Bún Mắm: Recipe of Vietnam Fermented Fish Noodle Soup

Bún Mắm (Vietnamese Fermented Fish Noodle Soup) is a beloved dish among Best Local Dishes in Ho Chi Minh City. Its incredibly deep and complex broth is infused with fermented fish then loaded with some kinkds of seafood, crispy pork belly and stuffed chilis. You haven’t truly tried Vietnamese Food until you’ve had this noodle soup!

1. What is Vietnamese Bún Mắm?

Originating from Mekong Delta in the South of Vietnam, Bun Mam is a rice noodle soup characterized by its robust broth. It’s also popularly known as a Vietnamese seafood gumbo, which truly captures its strongflavored stock made from fermented fish.


What differentiates Bun Mam from a gumbo is that the soup is much thinner. Its taste delivers a sharp kick to the nose, but is balanced by a light broth and fresh herbs. It’s also complemented by a unique set of toppings, including Chinese crackling pork, cooked prawns and stuffed whole chilis, a tribute to the Cambodian and Vietnamese fusion.

It's not surprising that not many Local Vietnamese Restaurants serve Bún Mắm. The smell is incredibly pungent that will drive nonVietnamese customers right out the door. If you want a taste of this exotic noodle dish, head to a Vietnamese community such as San Jose, CA. There you will find the air filled with the highly pungent smell of fermented fish and no one bats an eye.


Bún Mắm is a far cry from Vietnamese Phở. A typical bowl of Bún Mắm includes rice vermicelli noodles, egg plant, shrimp, squid, pork belly and flaky white fish. It is often served with a plentiful platter of crunchy vegetables and Vietnamese herbs, limes and fresh chilies.

What makes Bún Mắm stand out from all the other Vietnamese noodle dishes is the broth. The broth is murky, salty and flavored with the granddaddy of all Vietnamese condiments, fermented fish. The use of fermented fish to flavor the broth in this noodle dish can melt paint off walls if you are not accustomed to it. People sometimes have to take a second or two to get used to the smell. But once you get passed the smell, the taste is packed with umami flavor and it simply works.


Mún Mắm is Also Served as the Hot Pot Dish

2. Recipe of Vietnamese Fermented Fish & Seafood Vermicelli Soup:

2.1. Ingredients of Bun Mam for 4 People:

  • 1 jar fermented fish (Mắm cá sặc)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass (tender white bottom parts only)
  • 2 whole lemon grass stalks (smashed)
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 lb sliced pork belly (optional)
  • 34 eggplants (cut into bite size pieces then soak in salted water for 15 minutes)
  • 1 lb white fish fillets (cut into bite size piece)
  • 1 lb shrimp (peel and devein)
  • 1 lb squid (cut into bitesize pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder
  • Vegetable platter (bean sprouts, garlic chives, perilla, sliced red chilis and limes)
  • 1 package vermicelli noodles (cook per package instructions)

2.2. Instructions of How to Cook Bún Mắm in Vietnam:

- Fill a small pot with 1 liter water (about 4 cups) and bring to a boil. Add in the whole jar of fermented fish and cook for 5 minutes until the fish fermented fish is completely dissolved. Scoop out any foam that floats to the top and discard. Pour the liquid through a finesieve strainer. Discard the tiny bones in the strainer and set aside the liquid.

- In a large stock pot, heat vegetable oil. Add minced garlic, shallot and lemon grass. Saute until fragrant. Add 3 liters water. Pour in the fermented fish broth and bring pot to a boil. Add pork belly (optional), eggplant and bruised lemon grass stalks. Cook for 30 minutes on a low simmer.

- Add fish in a metal basket and lower the basket directly in the broth to cook. Remove fish and set aside. Do the same for shrimp and squid.

- Season broth with salt and chicken/pork/mushroom stock powder.

- To serve, add handful of vermicelli noodles into bowl, ladle on hot broth, then add seafood toppings. Serve with a plentiful platters of Vietnamese herbs, lime wedges and red chili.

