Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rice noodles with paddy crab paste - bún riêu

What could be the right translation for this favourite rice noodles in Saigon? It's hard to say.
Not glorious as "beef noodles", not classy as "beef noodles in Huế style" but "bún riêu" could be one of the most favourite, the most down-to-earth dish in Saigon. Much cheaper than "beef noodles", but "bún riêu" has a special place in our heart and I don't know why. When I was a little kid, after the midday nap, bún riêu was always my dream snack.

             A paddy crab cake, traditional ingredient for bún riêu...

In one of my previous posts, I did mention about the word "riêu", what does it mean "riêu", I couldn't find a good answer yet, it seems this word still in dispute!
Bún riêu is rice noodles with paddy crab paste served in tomato broth, the taste could be strong for many foreigners as we add the fermented shrimp paste to the soup and that smell always terrifies many first timers.

Bún riêu is a simple dish, as far as I know, we don't eat it for breakfast, it's good for lunch time or late dinner, it could be even a vegetarian dish as the one I used to tried in my childhood, it served in tomato broth with a big deep fried tofu, nothing more, nothing less.

Traditionally, bún riêu is always with paddy crab paste, crab cake. Today - very popular bún riêu with snails, even with pork knuckle, we have added fish cake, or some mixture of shrimp and crab cake, congealed pig's blood, deep fried tofu...the broth not only with tomato but also with dried shrimp, some chef may add the small dried cuttle fish to sweeten the flavour.

            The freshwater paddy crab cake is the most important ingredient for bún riêu…

           and the preparation process of this dark brown cake consumes most of time...

              This's a mixture of shrimp, crab meat…at the bún riêu place at 282 Nguyen Chí Thanh.

Bún riêu can be found everywhere in Sài gòn, some place is good, other place is better, so just try our luck to find out where is the best. I tried several places - one place in small market in Vo Văn Tần street, another place near to the city library (this place has gone or moved to another location), the photo I took was at 282 Nguyen Chi Thanh, dist 5. Spacious place, with parking lot for motorbike, not super crowded but always in good business, worth to try!

             The cook is always busy to prepare dish…at 282 Nguyen Chi Thanh, dist 5...

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