VietnamFood & DrinksBo Kho - Vietnamese Beef Stew

Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew

Asian food, especially Vietnamese cuisine, is well known as healthy because of the good amount of vegetables used in the recipe to balance the flavors and the meat of the dish. 

To anyone who dislikes eating vegetables, Bo kho will change your mind about tasting these green in Vietnamese cuisine. That is not because there are no vegetables in the food, but how the food is made will make you eat healthy without noticing.

What is Bo Kho and How Bo Kho is Made

Bo kho is a kind of beef stew with touches of Vietnamese flavors.

“Kho” in Bo kho is actually a cooking method in which you braise the meat in a broth until most of the broth evaporates. However, Bo kho is more like a stew. The beef is marinated with five-spice powder or curry powder – the special ingredient that makes Bo kho different from other beef stews – salt, sugar, and pepper, then stewed in water or coconut juice. Many vegetables and spices like onion, carrot, potato, and lemongrass are also added to balance the hearty and meaty beef. Add a little achiote oil if you want to make the color the broth more attractive. And finally, finish the dish with a little bit of spring onion and Vietnamese basil.

Bo kho nguyen cu trinh 1

When ordering Bo kho, you will be asked if you want to eat it with banh mi, ramen, or rice noodle. Different kinds of starch will give the dish a different flavor, but whatever you choose, the hearty yet refreshing beef flavor will blow you away.

The origin of Bo kho is originally a Chinese recipe, but there have been some changes in the recipe to suit the available local ingredients and taste. Besides Pho, which is another beef dish with noodles, Bo kho is an incredibly popular breakfast in Vietnam. The difference between the dishes is that Pho is lighter and less oily. But who can resist enjoying the delicious stew Bo kho at any time of day?

Where to Eat Bo Kho in Ho Chi Minh City

Bo kho is usually on the menu but not the main star of food stalls or restaurants, so to find a place serving this Vietnamese beef stew without knowing what’s on the menu is difficult, especially when you are just traveling. Below are some good places to try out Bo Kho’s taste.

Bo Kho Nam Sao (Bo Kho Nguyen Cu Trinh)

Address: 81 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 7 AM – 9 PM. Bo kho is usually sold out after 7 PM
Price: VND 60,000

Bo kho nguyen cu trinh 1

The outside of Bo Kho Nam Sao

The restaurant has a convenient location in the center of the city, near Bui Vien Walking Street, where there are many entertainment places and hotels. Not only that, but Bo Kho Nam Sao is also a decent and clean restaurant with an air-conditioner and tidy rows of tables.

Bo kho nguyen cu trinh 1

A bowl of Bo kho with bread (Banh mi)

A full bowl of Kho Bo in here is a perfect combination of sourness and sweetness, tenderness and softness, flavorful beef, and fresh herbs. A basket of greens, like Vietnamese basil and beansprout, is served separately, along with spices like chili, salt pepper, and limes. Besides the Bo kho, the restaurant also serves several beef dishes cooked in Vietnamese style.

The owner is friendly and speaks English well. You should have no trouble making the order and even having a little conversation with her about the culture, lifestyle, and food of Vietnam and other countries that you have been to.

Bo Kho Vo Van Tan

Address: Alley 194 Vo Van Tan, Ward 5, District 3
Opening hours: 4 PM – 9 PM. You should come before 8:30 because the Bo kho is often sold out after this hour.
Price: VND 35,000

At 194 Alley on Vo Van Tan Street, there is a big sign written “Bo Kho”; walk a few meters in the alley, and you will meet the food stall. If you want to eat Bo kho the local style, this is the best place to be.
The Vietnamese beef stew here has become one of the most famous street foods in the community. You can eat at the restaurant at the small table and chairs or buy the takeaway.

Bo kho nguyen cu trinh 1

Bo Kho Vo Van Tan hiding in a small alley with street-style food stall

The staff can’t speak English well, but they are friendly and enthusiastic people so there should be no worry when you make your order and eat here. Owned by a Vietnamese-Indian lady, Bo Kho Vo Van Tan is a flawless mix of the two cuisines, bringing the unique flavor that only this food stall has. The bowl of Bo kho here is also served with a basket of herbs, chili, and limes to bring out extra flavor and aroma.

Bo kho nguyen cu trinh 1

A bowl of Banh mi Bo kho at 194 Vo Van Tan

Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
for fun and insightful trips in Ho Chi Minh City!

family outing in ho chi minh city motorcycle

Conclusion on Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew

The fun thing when traveling to another country is learning about the culture, people, and stories through the food. And we guarantee Bo Kho is a ticket to an amazing trip to Vietnam that you haven’t seen before.

You can also try out other famous Vietnamese cuisines in our guides or check out our private food tour and know more about other delicious foods.

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