Bun rieu (Bún riêu)

BUN RIEU (Vietnamese: Bún riêu) is a traditional Vietnamese meat, rice vermicelli soup. There are several varieties of BÚN RIÊU, including BUN RIEU CUA (bún riêu cua), BUN RIEU CA (bún riêu cá), and BUN RIEU OC (bún riêu ốc)… This dish is well-known in the country and in the world.

BÚN RIÊU CUA is served with tomato broth and topped with FRESHWATER CRAB . In this dish, various freshwater paddy crabs are used, including the brown paddy crab found in rice paddies in Vietnam. The crabs are cleaned by being placed in clean water to remove dirt and sand. The crabs are pounded with the shell on into a fine paste. This paste is strained and the crab liquid is a base for the soup along with tomato. The crab residue is used as the basis for crab cakes. Other ingredients for this dish include tamarind paste, fried tofu, mẻ or giấm bổng (kinds of rice vinegar), Garcinia multiflora Champ., annatto seeds (hạt điều màu) to redden the broth, huyết (congealed pig’s blood), split water spinach stems, shredded banana flower, rau kinh giới (Elsholtzia ciliata), spearmint, perilla, bean sprouts and chả chay (vegetarian sausage). This dish is rich in nutrition: calcium from the ground crab shells, iron from the congealed pig’s blood, and vitamins and fiber from the vegetables.

“Bún riêu” has a fresh sour, so Vietnamese like to enjoy it in summer. There are many restaurants in Vietnam that sell this dish.


I. Traditional RECIPE:


  • 2ltrs chicken or pork stock (or cold water)
  • 1kg fresh rice noodle (BÚN) (or 450gr dry rice noodle, cooked as direction on package)
  • 100gr minced PORK
  • 50gr dried SHRIMPs (soaked in water until soft)
  • 2nos EGG
  • 200gr SOYBEAN CURD, cube, Deep fried
  • 4nos TOMATO, cut into wedges
  • 50gr SCALLION, thinly sliced
  • 2tbsps ACHIOTE oil
  • SHRIMP SAUCE to taste
  • FISH SAUCE to taste
  • RAU GHÉM (*): DẤP CÁ (fish mint), KINH GIỚI (Vietnamese balm), TÍA TÔ (perilla) , HÚNG CÂY (wild mint) , WATER SPINACH thinly julienne…


  1. Wash the crab carefully, take off the shell, pick all roe and put in a bowl, set aside.
  2. Using MORTAR AND PESTLE to pound the crab until become a paste.
  3. Meanwhile, Put stock or water into a soup pot, bring to a boil.
  4. Put crab’s roe, crab paste and some cold water in a bowl, using your finger, or a ladle, press and mix the paste to extract meat from crushed crab, then let crab meat and their juice go through the strainer, into a soup pot. Do a few time until all crab meat extracted all. Discard solid (crushed shell).
  5. Bring to simmer (like cooking comsommé), on slow heat. Slowly stir, don’t break the foam floating on suface. Using a ladle, take out the crabmeat’s foam and put in a bowl, keep warm for reserve. (That is called RIÊU CUA)
  6. In a wok (or sauteing pan), saute the tomato wedges (don’t mash them), then put them and soybean curds into soup. Seasoning to taste with FISH SAUCE, TAMARIND juice, SHRIMP SAUCE, PEPPER, SALT, (or PORK/CHICKEN BOOSTER). Still keep simmering.
  7. Make dumpling: Use a food processor, chopped dried shrimp finely, then mix with minced pork, egg, seasong, form a paste. Use a spoon, form small balls, put into soup, do until all meat mixture finished. It takes a bout 5 minutes to cook (done when they are floating). Adjust seasoning, add 2tbsp achiote oil for coloring.
  8. ASSEMBLE: Put the noodle in to a serving bowl, ladle the soup and its contains (tomato wedges, bean curd), put some RIÊU CUA (done above- step 5), sprinkle with some sliced scallion, served with condiments as lime wedges, RAU GHÉM, minced chili, bean sprouts, SHRIMP SAUCE.


II. Simple RECIPE:


  • 3 TOMATOes cut into wedges
  • 3 EGGs, beaten
  • 300 g PORK, minced
  • 1 can. canned CRAB MEAT
  • 1 tbsp fine SHRIMP SAUCE
  • 1 tbsp TAMARIND
  • 1 kg rice noodle (Dry rice stick)
  • 1 ONION peeled and halved
  • 1 bunch spring onion chopped
  • 500 g bean SPROUTS
  • FISH SAUCE to taste
  • Fried soybean curd cut cube 3cm X 3cm
  • Fresh herbs: Sweet basil, Vietnamese balm, TÍA TÔ, …


  1. In a large bowl, crack the 3 eggs and beat well. Then add 1 can of minced crab in spices and the minced pork and mix well. Season with 1tsp salt.
  2. In a soup pot, fry minced garlic and onion with some cooking oil till fragrant. Add the the tomato wedges and 1tbsp fish sauce. Stir well, cover the lid and cook for 3 mins.
  3. Then add 1½ liter boiling water and the onion.
  4. Add 1tsp salt, 1tbsp tamarind, 1tbsp fine shrimp paste (optional). Scoop the crab meat mixture into the soup pot. The meat is cooked when they float to the surface.
  5. To cook the noodles, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1tsp vinegar and the noodles. Cook for 3-5 minutes following package instructions. Drain the noodles in a strainer and rinse again with cold water. Then rinse one more time with hot water.
  6. To assemble the dish, place a handful of noodles in a bowl, ladle the soup and meat balls, bean curds over the noodles. Top with some chopped spring onion, herbs and coloring oil if preferred.


(*): Rau ghem, Rau ghém or Rau sống is a mixture of raw vegetable julienne (usually WATER SPINACH, BANANA FLOWER, SPROUT) and fresh herbs like DẤP CÁ, TÍA TÔ, RAU RĂM, KINH GIỚI, HÚNG QUẾ, HÚNG CÂY, HÚNG LỦI,…. It is used as condiments for their dishes to combine properly with each main dish in flavour. Dishes in which rau sống is indispensable are BÁNH XÈO, BÚN BÒ HUẾ, BÚN RIÊU and hot pot. The vegetables principally are herbs and wild edible vegetables gathered from forests and family gardens. Leaves and buds (MANGO, GUAVA, BANANA) are the most common parts of vegetables used. Most of the vegetables have medicinal value.

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