Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup (Bun Rieu)

February 18, 2015
4 Ratings
Author Notes

This is my mothers recipe. She is a very good cook and makes amazing soups. She's always experimenting and trying to find ways to improve her recipes. This soup is a pretty traditional Vietnamese soup that is not as well known as Pho, but is just as good or even better. If you like seafood, this soup is amazing. Although it takes some time to make, you will not be disappointed. —Mary Truong

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 8
  • Broth Ingredients
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1.5 pounds pork neck bones
  • 2 pounds head on shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind powder
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned crab paste
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 6 quarts water
  • 2 packets rice noodles
  • Meatball Ingredients
  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • .5 pounds ground pork
  • 2 pounds peeled shrimp (from the broth step)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned crab paste
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • .5 cups water
  • 1 bunch cilantro (optional)
  • 3 large limes (optional)
  • chili sate (optional)
  • bean sprouts (optional)
  • fried tofu (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Broth Ingredients
  2. Add water to a 5 quarts pot and boil. When the water is boiling add the noodles in and cook until they are al dente. Strain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Set it aside.
  3. Take a large stock pot and put the pork bones in it. Fill with water and boil for a few minutes and discard the water. Add 5 quarts of fresh water to the pork bones again and boil for an hour or longer. (The longer you boil the better the broth will be.)
  4. Peel the shrimp. Reserve the shrimp in a bowl and put the head and shrimp shells into the pork broth that was made in the previous step. Boil until the broth turns red from the shrimp shells (about 20 minutes). Remove the shells and pork bones from the broth.
  5. Add the tamarind powder, 1 tsp of Shrimp paste, 3 Tbsp of crab paste, 3 Tbsp of sugar, 2 Tbsp of salt and 1 Tbsp of black pepper into the broth and let it boil.
  6. Cut the Tomatoes into quarters and add them to the broth last.
  1. Meatball Ingredients
  2. In a food processor add the 2 lbs of the peeled shrimp, 5 eggs, 3 Tbsp of crab paste, 1 tsp of shrimp paste, 1/2 cup of water, 1.5 tsp of sugar, 2 shallots, 1 green onions and the white onion and pulse into a paste.
  3. Gently fold the crab meat with the shrimp paste until uniform.
  4. Boil the broth from above. When it is boiling take the meatball mixture and make free formed meatballs with a spoon putting them into the broth. Add the fried tofu at this point. The meatballs are done cooking when they start floating to the top.
  5. Toppings: - Chop up the remaining green onions from the bunch and bunch of cilantro - slice the remaining white onion thinly - quarter the limes
  6. Assemble: - Put noodles in a bowl, add any of the toppings/garnishes. Ladle in the soup with tomatoes and meatballs. Squeeze some lime and add some sate.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mary Truong
    Mary Truong
  • Dordorchan2
  • Mo