Bun rieu cua tom oc recipe

From Wandering Chopsticks

As I said, Bun Rieu Cua Tom Oc (Vietnamese Crab and Shrimp Paste Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Snails) was the beginning of a furious week of cooking. Bun rieu is one of my favorite Vietnamese soups. It’s also the most laborious on account of shelling the crab. It’s also one of the most expensive meals I’ve made as I spent about $30 on ingredients. Ironically, it wasn’t the fresh crab that was so expensive as I went with the cheaper rock crab that are usually $1.99/lb at the San Gabriel Superstore. The tomatoes, especially out of season, were almost the same price as the crab. But a proper bowl of bun rieu cua tom oc also includes a pound of shrimp, periwinkles, curled rau muong (Vietnamese water spinach) stems, sliced banana blossoms, pork spare ribs, fried tofu, and more. Yes, there are a lot of components to bun rieu, but made properly, it will also be one of the most satisfying of Vietnamese soups.

Bun Rieu Cua Tom Oc

Bun Rieu Cua Tom Oc. Photo from Wandering Chopsticks.

As with a lot of my cooking, I had a craaaaving. A craving in which I knew I would not be satisfied with a restaurant version of bun rieu. This is not a recipe I would have attempted until now. One of the benefits of blogging is that I recall flavors of dishes much better than I have in the past. Before, I would have been satisfied thinking something was “good” or “good enough.” These days, I find myself picking apart the flavors and textures and ingredients of favored dishes. Am I turning into my momma? Ack!

Unfortunately, bun rieu is one of those soups with which people often take short cuts. Every recipe I stumbled across online used canned crab paste. I used to think my second-youngest uncle’s wife’s bun rieu was great. And while it still is, I was disilllusioned when I saw her open a can of bun rieu crab paste. *Sniffle.* Even a consultation with my favored “Secrets of the Red Lantern: Stories and Vietnamese Recipes from the Heart” cookbook turned up the use of canned crab paste. Nooo!!!

No canned crab paste for me! I was on my own with this one.

I don’t remember my mom making bun rieu often when I was growing up. Nonetheless, no adventurous recipe tackle can be started without a quick consultation with my momma. I remembered Noodlepie’s photo of a “rieu” that was in one big piece, the traditional way that it’s supposed to be made. The “rieu” is only broken when serving. Instead of one big piece, my mom prefers to spoon out small balls of the crab and shrimp paste actually. Ssshh! And when crabs are too expensive, she uses canned bun rieu crab paste too.

Mom asked me how I planned to make the broth.

Strained crab and shrimp shells. Pork spare ribs.

What about the “rieu”?

Crab, shrimp, pork, and eggs to bind them together.

Well, then, seemed like I knew what I was doing, she said. And that was that.

As I said, there are a lot of components to bun rieu. I’ve handily labeled all the key parts for you below. Make a list when you go grocery shopping. You’ll need it.

I made a 7-quart pot and then some. Invited my brother and his wife over for dinner. My brother’s usual “compliment” is none at all and when pressed, once said: “I’m eating it, aren’t I?”

But that evening, they both slurped every last bit of the broth. Brother asked me how many times I had attempted bun rieu before.

First time!

He was amazed. And when I offered to pack some to-go for both of them, they leapt at the chance. His wife was quite excited, and well, the only other food I can remember her getting excited about was my chicken liver pate.

I still had plenty left over for the next day so I invited Tony of Sinosoul and his better half, and Gourmet Pigs and her friend. Despite groaning about how full he was, Tony still ate five bowls.

Umm, you could have stopped when you hit full, instead of eating until bursting, I said.

But Tony replied that he knew he couldn’t get this kind of bun rieu in a restaurant and was afraid I would never make it again.


Amused by the absurdity, I retold the story to Gourmet Pigs, who urged, “You’re going to make it again. Right? Right?”

And then her friend hopped onto her chat to thank me again for the bun rieu.

