Bun Rieu – Vietnamese Crab Noodle soup

When it comes to Vietnamese noodle type soups, most people have heard of the unfortunately named “pho”, (pronounced more like poe then poo if that matters), but there is so much more to the soupy noodle world of Vietnam, and probably the best is Bun Rieu.

So, what is Bun Rieu?

Bún riêu is a traditional Vietnamese soup of crab and vermicelli. There are several varieties of bún riêu but in the interests of today’s food lesson, we’re gonna concentrate on the crab variety.

Bun Rieu is served with a tomato brother of the crab of a paddy crab. These crabs live in the paddy fields of Vietnam and the paste is created by first putting the crabs into the water to clean out the crab before literally washing the crab shell and all into a pulp. Said pulp is then strained into a fine paste and voila you have crab paste.

The tomato brother then gets mixed with tamarind, vinegar, tofu, onions, water spinach, banana leaves, pork, vermicelli rice noodles and finally the paste is added before being served piping hot to your table.

The flavors in the dish really do combine perfectly, although as is traditional in Vietnam, you are provided with an array of condiments, such as hot sauce and calamansi limes to make the dish to your perfection. I add salt and hot sauce to everything I eat in Vietnam, but hey that’s just how I roll!

Bún riêu

Bun Rieu is a famous dish throughout the country but in my experience at least the further south you are, such as Saigon or Nha Trang, the better the quality of the crab, and the dish as a whole. Much like Bun Cha should be eaten in Hanoi, Bun Rieu is a Southern thing.

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