My mom's bun rieu is my favorite Vietnamese soup of all time. Yes, it trumps pho by a long shot. Bun rieu is a Vietnamese crab noodle soup served with split ong choy stalks and leaves and sometimes with escargot. Today I attempted to make bun rieu for the first time.
The pork broth was made by simmering 1lb of pork spare ribs with 4-5 cups of water, some sauteed garlic, and 4 large dried shrimp with peel on. I cooked it for about 3 hours total on medium. You only need 1.5 hours but I was hoping to draw out more of the flavor from the shrimps.
Here's the broth halfway through cooking.
Here's the broth after adding tomatoes, canned crab, and crab paste (pictured below). I also added fish sauce, sugar, and shrimp paste to taste in order to balance the flavors.
Here are all the ingredients named above + vermicelli for later.
I deep fried some silken tofu. It should be the firmer tofu because silken is too soft but this was all we had on hand. It holds up decently though. It takes about 10 minutes to fry a batch in vegetable oil.
Here's the final set up. My bowl of bun rieu with rau moung (ong choy veggie), green onions, lime wedges, and more shrimp paste.
How did it taste? Pretty good. A very decent and noble first try. It didn't give me the sort of joy that my mom's version did but I will get there one day. I love putting in so much rau moung and then adding piping hot broth so that it cooks the stems into a soft noodle texture. I definitely need to split my rau moung into finer strands. I'm also missing bean sprouts and a handful of fresh herbs. There is something missing from my broth and seasoning. A few more experiments should help me figure it out. In the meantime, if you want a good recipe, of course, refer to the Ravenous Couple for their bun rieu recipe. Their recipe calls for a ground pork and crab ball mixture that is often served with this dish at restaurants too. That is pretty good but not needed. Since I'm not a huge fan of pork, I opted not to try making it and prefer to just load up my broth with crab meat.