Later, I told my momma all the stories – about how my brother and his wife slurped every last bit of broth, about how Tony ate five bowls, and about how Gourmet Pigs asked if I’ll make bun rieu again. Despite vaguely knowing about my blog for the past several years (my oldest uncle stumbled upon it one day and told my parents), my mom hadn’t really bothered to read it. Until now. What can I say? Bun rieu has magical powers.

(Hi, mommy! I don’t really eat as much as it looks like! I feed lots of other people with my cooking and the going out pictures are of other people’s food too! My blog isn’t real-time! I know that’s not the way you do things, but I cook differently and other people seem to like it just fine. I promise to exercise more and eat less! I’m watching out for lil’ sis! I feed brother and his wife too! I know you love me, but it doesn’t help me find a husband or give you grandchildren any sooner when you nag. 😛 I love you!)



Báo Người Việt hoan nghênh quý vị độc giả đóng góp và trao đổi ý kiến. Chúng tôi xin quý vị theo một số quy tắc sau đây:

Tôn trọng sự thật.
Tôn trọng các quan điểm bất đồng.
Dùng ngôn ngữ lễ độ, tương kính.
Không cổ võ độc tài phản dân chủ.
Không cổ động bạo lực và óc kỳ thị.
Không vi phạm đời tư, không mạ lỵ cá nhân cũng như tập thể.

Tòa soạn sẽ từ chối đăng tải các ý kiến không theo những quy tắc trên.

Xin quý vị dùng chữ Việt có đánh dấu đầy đủ. Những thư viết không dấu có thể bị từ chối vì dễ gây hiểu lầm cho người đọc. Tòa soạn có thể hiệu đính lời văn nhưng không thay đổi ý kiến của độc giả, và sẽ không đăng các bức thư chỉ lập lại ý kiến đã nhiều người viết. Việc đăng tải các bức thư không có nghĩa báo Người Việt đồng ý với tác giả.

World Cup brings back the old world for elderly Vietnamese-Americans

Hundreds of soccer fans fill the newspaper’s community room and yell out any missed opportunities on near-goals.

Dispelling the stereotype: Vietnamese American high school students rely on self-resilience to achieve graduation

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English Alvin Nguyen, Donny Pham, Cathy Duong and Long Ho are four of thousands of high school seniors in California who are graduating this month. At first glance, this group of Vietnamese American high school...

The Bun Bo Hue chay, healthy and homey Vietnamese vegetarian dish with stylish taste

Vietnamese spicy beef noodle soup, or Bun Bo Hue chay, gets me every time.

Viet Stories exhibit to close

Titi Mary Tran YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Viet Stories, an exhibit that highlights the accomplishments, hardships and experiences of Vietnamese Americans, will end May 28 and faces an uncertain future. The exhibit, which began Feb. 17, is at the Richard Nixon...

The Quiet Vietnamese Mothers: an untold story

Mothers rarely receive the recognition they deserve. The same for my mother, who grew up with and survived the war in Vietnam.

The path to the perfect wedding dress is filled with sparkles, ‘con artists’ and A-Lines

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English The time for the wedding dress has come. After the reception and ceremony, the wedding dress probably is one of the most difficult items to find and one of the most expensive wedding costs the...

Wedding planning journal first page: Budget and Location

Wedding planning can be very stressful and overwhelming. A journal to planning a wedding in Orange County, California.

Traditional meals for Tet

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English Tet, the Vietnamese celebration of the Lunar New Year, is this weekend - Friday through Sunday.  Relatives from overseas and out of states are arriving to visit loved ones and gather around their "anchored"...

Little Saigon prepares flower market for Tet 2018

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English WESTMINSTER, Calif. (NV) - When the sun sets on Thursday, owners of flower shops and Tet's games and trucks start pouring in Asian Garden Mall, preparing for the opening of Tet's flower market Friday,...

When going to the market is not a chore, but a joy

Titi Mary Tran/ Nguoi Viet English ANTONY, France (NV) - If going to the grocery market is a daily chore, a number of reasons would spring to mind: not enough time, two many options, ingredients are tasteless, generic modified food,...