Nuoc leo rice noodle soup (Bun nuoc leo) is a specialty of Khmer people in Mekong Delta. Consisting of the broth, rice noodles, toppings , Bun nuoc leo could be served as a meal. Bun nuoc leo is very popular in most of the provinces in Mekong Delta. However, it is said that Bun nuoc leo is originated in Soc Trang province where there are many Khmer people. Nuoc leo rice noodle soup in Soc Trang has its own flavor and very special. Bun nuoc leo in Tra Vinh is famous for garlic chive, shredded banana blossom. Bun nuoc leo in Chau Doc attracts people with roasted pork and sesbania sesban – a specialty in flooding season. In Can Tho, Bun nuoc leo is special thanks to fermented fish, Cong cake, Vietnamese pork roll.
Bun nuoc leo in Soc Trang has nothing impressive but it impresses dinners, even difficult ones. It is a perfect mix of all simple and easy to find ingredients. Khmer people in Soc Trang say that Nuoc leo rice noodle soup is the gift from Mother Nature. All of the ingredients are found in the nature, for example snakehead and snakeskin gourami are caught in the wild, Boesenbergia Rotunda is dug in the ground, rice noodles are made from rice.
The broth of Bun nuoc leo is cooked from pork bone, coconut water, Boesenbergia Rotunda, Mam bo hoc, pineapple, lemongrass. Pork bone makes the broth rich, coconut water adds natural sweetness to the broth, Boesenbergia Rotunda makes the dish typical. Mam bo hoc (prohok) is a kind of Fermented fishes which is made by brewing snakehead, catfish, shrimp, salt for over 6 months. The broth of Nuoc leo rice noodle soup must be sweet-salty, clear and reddish-brown as cockroach wing. The secret of cooking the broth is putting all of the ingredients for the broth into a cloth filter and cook with water. That is the reason why the broth is very clear.
The dish is topped with tender, a little chewy, white snakehead flesh and snakeskin gourami flesh, boiled peeled shrimp, roasted pork which is crispy outside and tender inside. Rice noodles are poached in boiling water for about 10 seconds before serving.
Bun nuoc leo is served with various veggies (juicy bean sprouts, crunchy shredded banana blossom and shredded morning glory, bitter common knotgrass, buttery, lightly sweet and a little bitter sliced green banana, garlic chieves), aromatic herbs, lime wedges, chili pepper slices. The dipping sauce is made from salt, lime, and chili pepper.
A bowl of Nuoc leo rice noodle soup in Soc Trang is full of toppings, veggies and herbs. It is not only rich in nutrition but also flavorful. Green herbs, pink roasted pork, orange shrimp, red chili pepper, white fish flesh and rice noodle, reddish-brown broth attract dinner at the first look. At a Bun nuoc leo restaurant, the aromas of herbs and veggies blend with the distinctive smell of the broth, nice smell of topping can make you mouth-watering when the dish has not served yet. Bun nuoc leo is the right choice in the morning or evening, on rainy or cold days. It is a very healthy and delicious dish which any traveler should not miss.
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