Bun rieu, also known as Bun Rieu Noodle Soup, is a delicious Asian-style noodle soup that’s traditionally eaten during Lunar New Year celebrations.
It’s similar to Chinese hot pot but it uses different types of seafood or meat instead of vegetables and tofu (the soya bean curd).
What Type Of Noodles Are Used In Bun Rieu?
In order for this recipe to be considered authentic, you should use vermicelli rice noodles, which can be found at most grocery stores.
However, if your local supermarket doesn’t carry them, you can make some substitutions by using spaghetti, udon, ramen or any other type of long, thin pasta.
The secret ingredient in this dish is dried shrimp (also called prawn), which adds an extra layer of flavor and texture to the broth.
How to cook your own bun rieu
- To start cooking your bun rieu, take a large stockpot filled with water on medium heat.
- Once boiling, add 1/4 cup of salt into the water until it reaches around 160 F degrees (70 C)
- Add all ingredients together except for the shrimp and pour everything into the pot and mix well.
- Let the mixture boil over high heat for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn down the temperature and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
- After adding the shrimp, continue to let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Vietnamese bun rieu recipes
Here’s how to prepare two traditional Vietnamese dishes:
1. Pho Bo Bun Rieu
- 5 cups beef bone broth (or vegetable stock)
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 small onion chopped finely
- 1 carrot diced fine
- 2 stalks lemongrass cut roughly
- 1 bunch cilantro stems cut roughly
- 12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 50 grams dried shrimp soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
- 1 star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 pinch saffron threads
2. Bun Rieu Nem Nuong
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 4 green onions chopped
- 100 grams fresh squid tentacles shredded
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound cooked short grain rice
- 15 grams dried shrimp soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
- 1 star anise pod
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 pinch saffron threads
What Is The Main Protein In Bun Rieu?
The main ingredient for this dish is usually pork belly which can be found at most supermarkets.
It’s cooked using ingredients such as soy sauce, salt, sugar, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, black pepper, sesame oil, and fish sauce.
Other than pork, you could use chicken, beef, duck, shrimp, squid, octopus, prawns, mussels, clams, lobster, eel, scallops, sea cucumber, seaweed, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and other vegetables like onion, carrots, celery, green beans, leeks, cabbage, sweet potato, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
You will need to add these into your cooking process when preparing your own bun rieu.
If you want to make your own bun rieu, here’s how you do it step by step!
- Cut up all the meats and veggies you plan on adding to your Bun Rieu.
- Add them into your large stockpot along with any seasoning and sauces.
- Cover the pot with water and bring everything to a boil over medium heat before simmering for about 45 minutes.
- After the mixture has been boiling for 30 minutes, turn down the temperature to low and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
- Using tongs, remove the pork from the liquid and set aside to cool. Once cooled enough, thinly slice the pork belly.
- Set the remaining liquid aside for later.
- In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup (60 mL) of flour with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of cold water until smooth. Set aside.
- To prepare the noodles, soak 3 cups (750 mL) of dried rice vermicelli in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse under running water until they become soft then drain again.
- Bring 8 quarts (8 L) of water to a rolling boil. Add one teaspoon (5 mL) of salt, stir well, and immediately drop in half of the noodles. Cook the noodles for 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove the noodles with tongs and place them onto a tray lined with paper towels. Repeat the same steps twice more until you have 6 bowls worth of noodles.
- While waiting for the noodles to finish drying out, combine 4 cups (1 L) of reserved poaching liquid with the flour mixture, mixing until smooth. You should now have a thick paste.
- Heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to ripple, pour in half of the paste.
- Cook the paste for about five minutes until browned and crispy. Pour in three cups (750 mL) of reserved poaching liquid and reduce the heat to medium low.
- Stir continuously until the gravy reduces slightly, approximately five minutes. Then add the sliced pork belly, tossing to coat evenly. Stir-fry the pork belly for two minutes.
- Pour in the rest of the poaching liquid and increase the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent sticking.
- Once the liquid starts bubbling, transfer the contents of the wok to a serving platter. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro leaves.
For more information, check out our guide to making Vietnamese pho soup.
What Kind Of Broth Is Used In Bun Rieu?
