Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vietnamese Tomato and Crab Noodle Soup

Tonight for dinner, I made Vietnamese Tomato and Crab Noodle Soup.  It doesn't actually have crab in it, but it has crab paste oil in it, which makes the soup base turn red.  It's a simple, light soup almost anyone can appreciate.  It does, however, have a unique taste that some may feel hesitant about eating, but it's worth giving a try.  You never know ... It may turn out to be a recipe you keep for a very long time. 

I first encountered this soup as a child.  We had a Vietnamese neighbor who made this soup for us.  I never knew how to make it until years later when I found a recipe for it in "Quick and Easy - Vietnamese Home Cooking for Everyone," written by Andre Nguyen and Yukiko Moriyama.  If you love Vietnamese food, you'll definitely love this book!  It's one of my favorite.

In all honesty, making this soup is far too easy.  It takes no longer than an hour.  In fact, you could make it in 30 minutes or less.  That's how quick it is.


10 1/2 oz (300 g) rice vermicelli
12 cups chicken or pork stock
1/4 cup dried shrimp, soaked in water
1 tomato
1 green onion
3 oz (90 g) ground pork or chicken
2 Tbsp store-brought crab meat paste
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fine shrimp sauce
1/8 tsp. paprika
2 eggs beaten

1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar

1.  Cook rice vermicelli in boiling water until softened.  Drain and set aside.  Soak dried shrimp until softened.  These noodles cook really fast, so keep an eye on them!

2.  Slice tomato and green onion.  If you have pre-sliced green onions, it sure does save time.  You can also add more tomatoes if you are a vegetable freak like me.  I added three tomatoes.

3.  Combine ground meat, crab meat paste, 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce, fine shrimp paste, dried shrimp, sugar and paprika.  Add beaten eggs, and mix in a blender.  Blend well.

It may not look appetizing here and the smell is unbearable I must add, but after you pour it into the soup, it's all good!  If you aren't used to the smell of crab and shrimp paste, hold your breath!  It will be appetizing once it's in a hot bowl of soup.

4.  Pour meat mixture into boiling stock.  Season stock with fish sauce and sugar.  Add tomato.  In a large soup bowl, place noodles and pour over soup.

If you have the time to make soup stock from scratch, then good for you.  As for me, I use bouillion granules.

After pouring the meat mixture into the soup and the tomatoes, I like to simmer it for sometime, just to be extra sure the meat has been cooked.  Afterwards, I grab a bowl, put noodles inside, and pour the broth over it.

If you like, add some green onions and cilantro on top!  It really adds to the dish.

Hope you enjoy the recipe!


  1. your bun rieu looks great! we like adding tofu in it as well.

  2. Thanks for posting the ingredients. Your pictures were very helpful as well. My mom made this very often but she always had the ingredients around the house so I don't know which particular ingredients she used. I was about to call her and ask until I saw your post. I made this for dinner using pork ribs so that made the stock as well. Then I just added all the ingredients in the stock from the pork ribs (this way I can even save time from mixing everything together because eventually everything mixed together in the stock. After simmering the soup for about 1 hour cooked the meat from the pork ribs fell right off and I had shreded pork meat in the bun rieu. It tasted very good; it very similar to my mom's. Thanks for posting.

  3. Thanks for your comment! The way you made it sounds incredible. I'll have to try ribs in it next time. If you click on the link "Ravenous Couple," they had a lot of GREAT recipes you might enjoy too.


Thank you for your comments!


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