3. Best Local Places/Restaurants to Try Bún Mắm in Saigon:

1. Bun Mam Co Thuy:

  • Address: 63 Co Giang, Cau Ong Lanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city
  • Price: 40.000 VND – 60.000 VND.
  • Opening Hours: 7:00 am  9:00 pm

2. Bun Mam Ben Thanh Market

  • Address: 22 Phan Boi Chau, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city
  • Price: 50.000 VND  70.000 VND.
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 am – 7:00 pm

3. Bun Mam Co Mao

  • Address: Ben Thanh Market (store number 1020)
  • Price: 50.000 VND – 75.000 VND
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 am  1:00 pm

4. Bun Mam Co Ba

  • Address: 264 Hoa Binh, Hiep Tan Ward, Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh city
  • Average Price: 30.000 VND - 50.000 VND

5. Bun Mam Bac Lieu

  • Address: 264: No. 78 Tran Nhan Tong, District 10, Ho Chi Minh city
  • Average Price: $ 40.000 VND

4. Best Local Places to Eat Bun Mam /Lẩu Mắm Hot Pot in Hanoi:

1. Lẩu mắm Long Biên Hà Nội

  • Address: Tòa chung cư HH04 5 tầng, A36, khu đô thị Việt Hưng, Long Biên, Hà Nội
  • Opening Hours: 8h00 – 23h00
  • Price: 150.000 vnđ – 250.000 vnđ

2. Lẩu mắm Bà Thành

  • Address:
    • 785 đường Trương Định, Thịnh Liệt, Hoàng Mai, Hà Nội
    • Số 24, Trung Yên 8, Cầu Giấy, Hà Nội
  • Opening Hours: 7h00 – 23h00
  • Price: 100.000 vnđ – 300.000 vnđ

3. Bà Sáu Hot Pot

  •  Address: 41 đường Văn Cao, Ba Đình, Hà Nội
  •  Opening Hours: 8h00 – 22h00
  • Price: 80.000 vnđ – 200.000 vnđ

4. Nhà hàng cô Hai – lẩu mắm Hà Nội

  • Address: 65 Nguyễn Khang, Yên Hoà, Cầu Giấy, Hà Nội
  • Opening Hours: 10h30 – 14h00 & 17h30 – 22h30
  • Price:  100.000 vnđ – 250.000 vnđ

5. Nhà hàng 3 mắm – Lẩu mắm miền Tây ở Hà Nội

  • Address: 126 Tran Nhat Duat, Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Old French Quarter
  • Opening Hours: 8h00 – 00h00
  • Price: 150.000 vnđ – 350.000 vnđ

5. Best Local Places/Restaurants to Eat Bun Mam in Da Nang:

1. Quán Dì Liên

  • Address: Số 52 Trần Bình Trọng, P. Hải Châu 2, Q. Hải Châu, Đà Nẵng
  •  Price: 15.000 – 20.000 VNĐ/ tô
  •  Opening Hours: 14h – 22h30

2. Bếp Tám Miền Tây

  • Opening Hours: 07:00 – 22:00
  • Price: 45,000đ – 65,000đ
  • Address: 284 Núi Thành, Hòa Cường Bắc, Hải Châu, Da Nang City
  • Phone: 0905 705 666

3. Vườn Chuối SG

  • Opening Hours: 07:00 – 13:00, 16:00 – 21:00
  • Price: 45.000 VND - 60.000 VND
  • Address: 236 Hải Phòng, Tam Thuận, Thanh Khê, Da Nang City
  • Phone: 0905 088 189

4. Saigon Brown Cafe & Eatery

  • Opening Hours: 06:30 – 22:30
  • Price: 55,000 VND – 70,000 VND
  • Address: 02 Tân Trào, Hoà Minh, Liên Chiểu, Da Nang City
  • Phone: 0918 472 422

5. Bún mắm miền Tây 144 Hải Phòng

  •  Opening Hours: 06:30 – 22:00
  •  Price: 45.000 VND - 60.000 VND
  •  Address: 144 Hải Phòng, Thạch Thang, Hải Châu, Danang City

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See Also:

Bún Mắm: Recipe of Vietnam Fermented Fish Noodle Soup Bún Mắm: Recipe of Vietnam Fermented Fish Noodle Soup

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