True Bun Rieu (Vietnamese Crab Ball Noodle Soup)


VN:F [1.9.9_1125]
(141 Ratings)

Preparation time
30 mins

Cooking time
1 hour


We call this “true” bun rieu because this is as authentic as it gets. Freshly made broth and home-made crab balls, nothing beats this version of the Vietnamese classic. The trick to this dish is to get the crab mixture just right – not over-mixed and liquidy, yet blended well so as to form a ball when dropped into boiling broth. Once you nail down the technique, bun rieu is easy to make. You can also make a large batch, and divide the broth and crab balls into individual portions to freeze and serve later. It’s still delicious when re-heated!

True Bun Rieu (Vietnamese Crab Ball Noodle Soup), 3.6 out of 5 based on 141 ratings


  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 jar crab paste (see photos for brand)
  • 1 can crab paste (see photos for brand)
  • 1 can shrimp paste (see photos for brand)
  • Pork cake (optional)
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 package vermicelli noodles
  • Banana bulb
  • Bean sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
  • Water spinach (optional)
  • 4 tablespoon of chicken powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of MSG (optional)


1.  In a large pot, boil 4 quarts of water. Add chicken powder, sugar and MSG to the pot.

2.  De-vein and peel shrimp. Ground peeled shrimp in food processor. Remove from food processor and scrape into a large bowl.

3.  In the bowl of ground shrimp, mix in the ground pork. Then, mix in half a jar of crab paste, half a can of crab paste, and half a can of shrimp paste. Stir in 6 eggs. Mix well.

4.  Place entire crab mixture in food processor for about 2-3 minutes. Remove crab mixture from food processor and place in a large bowl. (*Note: If I have crab meat, I fold it into the mixture after I remove it from the food processor. This adds extra crab flavor to the crab balls. This is an optional step.)

5.  In the large pot, wait until the water is at a running boil. Then spoon the crab mixture and drop it slowly into the boiling water. Allow the mixture to fall off the spoon and into the boiling water. You can spoon the crab balls into your desired size. Continue spooning, and dropping into the water, until you run out of the crab mixture.

6.  Cut tomatoes into eighths. In a pan, sauté tomatoes with the remainder of crab paste (from jar), crab paste (from can) and shrimp paste (from can). Saute until somewhat softened (about 3-4 minutes). Pour mixture into broth in large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer about approximately 30 minutes.

7.  Cook vermicelli noodles as directed.

8.  Rinse and slice herbs, vegetables, pork cake and garnishes as desired.

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