Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rice vermicelli soup dish with freshwater paddy crab paste (Bún riêu cua)

Wow, I didn't think to express a simple dish with very short name in Vietnamese, I need a long sentence in English and not sure it delivers correctly what I want to say or not! Rice vermicelli with sour soup, fresh water paddy crab (cua đồng) paste, tomato, deep fried tofu and blood cubes...! We simply call it "bún riêu"! It's a super popular street food in Sài Gòn!
Easy to find bún riêu on the street and usually together with another favorite dish called "canh bún" (literally means rice vermicelli with soup) because these two rice vermicelli soup dishes are sharing the same soup base!

             Bowl of bún riêu with freshwater paddy crab paste, deep fried tofu, pig's blood cube... 

In a previous post about fish hot pot in a northern style , I tried to find out what "riêu"means. Getting different explanations from different foodies...some say that, some say this, so I just combine all opinions together and ..."riêu" means a kind of rice vermicelli dish in sour soup, with fish or crab, served with certain veggies!!

Back to our "bún riêu" today, we have a homemade at my friend place!
Bún riêu is not a complicated dish, it doesn't require a master chef level cook to prepare it. But. To make it good is not easy! As we have different recipes for "bún riêu". We can cook the soup by using the crab liquid or pork bones, or just veggies (mostly white radish), tomatoes, some tofu, freshwater paddy crab paste, blood cubes (only in the south) or snails!

            Bún riêu can be served with freshwater paddy crab paste or stir-fired snails or fish...  

Talking about crab paste, it requires some skill to do it. The crabs are pounded with the shell on to a fine paste, and this paste is strained, we use the crab liquid as a base for the soup together with some other ingredients like tomatoes...Finally the crab residue is used for our crab paste as you see in the above photo, right in the center of the bowl!
To be honest, I can't say it's delicious, the paste, but we need it to flavor our dish! Can't imagine bún riêu without it. These days bún riêu can be topped with tasty stir-fried snails!  

              Lime juice, chili are those ingredients that we need to add while eating bún riêu 

              And famous traditional fermented shrimp paste (mắm tôm) to make the soup more tasty! 

            Fresh water spinach, bean sprouts and some herbs are always served together with bún riêu! 

            Or quickly blanched veggies in order not to cool the soup (or simply food hygiene reason!)

            Big bowl with blanched veggies, shrimp paste...time to enjoy! 

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