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banh canh cua
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4.70 from 20 votes

Banh Canh Cua (Vietnamese Crab & Shrimp Tapioca Noodle Soup)

An easy recipe for a thick tapioca noodle soup with crab, shrimp, pork, and tapioca noodles.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: banh canh cua, crab noodle soup
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 996kcal
Author: Becca Du




Annatto Oil


Prep broth ingredients

  • Preheat oven to broil and bake the onion for 20 minutes until it is charred on the outside. Set aside.
  • Soak dried shrimp in water for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  • Parboil the pork shoulder to clean the meat. Add pork to a soup pot. Cover with water so that it just covers the pork. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Take out the pork and throw out all your water. Clean the pot and run the pork under water to clean off any gross bits. Add the pork back to the clean soup pot.

Make the broth

  • Now you’re ready to make your broth. Add the broiled onion, dried shrimp, daikon, and salt to the pot. Add water until it just covers all the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. During this time, make sure to check on the soup every 15 minutes to scoop away impurities.
  • While your soup is simmering, prepare your toppings. Boil your shrimp and banh canh. Set aside.
  • After simmering for 45 minutes, the meat should be done. Separate the meat from the bones and add the bones back to the pot. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  • Add the fish sauce and chicken broth powder and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • While the broth is simmering, make your annatto oil. Combine annatto seeds and vegetable oil in a sauce pan and simmer for 1-2 minutes until the oil turns orange. Set side.
  • Mix the tapioca starch with 2/3 cup of water. Once the soup is done simmering, add the tapioca starch slurry. Let the soup simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.
  • Lastly, add in the annatto oil and your soup is done.

Put together your noodle bowls

  • Now it’s time to put your noodle bowls together. Add noodles to a bowl. Top with pork shoulder, crab meat, shrimp, fried shallots, and minced green onions and enjoy!


  • How to parboil the pork - A clean, clear broth comes from parboiling the pork. Pork has a lot of gross little bits that come out when you first start to boil it. They make the broth cloudy and unappetizing. To parboil pork, combine pork and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and turn off the heat. Remove the pork pieces and throw out the water. Add the pork pieces back to the pot and cover with fresh water. Make sure to clean the pot before adding back the pork because those gross bits will stick to the pot.
  • Don't use too much water when making the broth - If you add too much water when making the broth, it will dilute the flavors of all the ingredients. Make sure to add enough water to just cover the ingredients.
  • Keep broth at a low simmer. Once you begin simmering your broth, make sure the broth doesn’t reach a point where it starts boiling again. If the broth boils too much, it will result in a cloudy broth.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 996kcal | Carbohydrates: 132g | Protein: 73g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 252mg | Sodium: 3789mg | Potassium: 765mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 48IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 4mg