Bun Moc – Vietnamese Pork and Mushroom Noodle Soup

bun moc


My family is originally from the northern Vietnam city of Nam Dinh but moved to Saigon in 1954 after the Geneva Accords divided the country in two. As part of the Operation Passage to Freedom, the US and France helped transport close to a million northern Vietnamese to the south after this division. Kim’s family however, is from the south central city of Quy Nhon. So we both have regional differences in our tastes and knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine. Lately I’ve introduced several northern dishes to Kim, such as bun thang, and now we like to share another great northern noodle soup call bun moc.

Bun moc is a vermicelli noodle soup made from a pork and shiitake mushroom infused broth. The meats commonly include pork paste balls made from gio song (raw pork sausauge), cha lua (pork sausagewhich is gio song that has been wrapped in banana leaves and boiled). Taken all together, this is a delicious, earthy, yet light noodle soup that’s very popular in the northern parts of Vietnam, but can also be found throughout the country. Unlike pho or bun bo hue, this soup is not as time intensive and is really easy to prepare.

bun moc

Bun Moc (Vietnamese Pork and Mushroom Noodle Soup)
Printable Recipe

  • 4 lbs. pork ribs (cut into 2-3 inch pieces) or you can also use combination of ribs and bone
  • 1.5-2 cups of dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup wood ear fungus strips
  • 1 12oz container of pork paste (this is commonly found in your Asian Grocery–if frozen, defrost in the fridge the night before–this is commonly already pre-seasoned)
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • salt
  • fish sauce
  • 1 package of vermicelli noodles
  • 1 cha lua (pork sausage loaf) cut into thin pieces and also commonly found in Asian Groceries either wrapped in banana leaves or aluminum foil
  • beansprouts
  • cilantro, thinly chopped
  • scallions, thinly chopped
  • chili garlic sauce


bun moc 

In large stock pot, place the pork ribs/bones with enough water to cover and bring to boil for about 5 minutes or so. The gunk will surface from the ribs. Empty the water and wash the ribs/bones with cold water. Also wash the pot to get the residue off the side or have a second pot with hot water ready. Place the cleaned ribs/bones into the pot and cover with about 4 qts of water or so. Bring to boiling again, occasionally skimming any left over residue, and turn heat to low and simmer.

In the meantime, soak the wood ear fungus and shiitake mushrooms in separate bowls of warm water for about 15 min. Remove the woodear fungus, squeeze out the water and coarsely chop. Mix this along with the black pepper into the pork paste and set aside in the fridge.

Boil another pot of water to make the vermicelli noodles. Cut the cha lua, scallions, and cilantro and set aside.

After simmering the stock for about 1. 5 hrs, add the shitake mushrooms along with the water it was soaked in and continue on low heat for about another 30 minutes. Season broth with salt and/or fish sauce. Both the pork ribs and shitake mushrooms should be very tender. If you used pork bones, you can strain and discard.

When you’re ready to serve, bring the pot to boil again and use a wet spoon or wet hands to form small pork paste balls and cook in boiling broth–about 3-4 minutes or so. Ladle the soup with tender ribs, shiitake and pork paste balls over vermicelli noodles and serve with beansprouts and dab of chili garlic.

bun moc


The shiitake mushrooms soak in the sweet pork broth and is so juicy and delicious. Bun moc is such an earthy but still light northern Vietnamese vermicelli noodle soup that we love to enjoy and hope you enjoy it too!


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20 Responses to “Bun Moc – Vietnamese Pork and Mushroom Noodle Soup”

  1. 1

    MrsLavendula — September 13, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

    i just love Vietnamese noodle soup dishes and this looks delicious!

  2. 2

    Andy — September 13, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

    Looks great. I love noodle soups, and those photo's are great!

    Andy – http://onceuponathyme.wordpress.com/

  3. 3

    French Accent — September 13, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

    Bún thang and bún mộc are dishes from my childhood! I have made the former many times, but not the latter. Thanks for the recipe! Georgeous photos, as usual!

  4. 4

    Ravenous Couple — September 14, 2009 @ 6:00 am

    MrsLavendula: if you love mushrooms, you'll love bun moc!