The traditional version of this dish calls for a clear chicken stock, which is then flavored by adding fish sauce, oyster sauce, pepper, garlic, ginger, and other spices.
The resulting liquid is thickened using cornstarch and served over rice noodles.
However, you can substitute the chicken stock for another vegetable stock or even water if you prefer.
If you want to use a beef broth, you might want to add some soy sauce and sesame oil for extra flavor.
If you choose to use a vegetable stock, prepare one by simmering chopped carrots, potatoes, celery root, onion, leek, green beans, turnip, pumpkin, zucchini, and parsley in enough water until soft.
You can strain out any impurities from the mixture before serving it.
You may also consider making your own stock by sautéing onions, shallots, celery, carrot, leeks, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt in olive oil.
After 15 minutes, pour off all excess fat, place the pan on medium heat, and add two cups of water.
Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the ingredients are tender.
Once everything is done, strain the contents into a large bowl or container and allow it to cool completely before refrigerating it overnight.
Once cooled, remove the solidified layer at the top and discard it.
A good way to make a homemade beef stock is to put a chuck roast in a slow cooker along with 2 quarts of water, 1 cup of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of black peppercorn, 8 cloves of garlic, 4 dried red chilies, 5 star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 6 whole allspice berries.
Cook the beef stock on high for six hours, turning the roast several times throughout cooking time.
Strain the liquid after allowing it to cool and transfer it back into its original container.
Now you have a flavorful, nutritious, economical, and easy to make beef stock!
How Is The Broth Usually Flavored In Bun Rieu?
The main ingredients for this dish include beef tendon, fish sauce, garlic, onion, lemongrass, pepper flakes, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, stock, and water.
It can be served warm or cold depending on how you prefer your bowl of noodles.
You can add other spices such as star anise, cinnamon, and cloves if you want to make it more flavorful.
This meal is traditionally prepared by steaming the meat until tender and then adding some flavorings before serving them in individual bowls alongside rice and veggies.
The flavors of the broth will vary from restaurant to restaurant because each chef has their own signature way of making it.
How do restaurants prepare bun rieu?
- Ingredients: Beef tendon, chicken bones, pork belly, shrimp heads, squid, scallops, squid rings, sea bass, prawns, lobster tails, clams, mussels, bamboo shoots, carrots, potatoes, onions, eggplant, peppers, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, spinach, cilantro, lemon grass, coriander, spring rolls, and chives.
- Cooking method: Boil the meats first in separate pots, then simmer together for about 20 minutes. Add seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, lemongrass, chili paste, sugar, stock, and soy sauce. Bring everything back up to temperature and serve over rice and various fresh vegetables.
What Vegetables Are Usually Used In Bun Rieu?
Vegetables like bok choy, spinach, eggplant, cabbage, cucumber, scallion and mushroom are commonly used when making this soup because they add variety and flavor to the dish.
- The main ingredient for bun rieu is beef (or chicken). The meat can be braised, boiled, stewed, stir fried or deep fried for additional flavor.
- Other common ingredients include oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, cilantro, basil and pepper.
- Some versions use shrimp paste instead of oyster sauce and some recipes call for water chestnuts instead of scallions.
Here are some examples of popular bun rieu dishes:
Pork bun rieu
This version of the dish uses shredded fatty pork belly, which gives it extra richness and depth of flavor.
- 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder (shoulder blade removed) cubed
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 head napa cabbage, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
- Salt to taste
Coconut milk bun rieu
This version of the dish is lighter than most others because it doesn’t have heavy meats like pork or duck breast. Instead, it uses ground chicken, which adds more protein and nutrients to the meal.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner part only, bruised
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened light coconut milk
- 6 ounces thin dried flat rice noodles
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom
- 1/8 cup freshly grated palm sugar
- 1 small bunch Thai basil leaves, roughly torn
Chili squid bun rieu
If you want to try something new, this chili squid bun rieu is sure to impress your guests! It’s spicy, crunchy, sweet and savory all at once.
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 inch piece ginger root, julienned
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound cleaned squid, tentacles separated from bodies
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 1/2 cup oyster sauce
- 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 package ramen noodles
- Handful of chopped cilantro leaves
- Cooked brown rice
Are there any other ingredients besides noodles
The main ingredient is the broth which can be beef, chicken, duck, prawn, fish, or vegetable based. The noodles vary from region to region depending on what part of Vietnam they come from.
