Image Credit: Nicholas VonSchantz-Ricci

Vietnamese cuisine is rapidly gaining popularity throughout the United States. This newfound popularity is well-deserved, as Vietnamese cooking is known for its extensive use of fresh herbs, spices, rice and tropical fruits, all of which work together to create healthy, boldly-flavored dishes. Those unfamiliar with this fresh and comforting cuisine can dive right in at Buba Noodle Bar.

Situated on Lowell Street in downtown Manchester, Buba Noodle Bar is the creation of Trumin Nguyen, who strived to bring his expertise in Vietnamese cuisine to Manchester. “Our family has owned restaurants for fifteen years and we hoped to expand. Manchester is growing and we wanted to be a part of that,” said Nguyen.

Nguyen also believes in giving back to the local community. Buba recently held its grand opening, and 15 percent of the sales were donated to Families in Transition-New Horizons.

Buba specializes in pho (pronounced FUH), a traditional soup featuring house-made broth, rice noodles, scallions, cilantro and a choice of beef, chicken or vegetables. Preparation of the broth is given the utmost care because a well-made broth is the key to an authentic pho. Their beef broth consists of beef bones and spices that are left to simmer for many hours.

“When you eat pho, you have to know how the broth is made. The broth’s complexity is made over eighteen hours by simmering bones. The sweetness of the bones and the natural spice of ginger and onions combined makes a really good broth,” said Nguyen. “We have a lot of people say that it is probably the best soup in New Hampshire.”

The signature pho at Buba is the beef version, which consists of rare steak, brisket, meatballs and/or flank steak simmered in that meticulously prepared broth. The soup arrives tantalizingly hot with fresh bean sprouts, basil, jalapenos and lime wedges on the side. Sriracha and hoisin are also available to add additional spice and sweetness, but many consider them superfluous.

“You just enjoy the broth. When you eat pho, eat the broth first. See how you like it and then you adjust accordingly…different people have different tastes. Usually, the sriracha and hoisin is on the side to dip the meat in, but you never add that into the broth,” said Nguyen.

There is more to the menu than pho. Appetizers include shrimp spring rolls with peanut sauce, mussels simmered in white wine, coconut milk, lemongrass and Thai basil and chicken wings seasoned with chili garlic sauce. Additional main course options include grilled beef with vermicelli noodles and tofu with lemongrass.

The restaurant is petite and cozy, with a semi-open kitchen, a handful of tables and attractive lighting. The casual, yet inviting atmosphere is perfect for a get-together with friends or family.

The name Buba stands for “Be Unique, Be Authentic (B.U.B.A),” and Nguyen and his team have encapsulated this motto in everything they do. For fantastic pho and amazing noodles, Buba is unbeatable.

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