Canh bun is a lesser-known variation of the dish bun rieu (crab noodle soup), which is very popular in northern Vietnam. Canh bun is a noodle soup made with crab instead of crab meat. A very long time ago, we wrote a post about a humble establishment in Little Saigon known as Quan Bun Ban Mai, which is home to one of the most delicious renditions of this soup. There are a number of important distinctions that can be made between canh bun and bun rieu.
The first significant distinction lies in the use of rice vermicelli that is of a thickness comparable to that of the vermicelli found in bun bo hue, as opposed to the extremely thin rice vermicelli. This noodle is first partially cooked in water that is boiling, and then it is finished cooking in the soup, which results in the noodle being extremely silky and smooth.
Why do people like Canh bun
The second significant distinction is that the rau muong (also known as ong choy, water spinach, and kang kung) is cooked in the broth, thereby imparting the flavour of this beloved basic vegetable into the liquid. Canh bun can be dressed up in the same manner as bun rieu by adding blood cake, shrimp paste, or periwinkle snails. This recipe has been on our to-do list for quite some time, and we've received several requests for it, so here it is: it's almost an exact repeat of our recipe for bun rieu, but there are some important differences.
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Ingredients that go into Canh bun
- 12 cups of pork (pork broth recipe here) or chicken stock
- can of 14 oz of crab meat paste in spices (many brands available, we like Lee Brand)
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup of crab meat, either fresh or canned/frozen drained
- 1/4 lb of ground pork
- 1/2 tbs of fish sauce
- 1/2 tbs of sugar
- 1 tbs of finely chopped shallots
- 1 tsp of ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp of of fine shrimp paste
- 2 tablespoon of dried shrimp (soaked in warm water)
- 4 medium to large ripe tomatoes (quartered)
- 10 medium sized fried tofu (halved)
- 2 tbs tomato paste or 1 tbs of annato seed oil mixture (see this post)
- 1 packet of thick vermicelli noodles (bun bo hue style)
- 1 bunch of rau moung, cleaned and cut about 3-4 inch lengths (water spinach, ong choy, kang kung)
- accompaniments: fine shrimp paste, lime wedges
How to cook Canh bun
- After soaking the dried shrimp for approximately one hour, the texture should be soft enough to mince. A modest food processor will serve this purpose admirably.
- Cook the thick vermicelli noodles until they are firm to the bite, then set them aside.
- In a large pot, add either pork or chicken stock, and then bring to a boil.
- While you wait for that, prepare the crab mixture. Mix together ground pork, crab, a can of crab meat that has been marinated in spices, shallots, fine shrimp paste, fish sauce, coarsely chopped dried shrimps, pepper, and sugar.
- Add the eggs that have been beaten and thoroughly combine. As soon as the stock begins to boil, begin gradually incorporating the crab mixture into the stock.
- Now that you've added the tomatoes and tofu, bring the mixture back up to a boil, and then turn off the heat.
- Last but not least, season the stock with some extra salt or fish sauce. If you want the broth to have a nice distinctive reddish colour, mix in some tomato paste or annato seed oil.
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What can Canh bun be served together with
Each individual serving of the broth should be transferred to a smaller saucepan, and then the cooked vermicelli noodles and an ample handful of the rau moung should be added. The mixture should then be brought to a boil, and it should be served immediately.
Note to cooks: Be sure to keep some additional rau muong that has been boiled as a side dish.
Other popular Vietnamese food
Besides Canh bun, there are other vietnamese food dishes that are highly popular in Singapore and around the world. Below is a list of some of the most mentioned ones:
Pho, Cha Ca, Banh Xeo, Cao Lau, Rau Muong, Nem Ran Cha Gio, Goi Cuon, Bun Bo Hue, Banh Khot, Ga Tan, Nom Hoa Chuoi, Hoa Qua Dam, Pho Cuon, Ga Nuong, Pho Xao, Ca Phe Trung, Bo La Lot, Xoi, Banh Cuon, Ca Tim Kho To, Bot Chien, Bun Dau Mam Tom, Banh Goi, Com Suon Nuong, Chao, Bo Luc Lac, Hat De Nong, Banh Uot thit nuong, Bun Cha, Banh Mi, Lau, Banh Bao, Com rang, Bo Bit Tet, Com Chay, Che, My Xao Bo, Dau Phu Sot Ca Chua, Canh Bun
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