Noodles are often served either plain, or mixed with herbs, spices, shrimp paste (also called “nuoc mam”), fried shallots, garlic, eggs, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and/or chili sauce.
These dishes are normally cooked over high heat for 10 minutes before serving. They are then topped off with fresh coriander leaves and chopped peanuts.
You may find some restaurants use dried rice paper wrappers instead of regular noodles. These tend to have more flavor than the standard variety. You will need to soak them in water first before using them.
Protein is one of the essential building blocks for your body. It provides you with energy, helps build muscles, aids digestion, and keeps your immune system strong.
There are many forms of protein including fish, eggs, milk, cheese, grains, nuts, beans, soy products, meat and poultry, and even some processed foods like breakfast cereals and snack bars.
- Beef – The most common form of animal protein in Western diets is beef. Beef contains high amounts of iron and zinc which help boost energy levels, aid metabolism, keep bones healthy, and support cell growth and repair.
- Chicken – Chicken is an excellent source of protein and low in fat. It has all nine amino acids necessary for good health and can be used in soups, stews, rice dishes, stir fries, salads, sandwiches, and casseroles.
- Turkey breast – Turkey breast is leaner than chicken breasts and often times less expensive too. It’s a great choice if you want something easy on the wallet and don’t mind eating dark meat.
- Fish – Fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins D and B12. Omega 3s have been shown to lower cholesterol and improve heart health while vitamin B12 is needed by the brain and nervous system to produce red blood cells.
- Eggs – Eggs provide a lot of protein without much fat. They contain choline which is important for proper liver function and brain development.
- Legumes – Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, black eyed peas, and split peas are very high in fiber yet they still offer plenty of nutrients and protein.
- Nuts – Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and peanuts are all considered “good fats” because of their monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- Asparagus – Asparagus is packed full of antioxidants and cancer fighting compounds called fructo-oligosaccharides. These substances may reduce inflammation throughout the body and protect against certain cancers.
- Carrots – Carotenoids found in carrots are powerful antioxidants that help fight free radical damage. Free radicals attack healthy cells causing them to age prematurely.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is loaded with Vitamin C, calcium, and folate which help maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
- Green Beans – Green beans offer more potassium than bananas, spinach, and oranges combined. Potassium helps regulate fluid balance and muscle contraction.
- Spinach – Spinach offers a high amount of iron along with vitamins A, K, and C. Iron supports the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from lungs to tissues. Without enough iron, symptoms of anemia occur.
- Sweet Potato – Sweet potatoes are a versatile vegetable that can be boiled, baked, steamed, mashed, fried, roasted, grilled, or raw. They are nutrient dense and contain a wide variety of minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals.
- Zucchini – Zucchini is a member of the squash family and is high in vitamin C and manganese. Manganese is involved in making collagen, enzymes, neurotransmitters, hormones, and DNA. Collagen makes up about 25% of our bodies weight and is crucial to maintaining skin elasticity, hair strength, connective tissue integrity, and joint structure.
- Apples – Apples are a wonderful source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, pectin, and flavonoids.
- Avocado – Avocados are another nutritious fruit that are high in vitamin E, lutein, lycopene, beta carotene, folate, and monounsaturated fats.
- Cantaloupe – Cantaloupes are a popular melon and they come in several flavors such as honeydew, watermelon, honeycomb, and orange.
- Grapefruit – Grapefruits are filled with vitamin C, fiber, and citric acid and are a good source of potassium.
- Kiwi Fruit – Kiwis are a staple in my house. They are low calorie, rich in vitamin C, and are full of potassium.
- Mango – Mango is a tropical fruit with a sweet taste and is rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidant antioxidants.
- Orange – Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and folate. Orange juice is also a good source of vitamin B6.
- Milk – Milk is a natural food product containing proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and micronutrients.
- Yogurt – Yogurt is a fermented dairy product containing beneficial bacteria.
- Cheese – Cheese is a solid food consisting primarily of casein, whey, and lactose.
- Butter – Butter is a liquid oil obtained from cow’s milk and is a saturated fat.
