Food For Four

Bún Riêu Cua -Vietnamese Tomato and Crab Noodle Soup

Posted on | March 12, 2013 | Vietnamese Recipes | No Comments

Bun Rieu Cua

Bún riêu is a crab noodle soup with many colours and flavours. So I may have cheated by using the bún riêu flavouring from a can, but if there ever was a time to use canned flavouring for a dish this would be the one time. The aroma and flavours from this canned  bún riêu flavouring is just so intense. This is the only dish my mum never makes from scratch. I haven’t had bún riêu made from scratch to know the true flavouring of this dish. To make bún riêu from scratch would involve removing shells from many crabs and then pounding them and mixing with shrimp paste to create the broth. But my cheat method is so tasty and easier so I’m sticking with it.

Bun rieu cua - crab meat in spices

Bún riêu has a unique delicate crab meat mixture which floats to the top of the soup once cooked called “riêu”. I use the canned bún riêu flavouring to mix with crab meat and egg to create the crab mixture. I prefer mine to be more formed and care is taken when ladling the mixture into the soup and let the mixture set slightly before I dropping it completely into the soup pot.

Bun rieu - Vietnamese crab noodle soup

Water spinach is the special vegetable that accompanies bún riêu along with fresh herbs, bean sprout, coriander, chopped spring onion. I split the water spinach stems by hand which was a little time consuming but you can get a device which does the job quite easily (available at asian groceries).

Bun rieu rau muong

Bún Riêu Cua -Vietnamese Tomato and Crab Noodle Soup Recipe

Serves 6 – 8


2kg chicken bones
6 litres of water
1 brown onion, quartered
1 kg ripe tomatoes
1 packet of fried tofu, cut in halves
1 packet of dried vermicelli noodles

Crab meat mixture

4 eggs
150 – 200g crab meat
can of prawn in spices


Coriander, sliced
Spring onion, green part thinly sliced
Vietnamese herbs
Bean sprouts
Lime, cut into wedges
Chilli, sliced
Water spinach
Shrimp paste (optional)


To get clear stock, parboil the chicken bones first. To do this, add bones and cover with water. Boil vigorously for 15 minutes. Pour the water, rinse the chicken bones and was the pot.

In the clean pot, add 6 litres of water and add the chicken bones. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmering. Scoop out the scum that rises on top. Add the onion. Leave to boi for 1.5 – 2 hours.

In a large bowl, add the crab meat, can of crab meat in spices and eggs. Mix well. Set aside and refrigerate.

After  1.5 – 2 hours, drain the stock through a strainer into another pot. Bring to a boil and season with salt, fish sauce and sugar. Add tomatoes and tofu. Cook for about 15 minutes on a simmer.

On a Scoop up one ladle of the crab meat mixture and hold it in the stock until it starts to set, then use another spoon to help gently release the mixture  into the stock. Repeat this process with the remaining mixture.

To serve, divide the noodles into bowls. Gently spoon the crab mixture on top of the noodles, and ladle soup, tomatoes and tofu into bowls. Garnish with spring onion and coriander. Serve with lemon, bean sprouts, fresh herbs and water spinach.

Vietnamese Tomato and Crap Noodle Soup

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