    Andy: Thank you! Bun moc is great if you enjoy the earthy flavors of mushrooms.

    French Accent: The broth for both bun moc and bun thang are really similar. Let us know if you try bun moc and how it goes!

  5. 5

    nikkipolani — September 14, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

    I always think of this as a mild mannered soup. Mild in flavor and comforting when one is under the weather. But your bit of red chiles in there take it up a notch 😉

  6. 6

    Ravenous Couple — September 14, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

    nikki:you're right–bun moc is fairly mild soup we love to eat for breakfast. But nothing like working out the kinks with some chili for breakfast!

  7. 7

    rick @ à la mode — September 14, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

    that looks really tasty! i'll take your word on it being easy to prepare, i'd rather just invite myself over 😉

  8. 8

    Ravenous Couple — September 14, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

    rick: Thanks for stopping by. Bun moc is easy to prepare–relatively speaking, compared with bun bo hue or pho 🙂

  9. 9

    Marc @ NoRecipes — September 15, 2009 @ 5:22 am

    Can't remember where i had them, but I love the meatballs with the woodear in them. I'm totally going to have to give this one a try.

  10. 10

    noobcook — September 16, 2009 @ 7:13 am

    This is a hearty one dish noodles and I love the mushrooms and the pork broth 🙂

  11. 11

    Divina Pe — September 16, 2009 @ 7:36 am

    This looks awesome. This could be one of my comfort foods. But I don't see any pork paste in the grocery stores and not so familiar with pork sausage loaf. Is that the white item with brown specks that look like fish balls?

  12. 12

    5 Star Foodie — September 16, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful soup! I would love the delightful mushroom flavor!

  13. 13

    Ravenous Couple — September 16, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

    Marc: we agree, the woodear mushrooms add a great flavor and texture to the meatballs 🙂

    noobcook: in a way it is fairly hearty with pork ribs, cha lua, pork meatballs, and the shiitake is almost another protrein in itself

    divina: the pork paste is sold in a plastic container and labeled "gio heo" and often near the fish paste. The cha lua is either wrapped with banana leaves or aluminum foil. If you can't find the cha lua, it's not essential to bun moc.

    5 star foodie: the mushroom flavors do shine in bun moc!

  14. 14

    Anonymous — February 24, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

    just made this soup, it was fantastic, loved it,
    thanks, I give it a 10 out of 10

  15. 15

    Ravenous Couple — February 25, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

    anonymous: thank you!! so glad you enjoyed it!! wow, 10 out of 10 is high praise!!

  16. 16

    Annie — June 7, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    my favorite BUn moc restaurant is a place near New world hotel, Hochiminh city. Great dish.
    Do you know what make the secret in vietname noodle soup?? It’s the Herb. And most of the recipes have some family secret ingredients. so thrilled to find a super healthy packaged product that's actually not even processed – it has a spice packet containing ground up spices, brown rice noodles that contains just brown rice, organic green tea, water and salt. This product comes from a family recipe of a woman in Nam Dinh- where Pho begins. And it's so tasty. Such a gem! You can find them here:
    Whole Foods Market
    230 Bay Place,
    Oakland, CA 94612
    The incredibly healthy product is now available at "International Foods" section – bottom shelf with the Gluten Free labels
    You can check out their website to find the nearest store to your house: http://staranisefoods.com/find-us.aspx

  17. 17

    deb (bearheadsoup) — May 1, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    I tried this soup in a cafe today for the first time and I think it might be my favourite vietnamese soup! It was so awesome. I’m glad I found your recipe, might try to make this. Also glad to see in the comments info about the pork paste and the vietnamese name for it. Will put it in my phone and flash it at the market, so hopefully will find it! thanks again (belatedly!)

  18. 18

    tv — March 19, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

    hey guys, can I make my own pork paste with ground pork? If I can, what is the ingredient for it?

  19. 19

    The Ravenous Couple — March 20, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    yes, you can make your own pork past, it’s called gio song, and the recipe is on our cha lua post

  20. 20

    TV — March 23, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    Thank you..I got gio song at the grocery..I’ll try it out first. I’m actually making the broth now

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