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canh chua
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4.77 from 30 votes

Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Soup (Canh Chua)

A sweet and sour soup made with pork, catfish, and a variety of traditional Vietnamese vegetables.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: canh chua, canh chua recipe, Vietnamese sweet and sour soup
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 706kcal


  • 1 ½ lb pork
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 ½ oz fresh tamarind
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can pineapple 20 oz
  • 1 piece ginger 1 inch long
  • 1 ½ lb catfish cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 10 oz elephant ear stem cut into chunks
  • 3 tomatoes quartered
  • 12 oz bean sprouts
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 oz rice paddy herb


  • Add pork to a large soup pot. Cover with water until it just covers the pork. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Take out the pork and then throw away the water. This process cleans the pork. Rinse the pot and add the pork back. Cover the pork with fresh water until it just covers the meat. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the onion and simmer for 1.5 hours. Make sure to check every 30 minutes for impurities. Scoop away any you see.
  • While the soup is simmering, combine 1 cup of water and tamarind in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the tamarind dissolves.You can help speed up the process by using the back of a spoon to crush the tamarind. Pour the tamarind through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl. Set aside.
  • After simmering the soup for 1.5 hours, add the pineapple to the soup. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Put the catfish in and simmer for another 10 minutes until it is cooked through.
  • Lastly, add the vegetables and tamarind from step 3. Bring the soup to a boil and serve with a side of white rice. Make sure to taste the soup for seasoning and add more salt if it tastes bland.


  • You can use any cut of pork you want for this recipe. I would recommend using cuts of pork with bones like bone in pork chops or pork ribs.
  • If you can't find fresh tamarind, I would use half a package of tamarind soup mix.
  • If you have leftover soup, make sure to store the fish separately from the soup. If you leave the fish in the soup overnight, it will become mushy.
  • For an extra hit of umami flavor, serve the soup with a little bit of fish sauce on the side. You can dip the catfish in the fish sauce.


Calories: 706kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 221mg | Sodium: 821mg | Potassium: 1755mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 1563IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 4mg