Bun Rieu (Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup)

If I had to choose between Pho or Bun Rieu, I would definitely pick Bun Rieu. As much as I love Pho noodles, Bun Rieu wins because of the seafood. This bowl of goodness is packed with sweet, tart and tangy flavors coming from boiling the tomato and shell fish for less than 30 minutes. My favorite part of eating this dish is the meaty seafood balls and the condiments.

Recipe - Bun Rieu (Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup

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  • 5 cups of water
  • 5 medium tomatoes (quartered cut)
  • 1 lb shrimp with head and shell on (separate shell and head)
  • 1 cup of crab meat (can use can or fresh)
  • 1 lb grounded pork or chicken
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jar/can minced crab spice
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste
  • 4 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 pack of vermicelli noodles
  • 4 tablespoon oil
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  • 2 stalk of green onions, chopped
  • hand full of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 bag bean sprouts, washed
  • 1/2 cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 lime, cut wedges
  • 2 red chili (optional)


  1. Prepare the noodles per package instruction then set it to the side.
  2. Chop onions and shallots in slices, tomatoes in quarters. Set them to the side.
  3. Peel and devein the shrimps. DO NOT throw away the shrimp shell and the shrimp heads. Keep it in a bowl and set it to the side. Will need this to make the broth.
  4. After the shrimps peeled and deveined, you can either use a food processor or chop it on your own until it turns into a paste.
  5. Using a 5 quart pot on high heat, add in 2 tablespoons of oil, shrimp shells and heads. Stir fry until it turns pink. Add in water and scrap the bottom of the pot. Bring the soup to a boil and let it boil for 10 minutes. Try to skim as much foam as possible with a fine mesh strainer.
  6. While we wait, mix the chopped shrimp paste, grounded pork, fermented shrimp paste, sugar, egg, crab meat, shallots and half portion of the crab spice in a bowl (reserve half for the broth) and set it to the side.
  7. Pour the soup into a strainer, leaving just the broth. In the same pot high heat, add in 2 tablespoons of oil, onion and tomatoes. Once the onions turn transparent, add in the broth , fish sauce, and the remaining of the minced crab spice from the jar/can. Boil until the tomatoes are soft. Taste the broth, adjust with salt / pepper if needed.
  8. Turn down the heat to medium high before cooking the crab mixture.
  9. Use a spoon, scoop a ball of crab mixture into the broth. Scoop as many crab mixture into the broth as you desired. Cook for 15 or until the crab mixture is cooked.
  10. Prepare the condiments. Grab a bowl, assemble and enjoy.


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