow and have liquid it in–avoid these as they are sour type of young bamboo. You want the really dried ones that almost look like thick pieces of twine and has a distinct “dried” smell when you open it. The key to this dish is to get rid of that smell and make the twine like bamboo tender.

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

Bun Mang Vit (Duck and Bamboo Noodle Soup)
Printable Recipe

  • 1 whole duck (preferably fresh–if not available, use about 4 duck thighs/quarters)
  • 3 lbs chicken bones/carcasses (for a short cut, you can use chicken broth)
  • about 4 qts water
  • 2 packages of dried bamboo
  • 2 knobs of ginger, peeled. 1 knob finely minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white end slightly crushed
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 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
dried bamboo

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 15 -20 minutes. 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 15-20 mins and in the meantime refill the first pot with water and bring to boil again. 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. We boil it about 3-4 times. When it’s ready, trim the bamboo into bite size pieices, about 2-3 inches long. (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. Add the chicken bones/carcasses in a large stock pot and fill about 4 qts or enough to cover the bones. Bring to boil and remove the gunk with a skimmer. After about 20 mins so, use tongs and discard the chicken bones/carcasses. Add the trimmed bamboo, 1 knob of ginger and lemongrass to the broth.

When we make this soup using a whole duck, we trim off a lot of excess fat from the duck and render it out and save the fat. If using duck quarters, we like to marinate it briefly with some sprinkle of salt and sliced ginger. When the chicken broth is ready, add the duck and bring to boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes (about 20 minutes for duck quarters). Remove the duck and place in container covering with plastic wrap. Also, discard the lemongrass stalk and knob of ginger.

Now season the broth with salt and bit of sugar. It’s hard to give exact measurements here, but just go slowly and trust your taste buds. When the duck cools down enough to handle, carve it up and chop with cleaver.

bun mang vit

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.

bun mang vit 

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!

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44 Responses to “Bun Mang Vit Duck Bamboo Noodle Soup”

  1. 1

    sijeleng — November 9, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

    I agree, this is one of the top Vietnamese soups. The nuoc mam gung perfectly complements the richness of the duck. I look forward to trying this recipe.
    It was great meeting you at the festival. It's nice to be able to put faces with the writers/cooks.

  2. 2

    Mai — November 9, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

    Is it a Vmese thing because I find myself loving all the soups too. They are all my fave :-). Can't seem to get enough.

  3. 3

    Ravenous Couple — November 9, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

    javaholic: It was really great to meet and share stories this past weekend at the Foodbuzz conference. Let us know how bun mang vit goes for you!

    Mai: It's a Viet thing and we hope it's contagious!! :)

  4. 4

    Linda - one scoop at a time — November 9, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! Likewise, it was so nice to meet you two. I look forward to trying out your recipes. Love vietnamese food. Do you cook much with lemongrass? It's my next ingredient to try.

    Hope our paths cross again soon. If you ever visit the Bay Area or more specifically, San Jose, please let me know!!

  5. 5

    and this blog — November 9, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

    It was so great meeting you guys and wondering around the market together! if u guys are ever in nyc, let me know =)
    Happy Eating!

  6. 6

    Ravenous Couple — November 9, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

    Linda: We're actually coming up again this weekend and going to monterrey and carmel! We cook with lemongrass alot esp in soups but also ga kho xa…caramelized chicken with lemongrass.

    and this blog: likewise, we'll def. have to make it back to NYC soon!

  7. 7

    Table Talk — November 9, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

    I love the clean flavor of ginger and lemongrassI've never cooked with dried bamboo shoots—will look for them at my local market.
    Love visiting your blog; I always leave craving noodles!

  8. 8

    OysterCulture — November 9, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

    Hey, great stuff, and I love Vietnamese cooking, and am always looking for inspiration. I think I have to look no further than your fantastic photos. And the fact that they are followed by recipes is bonus!

  9. 9

    Ravenous Couple — November 9, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

    Table Talk: thank you so much for the comments! Dried bamboo is not the easiest product to work with but the end result is great!

