a bowl of bun rieu soup with veggies and herbs
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5 from 1 vote

Bún Riêu Recipe

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4 -5 bowls
Author: Hungry Huy



  • 50 g shallots about four large cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • 1.5 to 2 lb tomatoes quartered (any type)
  • 1 teaspoon fermented shrimp paste. Lee Kum Kee brand. Diluted in a small bowl w a bit of water to ensure even dispersion in the broth.
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp rock sugar granulated is ok too
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 - 14.5 oz cans of chicken broth or make your own pork broth with water and 1 lb pork ribs
  • 3 - 14.5 oz cans of water measure with your broth cans
  • 1-2 tsp monosodium glutamate seasoning

Rieu / Gach / Meatballs

  • 25 g shallot sliced (about two large cloves)
  • 57 g / 2 oz fresh uncooked shrimp shells removed, deveined.
  • 300 g / 10.6 oz ground pork
  • 1 - 5.6 oz can minced prawn or minced crab with spices. Lee brand.
  • 57 g / 2 oz steamed or canned crab optional. If using frozen or canned, lightly squeeze to remove excess moisture.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 5 stalks green onions cut into 1.5" pieces


  • 1/2 to 1 lb deep fried tofu
  • 1/2 lb raw bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch kinh gioi / Vietnamese balm optional
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 bunch tia to / purple perilla optional
  • shrimp paste on the side
  • sliced limes
  • 4 thai chiles


  • 1 lb dried rice vermicelli sticks small noodle size. Thap Chua brand (but any will do)


  • Cook noodles according to package instructions, split between 4-5 bowls


  • Thinly slice shallots, add oil to a pan and saute until light brown.
  • Add quartered tomatoes, stir fry for 3-5 minutes until slightly soft.
  • Add shallots, tomatoes, and all remaining soup ingredients into a large pot.
  • Raise to high heat until it hits a boil, and boils for five minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low or low, so it maintains a low boil.

Rieu / Gach / Meatballs

  • Add shallots into a small food processor, pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add shrimp, pulse 5-6 times.
  • Add remaining ingredients (except crab and green onion) and pulse a few times until evenly mixed.
  • Pour into a mixing bowl, add crab and lightly mix with a spoon.
  • Using a soup spoon, scoop 1-2 tbsp size balls (your choice!) into the pot until you use it all
  • Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then drop heat to a low boil. At most it should take 20 minutes to cook the meatballs all the way through. Check doneness by breaking a meatball in half to make sure its not soft or raw inside.
  • During the last five minutes of cooking, drop in the chopped green onion so it slightly softens


  • Evenly divide contents of the soup pot between your 4-5 bowls.
  • Serve a communal accoutrement plate on the side so each guest can customize their own.