What is bun rieu?
Bun rieu (bún riêu, pronounced “boen rie-joe”), also known as bun rieu cua, is a Vietnamese noodle soup from the north of the country, with sweet crab and sour tamarind. The soup also contains rice vermicelli noodles (bun), fresh tomatoes, pork and egg.
The crab is sometimes rolled into balls with the egg and minced pork, sometimes the mixture is also simmered loosely in the soup (rieu) and forms a kind of cloud on the surface.
Traditionally, freshwater crabs are caught in the rice fields. The crabmeat and shells are crushed into a fine paste that forms the basis for the broth. Nowadays, most Vietnamese people don’t go crab hunting in the rice fields but buy their crab ready-made.
Common toppings for bun rieu are fresh herbs, thin strips of leafy vegetables, bean sprouts and spring onion. The soup is additionally flavoured at the table with shrimp paste, among other things. Bun rieu is always prepared slightly differently depending on the chef. There are variants with tofu, molluscs, cubes of pig blood or diced Vietnamese sausage.
How to make bun rieu
A mixture of minced pork, crab meat, tamarind, shrimp paste and egg is cooked in a broth – preferably one made from crab dishes and crab paste. The crab mixture rises to the surface once it is cooked. Rice vermicelli noodles, slices of fresh tomato and cubes of fried tofu are dropped in. Finally, fresh herbs and vegetables add extra colour, aroma and crispness.
Why not try?
Do you like the sour taste of tamarind? Try a bowl of canh chua, a sweet and sour fish soup from southern Vietnam. Banh canh, a soup with thick noodles, also features crab meat and is known as banh canh cua. Shark fin soup is also made with egg.