- Ice Cream/Desserts – Ice cream is a frozen dessert made from cream, sugar, and various fruits, nuts, and spices. Some ice creams are made using vegetable oils as well as nonfat milk alternatives.
And vegetables in bun rieu?
This traditional Vietnamese noodle soup can be prepared using any combination of meats, including shrimp, squid, chicken, beef, fish, duck, pig, or even whole frogs!
It’s very popular among the Vietnamese community in America because it’s easy to make and affordable too.
The ingredients for this broth are simple: water, stock cube, salt, pepper, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, onion, lime leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, black cardamom pods, and kaffir lime leaves.
You will need a large wok to cook this broth.
The main difference between making this soup at home versus eating it out is how you prepare your noodles.
In restaurants, they use fresh rice vermicelli while those who make these soups at home generally choose dried rice vermicelli.
To prepare the noodles, boil them until soft then drain off excess water before mixing them into the rest of the ingredients.
How Is Bun Rieu Usually Served?
The main ingredients for this popular noodle dish include beef tendon, fish sauce, crabmeat, shrimp paste, rice noodles, eggplant, green beans, bamboo shoots, leeks, water chestnuts, ginger, scallion, chili peppers, and sugar.
But what happens when you decide to make your own version of this classic meal?
It can be quite complicated if you don’t know how to prepare the right ingredients first.
To help simplify things, here are some tips on how to create the perfect bun rieu at home.
- You could buy ready-made crabmeat from any supermarket or online store. But if you want to use fresh crabmeat, then check out these recipes for homemade crab stock and crab filling.
- If you want to serve the bun rieu family style, then you will need plenty of bowls, plates, chopsticks, and spoons. You might even consider buying extra items like small serving platters and disposable cups.
- For best results, you should always cook your bun rieu according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If they say “boil” then boil, not simmer! And remember, don’t overcook the noodles – they should still have a slight bite to them.
- When preparing the broth, never let it come to a rolling boil because it will spoil all of the flavor and nutrients within the broth. Instead, bring the mixture to just below boiling point before adding the other ingredients.
- If you want to add extra flavors to your bun rieu, such as sliced garlic cloves or chopped shallots, then do so after cooking the noodles in the broth.
- If you prefer using dried rice vermicelli over fresh ones, then soak them overnight in cold water before making the broth. Then follow the same steps as above.
What Are Some Common Side Dishes Served With Bun Rieu?
The most commonly used ingredients for making the broth include beef bones, chicken feet, dried shrimp, squid, fish cake, pig’s blood, and duck hearts.
The noodles can be either rice sticks or wheat flour strands.
Some versions might use only one kind of ingredient while others may have several different ones depending on what region you live in.
In addition, there could be variations from household to household because people add their own special touches based on their preferences and how they like it.
If you don’t want to make your own version of this recipe, here are some of the best recipes we found online that will help you get started.
1. Sliced Pork Belly Bun Rieu
This is another variation of the same recipe as above except that it has sliced pork belly instead of beef bones.
If you like savory flavors, then this is definitely the right choice for you.
2. Crab & Shrimp Bun Rieu Recipe
Here’s another simple yet tasty recipe that uses just two kinds of ingredients – fresh crabmeat and shrimp – to create an aromatic broth.
3. Beef Shank Bun Rieu Recipe
Another good option if you prefer something a bit more hearty is this beef shank bun rieu.
It makes use of all parts of the cow including the marrow, tripe, and ribs which adds lots of flavor to the broth.
4. Chicken Bone Bun Rieu Recipe
Chicken bone bun rieu is a great way to enjoy this festive meal without having to spend too much time cooking since it takes less than 30 minutes to finish up.
All you need to do is put everything into a large pot and let it simmer over medium heat until the stock thickens up.
You can serve it immediately after you cook it or chill it first before serving it cold.
Either way, this is sure to become a family favorite!
5. Squid Bun Rieu Recipe
Squid bun rieu is a deliciously sweet treat that’ll leave everyone smiling.
Just remember to keep a close eye on it when you pan fry them because it tends to burn easily.
You’ll need at least 1 kilogram (2 pounds) of squid fillets for each batch of buns.
