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bowl of bun rieu

Bun Rieu Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup

A beloved noodle soup that's just as delicious as pho but not quite as well known. Give this easy recipe a try!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bun rieu, crab, noodle soup
Servings: 6
Calories: 819kcal
Author: Hong and Kim


  • 5 qt stock pork or chicken
  • 1 can of minced crab in spices many brands available,should say "gia vi nau bun rieu" on it
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 oz crab meat fresh or canned/frozen drained
  • 1/4 lb dried shrimp
  • 1/4 lb of ground pork
  • 1 tsp black pepper ground
  • 1 tsp fine shrimp paste
  • 4 ripe tomatoes quartered or 1 large 16 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 10 fried firm tofu pieces whole or halved
  • 1 tbsp of annato seeds
  • 4 tbsp oil canola or vegetable
  • 4 tbs scallions chopped 1 inch


  • vermicelli noodles
  • lettuce finely chopped


  • Vietnamese herbs mint, lemon balm, split ong choy stems
  • cilantro chopped
  • scallions chopped
  • lime wedges
  • fine shrimp paste optional
  • beansprouts


  • Soak dried shrimps until softened with hot water for about 30 min to 1 hr, then mince finely until fluffy using food processor or minifood chopper and set aside. This can be done day in advance and refrigerated.
  • Cook the vermicelli noodles and set aside.
  • In small sauce pan, heat canola or vegetable oil with the annato seeds over medium heat. When the seeds release their red color, remove the seeds with strainer. (You can prepare this oil in larger quantities in advance and keeps months refrigerated). Add the scallions and turn off heat and set aside.
  • At the same time add pork or chicken stock into large pot and bring to boil.
  • In the meantime, make the crab mixture. Combine ground pork, can of prawn/crabmeat in spices, shallots, fine shrimp paste, dried shrimps, pepper, and egg into a food processor. Pulse for about 30 seconds until it becomes a fine paste. Add the crabmeat to combine. When the stock comes to a boil, turn down to simmer and slowly add this crab mixture into stock by the ladle full. The crab mixture will sink but as it cooks will float. Now add the tomatoes and tofu and cook until tomatoes are tender. Finally, season stock with additional fish sauce (or shrimp paste) as needed. Garnish with annato scallion oil.
  • Add vermicelli noodles to bowl and ladle on the bun rieu. Serve with vegetable and herbs and enjoy!


 The crab paste mix is soft and pillowy but stays together. If you like it more loose, add an additional egg or decrease the ground pork in half. Annatto seed oil (without the scallions) can be made in larger quantities and stored in fridge for months. If using prepared annatto seed oil, simply heat and stir in scallions.


Calories: 819kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 83g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 336mg | Sodium: 4129mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2541IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 938mg | Iron: 10mg
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