My go to comfort food will always be some type of Vietnamese noodle soup. Every time I eat a bowl, it reminds me of home in LA which I don’t get back to that much. One of my favorites is Bun Rieu. Bun Rieu is a noodle soup with a pork based broth filled with tons of tomatoes and topped with a shrimp paste/egg mixture. It’s an unusual combination but I promise you everyone whose tried it loves it.
The first time I ever made this dish I was surprised at how easy it was. The broth is made from 9 ingredients: pork (any cut), onion, tomatoes, salt, green onions, chili powder, chicken broth, eggs, and shrimp paste. I have probably mentioned this before but the key to the perfect Vietnamese noodle soup is a clear broth. This is achieved through the elimination of impurities. Pork is one of those meats that produces the most impurities, so instead of just scooping them out, I add the pork to water, bring it to a boil, and throw away all that water. It sounds crazy but effective.
This soup gets its signature red color from the chili powder/green onion mixture as well as the egg/shrimp paste mixture. Growing up, my FAVORITE thing was the egg/shrimp paste mixture. As a kid, I used to sneak more of this stuff into my soup when my mom wasn’t looking. Once you add it to the soup, it becomes an egg loaf looking thing that floats on top of the soup. This stuff is just packed with flavor!
The thing I love most about this noodle soup and every Vietnamese noodle soup is that you can customize the toppings to your tastes. I’ve seen Bun Rieu topped with fried tofu, shredded cabbage, mint, bean sprouts, blood cake etc. I like mine nice and simple, so I just add some green onions and a few veggies if I have them on hand.
Bun RieuPrint Recipe
- 3 pounds pork shoulder (cut into 2 inch pieces)
- 1 onion
- 5 roma tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon green onions
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
- 1/3 cup shrimp paste
- 2 eggs
- vermicelli noodles
Put the pork into a large soup pan. Cover the pork with water until it just covers the pork. Bring the water to a boil.
Once the water boils, take the pork pieces out and set aside. Pour out the water. Transfer the pork back into the soup pan and cover it again with water. This process will help to clean the pork and produce a clear broth.
Add in the onion, tomatoes, and salt. Bring the water to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low. Simmer the soup for an hour.
While the soup is simmering, combine the green onions and chili powder with oil in a pan. Cook for 30 seconds. Add this mixture to the soup. This mixture will give the soup its signature red color.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and shrimp paste. Whisk them together and add it to the soup. The soup should be done once the mixture floats to the top.
Add some vermicelli noodles to a bowl. Ladle some soup over the noodles and enjoy!
You can use any cut of pork to make this dish.