After removing the tentacles, cut off the head and tail fins.
Then rinse the body thoroughly under running water and remove any remaining innards.
Pat dry with paper towels.
Cut the bodies into pieces about 3 inches long.
Slice the heads and tails diagonally into thin strips.
In a wok or deep frying pan, pour 2 cups vegetable oil enough room temperature to cover the bottom completely.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
Add the squid body pieces and stir continuously until they turn golden brown and crispy.
Remove them using a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.
Repeat the process twice more until all the squid pieces are cooked.
Set aside and allow them to cool down completely.
Meanwhile, heat another cup of vegetable oil in a separate wok or saucepan.
Sautee the shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, galangal, coriander root, kaffir lime leaves, and chilies until fragrant and soft.
Add the coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and salt to taste.
Bring the mixture to boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the stovetop and transfer it to a bowl set inside a larger bowl filled with ice cubes.
Stir occasionally until chilled.
When ready to serve, combine the cooled liquid with the fried squid and mix well. Serve warm with steamed rice.
Is Bun Rieu A Popular Dish In Vietnam?
Bun rieu is one of the most well-known traditional foods of Vietnam, especially for those who celebrate Lunar New Year each year.
It’s not only enjoyed by locals but also tourists from all over the world come here every year to eat this special delicacy.
The noodle soup is often prepared using ingredients such as beef, chicken, squid, shrimp, snapper, prawns, duck, fish balls, pig skin, etc.
The broth can be spicy, sour, salty, sweet, and even has an egg yolk added into it.
You won’t find bun rieu on many menus today although it used to be quite common among Vietnamese homes before modernisation because they were considered too expensive at restaurants back then.
However, it’s still very much loved by both local residents and visitors alike.
Are There Any Regional Variations Of Bun Rieu?
There are many versions of this traditional dish across the world, including one from Bali called sate pepes which combines beef jerky with shrimp paste, coconut milk, palm sugar, banana flower leaves, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves.
In Singapore, you can find a version called “Hokkien Bun Rieu” which includes rice noodles, chicken, bamboo shoots, carrots, shallots, garlic, chili peppers, black pepper, salt, and oyster sauce.
You can even get a version in Japan where they use octopus tentacles instead of clams!
If you want more information about what else you can do with your leftover ingredients, check out these recipes for stir fried squid, fried fish, and spicy beef stew.
But if you’re looking for an authentic bun rieu recipe that will make you feel like you’ve traveled all over Asia, then we have just the thing for you!
- 1 Pot
- 50 g shallot
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 Ib tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon fermented shrimp paste
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp rock sugar
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- 43 oz chicken broth
- 43 oz water
- 1 teaspoon monosodium glutamate
- 1 Ib deep fried tofu
- ½ Ib raw bean sprouts
- 1 bunch Kinh Gioi
- 1 bunch mint
- 1 bunch tia to
- shrimp paste on the side
- sliced limes
- 1 Ib rice vermicelli sticks
- Noodles should be prepared as directed on the package, then divided among 4 bowls.
- Shallots should be thinly cut, added to oil in a skillet, and sauteed until light brown. Stir-fry the quartered tomatoes for 3- 5 minutes or until they start to get mushy. In a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes, shallots, and the rest of the soup's ingredients.
- Turn the heat up to high and let it boil for five minutes. While you work on the Riêu, lower the heat to medium or low so it stays at a low boil.
RIÊU / GACH / MEATBALLS
- Shallots should be added to a small food processor and chopped coarsely. 5–6 pulses after adding the shrimp. With the exception of the crab and green onions, add the remaining ingredients and pulse a few times to combine.
- Pour into a mixing basin, add the crab, and stir just enough to combine. Scoop 1 to 2 tablespoon size meat balls (of your choosing!) into the saucepan using a soup spoon until all of them are used.
- Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then turn it down to low to maintain a boil.The meatballs should be fully cooked in no more than 20 minutes.By slicing a meatball in half, you may determine whether it is fully cooked or still uncooked within.
- Add the chopped green onion in the final five minutes of simmering so that it softens a little.
- Divide the soup across your 4 bowls in an even amount. Each visitor can create their own plate by using the community accoutrement plate that is served on the side.