Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Ground Crab and Egg and Tomatoes

Bún Riêu

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine And Culture In Southern California's Little Saigon

Little Saigon Cookbook

By Ann Le

Published 2011

  • About

The fragrance and acidity of the tomatoes balance out this noodle soup so that the shrimp and crab are not overwhelming. Not every restaurant makes a decent bowl of bun rieu. There are a few Hue-specific restaurants in Little Saigon that specialize in this soup, and it’s the only thing any diner will order.


  • 10 cups unsalted chicken stock (homemade or purchased)
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • cup dried shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 5 clove garlic, peeled
  • cups fresh crabmeat
  • tablespoons shrimp paste
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ pound thick rice vermicelli (bun day)
  • 4 scallions, chopped into rings
  • Additional shrimp paste


    1. In a stockpot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the fish sauce, dried shrimp, peppercorns, and sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for about a half hour. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the tomatoes. Continue simmering, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and shallots for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the crabmeat and shrimp paste. Sauté for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper until the eggs are light and fluffy. Add the crabmeat mixture to the beaten eggs. Set aside.
    4. Slowly pour the egg and crabmeat mixture into the cooking stock. Gently run chopsticks or a fork through the egg mixture to lightly separate the eggs. You want the egg mixture to clump up in the soup. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes over low heat. Remove the pot from the heat if you’re not ready to serve.
    5. Bring the soup back to a boil 10 minutes before serving.
    6. In a small pot, bring water to a boil to cook the vermicelli noodles. Cook noodles for just 3 minutes, drain, and cool with cold water. Divide noodles into six individual serving bowls. Garnish each serving with the scallions.
    7. Ladle the hot broth along with chunks of tomato and the egg and crab mixture over the noodles. Serve hot with the salad platter and a bowl of shrimp paste.