    OysterCulture: Thanks so much for visiting! We love sharing bun mang vit and other Vietnamese cuisine.

  10. 10

    lindsaymeyer — November 10, 2009 @ 12:55 am

    Sorry to have missed you this weekend at Foodbuzz. Thanks for stopping by Life With Lindsay – and looking forward to your future posts about the weekend. Beautiful photos!

  11. 11

    The Little Teochew — November 10, 2009 @ 1:42 am

    Your dish is absolutely tantalising and if no one told me, I would have thought it was from a restaurant menu!

  12. 12

    noobcook — November 10, 2009 @ 2:42 am

    This dish looks earthy and comforting. Got to check out the dried bamboo if I see them :)

  13. 13

    Connie — November 10, 2009 @ 5:31 am

    Delicious. I love the aromatics in there, how they must perfectly complement the duck while making it taste less fatty. I would take this over chicken soup any day!

  14. 14

    Stephanie - Wasabimon.com — November 10, 2009 @ 6:52 am

    OMG! These photos made me a little lightheaded. In a good way, though. 😉

  15. 15

    Ravenous Couple — November 10, 2009 @ 7:05 am

    Lindsaymeyer: Thanks, hope to see you at the next FB conference!

    Little Teochew: that's the problem…not many Vietnamese restaurants have this dish! :)

    noobcook: dried bamboo, when cooked is wonderful!

    Stephanie: Thanks!!

    Connie: We know how much you love duck…and we do too!

  16. 16

    lisaiscooking — November 10, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

    This looks delicious! I've never used dried bamboo, but I'd love to try it.

  17. 17

    yutjangsah — November 10, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

    Wow. never heard of this dish but a duck drumstick poking out of a bowl of noodles is a real attention grabber! Looks amazing. I can't believe you guys haven't run out of recipes! I guess you guys have a vast repetoire. Can't wait to read the rest of your family secrets.

  18. 18

    Cooking-Gallery — November 10, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    This sounds and looks very yummy, I love soups and I love duck, so what a great combo!!

  19. 19

    Anonymous — November 10, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

    The pictures you have posted look delicious! Bun vit is one of my favorites =) Curious as to how the addition of lemongrass adds to the taste and smell of the broth as this is probably the first time that I have ever seen it used in this recipe?


  20. 20

    Ravenous Couple — November 10, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

    lisaiscooking: dried bamboo takes time to cook, but worth it!

    yutjangsuh:if we ever run out, we'll start baking :)

    cooking gallery: bun mang vit is really delicous especially if you like duck..give it a try!

    Anh: you're absolutely right..lemongrass is not typically part of the traditional recipe–unlike bun bo hue where it's crucial..here we just use a single stalk for the aroma to complement the ginger–totally optional.

  21. 21

    mycookinghut — November 10, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

    Such a comforting dish!

  22. 22

    Jackie at PhamFatale.com — November 10, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

    Great minds think alike 😛 I'm cooking a huge pot of bun mang ga in the kitchen. I never use dried bamboo, does it have an earthier flavor, maybe stronger taste for the broth?

  23. 23

    Ravenous Couple — November 10, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

    mycookinghut: thank you!

    Jackie: You're intuition is spot on..dried bamboo has more earthier, intense, and distinct flavor and smell as well. Give it a try next time!

  24. 24

    foodhoe — November 11, 2009 @ 4:37 am

    wow, I've never seen this dish but it sounds fantastic! I can tell that it is way too much work for me, but I'll look for it on the menu next time I'm out for vietnamese noodle soup. I'm glad to have met you guys and being introduced to your wonderful blog.

  25. 25

    tigerfish — November 11, 2009 @ 4:43 am

    I've never tried this dish before. Must be filled with robust flavors.

  26. 26

    Ravenous Couple — November 11, 2009 @ 4:47 am

    foodhoe: it was great meeting you at the dinner..we're all about introducing lesser known vietnamese cuisine, so def. look for this dish and let us know if you try it. We know a few places in down here that serves it.

    tigerfish: thanks for stopping by…bun mang vit is definitly unique among the vietnamese noodle soups, so if you ever see on a menu, give it a try!

