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Bowl of rice noodles with soup, crab meatballs, tomatoes and garnished with fresh greens and herbs.

Bun Rieu Cua (Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup)

A Vietnamese noodle soup with mouth watering crab and shrimp meatballs in a pork and tomato based broth. Served with rice vermicelli and topped with a variety of healthy green and herbs.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 5 people
Calories 967 kcal



Broth Ingredients

  • 16 cups water
  • 3 pounds pork bones
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mushroom seasoning
  • 6 roma tomatoes, cut into 1 inch thick wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons crab paste with soya oil Thai brand I use
  • 1 tablespoon rock sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Crab mixture (rieu)

  • ½ pound crab lump meat 8 ounces
  • ½ pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined 8 ounces
  • 3 tablespoons crab paste drain some of the soya oil out
  • ¼ pound ground pork meat I use 80/20
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stalk green onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried shrimp about 3 tablespoons
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper


  • 16 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • green onions, thinly sliced optional topping
  • cilantro leaves, chopped optional topping
  • perilla leaves optional topping
  • green lettuce, thinly sliced optional topping
  • water spinach leaves and split stems optional topping
  • fish sauce optional for dipping
  • thai chili thinly cut and added to fish sauce for dipping (optional)


Clean the pork

  • Bring a pot of water (just enough to cover the meat) to a boil. Add the pork bones with 1 teaspoon of salt. Boil for about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and rinse the meat well with cold water.

Make the broth

  • Add pork bones back into a clean stock pot with about 16 cups of water.
  • Add fish sauce, rock sugar and mushroom powder.
  • Take the broth to a boil on high heat. Then take it down to a simmer on medium low heat.
  • Simmer for 1.5 hours. Use a ladle to skim the fat and impurities off the top of the broth as needed.

Make the crab mixture (rieu)

  • Soak the dried shrimp in water for 20 minutes. Then drain well. Add it to a blender and blend until finely shredded, about 30 to 40 seconds.
  • Mince the shrimp and green onions together until you get a paste like consistency.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the crab meat, shrimp, shredded dried shrimp, ground pork, eggs, crab paste (draining some soya oil out) and pepper. Mix together well. Set aside.

Cook the tomatoes/Add the crab meat

  • Heat a large pan on medium high heat with about ½ tablespoon cooking oil. Add the crab paste and garlic, saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomato wedges and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes into the stock pot. Add some broth to the pan (to pick up any remaining crab paste and garlic) and pour it back into the stock pot.
  • Using a ladle, scoop and form about 1 to 1 ½ inch crab meatballs and slowly drop it into the stockpot until you finish the mixture.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the crab meatballs are cooked and floats to the top of the broth.

Assemble your bowl

  • Cook the noodles per package directions.
  • Add noodles to a large bowl, ladle in the broth, crab meat and tomatoes. Add optional toppings and serve with a squeeze of lime.


*Nutritional facts provided are only an estimate, accuracy is not guaranteed. 
  • Once done cooking, add more seasoning like fish sauce or mushroom powder to your taste. 
  • Optional: Have a side of fish sauce with smashed thai chili pepper or mam ruoc (shrimp sauce) to dip your noodles and crab in for extra flavor.  


Serving: 5peopleCalories: 967kcalCarbohydrates: 81gProtein: 59gFat: 42gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 390mgSodium: 2639mgPotassium: 772mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 659IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 211mgIron: 4mg
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