Bun rieu is among the lesser-known noodle soups in Vietnamese delicacies, maybe attributable to its relatively unappealing hodge-podge, thrown-together look. Nonetheless, every a part of the soup enhances the entire and positively makes it one of many should tries on Saigon’s streets.
Whereas there are a number of varieties to select from, the broth is all the time the identical. Bun rieu is among the few Vietnamese soups that’s tomato based mostly; it’s additionally flavoured with crab that's pounded with the shell after which strained in a sieve so no crunchy bits make it within the soup. It may be freshwater or seawater crab relying on the place you discover the seller. In Saigon, it’s primarily brown paddy crab. Complementing the crab flavour could also be a mix of components, however you'll primarily discover fish sauce, shrimp paste, annatto seeds and contemporary lime. The broth is then left to simmer for just a few hours to essentially intensify the flavour of the pounded crab.
Bun rieu is nearly all the time served with a crab dumpling. That is the meat from the crab and often contains dried shrimp, shrimp paste, a wholesome dose of pepper and fish sauce. Some distributors will place this combination in a metallic container to steam whereas others will make small dumplings and place it immediately within the broth. These often have egg to bind the whole lot.
The meeting of the soup is easy. Throw some rice vermicelli noodles within the backside of the bowl and pour within the broth, ensuring to get some tomatoes and crab dumplings. After this, it’s anybody’s recreation. Many distributors will add dau hu chien (fried tofu), oc (snail), cha ca (fried fish cake) or huyet (congealed pig blood). A sprinkling of chopped scallions finishes out the preparation. Whereas the blood cake can sound a bit off-putting, the iron-tinged style enhances the refined tomato broth, much more so when you squeeze some contemporary lime to it.
Typical of Vietnamese meals, a bevy of garnishes might be laid out so you'll be able to personalise your bun rieu expertise. Shredded banana flower, break up rau muong (water spinach), contemporary lime, mint and leaf lettuce are all introduced together with the soup. In case your style buds can deal with it, ask for a facet of mam tom, the purplish-coloured shrimp paste to dip your crab in. Bun rieu afficianados can’t dwell with out the stuff however simply remember that this can be an acquired style.
Since crab is a little more costly to acquire than different meats, the worth of bun rieu will be on the upper facet. Most distributors cost from 30,000 VND and up, relying on the varieties of additions. We advocate the stall simply down the street from the Lunch Lady in District 1 (at 37 Hoang Sa). She makes some imply cua dumplings and affords each single variation of bun rieu beneath the solar.