  27. 27

    Rasa Malaysia — November 11, 2009 @ 5:25 am

    You are a cook with mad skills.

    We have a similar dish in Penang, but the soup is infused with Chinese dried herbs.

  28. 28

    Ellie — November 11, 2009 @ 5:41 am

    It's interesting. Dried bamboo and duck soup. Your blog is a wonderful eye opener for me who is unfamiliar with vietnamese food. keep up the good work!

  29. 29

    Fresh Local and Best — November 11, 2009 @ 5:50 am

    This is a very interesting soup. I'm a beginner at making Vietnamese soups and broths, tomorrow will be my first time making pho. Once I get that one under my belt, I'm going to look forward to making more ambitious dishes like this one! It looks fab, and I adore the flavor that duck imparts.

  30. 30

    Ravenous Couple — November 11, 2009 @ 6:00 am

    RM: Thanks! You must be talking about mi vit tiem…a very dark broth infused with chinese herbs..

    Ellie: Everyone can make pho now…so why not share some of the lesser known stars? :)

    Fresh Local and Best: That's great–we'll look for it in your blog!

  31. 31

    Selba — November 11, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

    Whoaaaa.. the noodle with duck and bamboo looks so scrumptious! *drools*

  32. 32

    HoustonWok — November 11, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

    man man man….you guys are truly something else, this is certainly a delicious bowl of soup. Cheers to you guys!

  33. 33

    Ravenous Couple — November 11, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    Selba: Thank you!

    HoustonWok: Hope you had fun during your recent trip to cali!

  34. 34

    Diana Bauman — November 11, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

    It was so great meeting both of you! You are a beautiful couple and have such an amazing blog! I am so looking forward to keeping up with your posts!

    A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa

  35. 35

    Linda - one scoop at a time — November 11, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

    Do you two visit the Bay Area much? I live in San Jose and would love to hangout with you two and talk over a bowl of steaming noodles. I was wondering who does the cooking?

  36. 36

    pigpigscorner — November 13, 2009 @ 10:41 am

    I've never had this before, I don't remember seeing this in Vietnamese restaurants..or maybe I just look out for pho =P

  37. 37

    FlavorBoulevard — February 18, 2010 @ 10:10 am

    Hi RavenousCouple,

    Your post is beautiful. I've linked it to my blog post on a restaurant's bún măng vịt.

    Thank you!

  38. 38

    Ravenous Couple — February 18, 2010 @ 6:00 pm

    flavorblvd: So glad bun mang vit is getting some good press! :)

  39. 39

    dude — May 23, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

    The bamboo, the fried onions, the sweet duck and broth… It’s so good!!!

  40. 40

    Samantha — June 19, 2011 @ 9:45 am

    Looks delicious. Can you use duck wings for the duck portion? If so, about how much would be necessary? A pound plus?

  41. 41

    home cook — January 9, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

    I made this soup tonight.. I pan fried duck confit leg for less than 20 minutes in olive oil and set aside to use as meat diced for soup topping along with crispy fried shallots. the other duck legs I added to ready made chicken soup stock to add an extra layer of flavoring then discarded afterwards since the meat didn’t separate easily off the bone. I really liked the way this came out.. will do it again. Thanks for the recipe.

  42. 42

    home cook — January 9, 2014 @ 5:34 pm

    I also added last minute baby bok choy, oyster mushrooms to boil with bamboo, then I added chopped cilantro, mint and red pepper and sliced lime wedges were added once the soup was assemble in bowl last minute as a topping.

  43. 43

    Laura Sweany — February 9, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

    Thanks for this clear recipe. A favorite restaurant in Seattle’s International District serves this amazing soup, and I had a homemade duck/chicken stock in the fridge already, so I got a cooked duck from the local Chinese deli and made this soup. I hadn’t realized the indefinable texture in the soup was dried bamboo, and I didn’t have that, so I substituted king mushrooms. It turned out quite close to the restaurant version! The waiters alway give me the stink eye when I dump the cabbage and duck into the broth, so I was comforted to know you do the same :)

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