Canh Bún or Bún Riêu | Vietnamese Noodle Soup Recipe

Canh Bún and Bún Riêu are both from the same pot!
This “Crab Cake Noodle Soup” is very popular in Vietnam

What’s the difference between Canh Bun and Bun Rieu?

Depending on the region you are in (north, mid, south), you will be serve either canh bun or bun rieu.The difference mainly is in the noodle size and the veggies that accommodates it.

This dish originated from northern Vietnam.

What crab is used to make canh bun?

Authentically, it is made from crabs that are in the rice patties.
These crabs are so tiny, with little to no meat, so they smashed these up, extract the crab flavors and blend it with pork broth.

To make the crab cakes in the soup, using the leftover crab remains, they blend it with ground pork, ground dried shrimps, fermented shrimp paste, and other seasoning. Fluff it up with plenty of eggs, and added to the soup.
tomatoes and water spinach is their veggies for this noodle soup dish.

How the original recipe compares to the new and improved recipe?

Of course as the dish makes its way throughout Vietnam and to other parts of the world. We make use of what we have on hand and at the supermarket. So the canh bun and bun rieu in today’s standard is way more rich in protein and flavor compare to back in the day. Better of course!

I used dungeness crab meat for my “rieu”. And there are premade crab extract that I could use to make broth base as well. The “cha” or pork loaf adds extra meaty flavor and the “oc” or periwinkle meat gives it an exotic vietnamese “home feel” taste.

Which one do you prefer? Canh bun or bun rieu?

If you prefer the bigger rice noodles and less veggies, then canh bun is probably a good choice. Bun rieu is equally as good though. With more mint and crunch from the raw veggies.

If I were you, I’d choose BOTH!

Canh Bún | Bún Riêu Recipe

Canh Bún & Bún Riêu are both from the same pot. Depending on the noodles you eat it with and the veggies that accomodate the dish, it can be either Canh Bún or Bún Riêu. In the video I made canh bun using the bigger noodles and cooked water spinach (rau muong). This "crab cake noodle soup" is one of my favorite! Authentic canh bun uses rice crab (cua dong). Which I actually got my hands on the concentrate for the soup at my local supermarket. If you can't find it at you local supermarket, its ok to do without it. Just add more dried shrimp to the broth to give it more of a seafood flavor. Some even add dried squid to sweeten you the broth to a seafood taste. The recipe for the Rieu (crab cake mix) in this does not have any garlic or shallots because the jar of crab paste with soybean oil already has it. Happy Cooking!
Prep Time1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bun rieu, canh bun, crab cake noodle soup
Servings: 10 People
Author: Chef Q
Cost: $75


  • pressure cooker


Broth Ingredients

  • 3 lbs Pork Neck Bones Parboiled w/ salt & rinse clean with cold water
  • 2 each Yellow Onions
  • 1 tbsp Whole Black Pepper
  • 1 oz Dried Shrimp more if you want more seafood flavor
  • 3 oz Rock Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Chicken granulated seasoning
  • 2 cans Vegetable soup stock
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1-2 tbsp Fermented Shrimp Paste (Mam Ruoc) Add to taste
  • Fish Sauce Add to taste
  • 14 oz Rice Crab Concentrate Diluted with 2 Lit water

Rieu Mix (crab cake mix)

  • 2 lbs Ground pork
  • 1 lb Crab meat
  • 7 oz Crab paste in bean oil 1 Jar
  • 2-3 tsp Fermented shrimp paste (mam ruoc)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Grounded black pepper
  • 3-4 tsp chicken granulated seasoning
  • 2 oz Dried Shrimp (grounded) soak in water 30 min before grinding
  • 8-10 each Large eggs

Other Ingredients

  • 1 cup Annatto seed oil (dau dieu)
  • minced garlic and shallots
  • cooked periwinkle meat
  • XXL Rice Noodles cooked following instruction on package
  • 4-5 each Tomatoes wedge cut
  • Water spinach (rau muon) cut in thirds
  • Fried puffy tofu
  • Pork Blood cooked in salt water with garlic
  • Cooked pork loaf (cha)
  • Pork paste (gio song)
  • Green onions chopped garnish
  • Cilantro chopped garnish



  • In a pressure cooker (8 qrt) add:
    3 lbs pork bones (parboiled), 2 yellow onions, 1 tbsp whole black pepper, 1 oz dried shrimp, 3 oz rock sugar, 2 tbsp chicken seasoning, 2 cans vegetable soup, 1 tbsp salt.
    Fill you to max level with water.
  • Close pressure lid & hole. Set pressure cooker to:
    Soup broth, low pressure, 40 mins
    If you don't have pressure cooker, you can cook on medium – low heat for ~ 1hr:45 min. Make sure to skim off foam.
  • in a separate pot, dilute the rice crab concentrate with 2 lit water.
    bring to boil for 5 min.
    turn off heat and let settle.
    filter over the clear top part of crab broth to big pot.
  • Once the pressure cooker is done, filter over the pork broth in with the crab broth.
    Keep the pork bones to eat with your soup later.
  • stir fry 1 cup annatto seed oil with 1 whole clove minced garlic, 1 large shallot (minced).
    add cooked periwinkle meat, season with 2 tsp chicken seasoning.
    add to broth pot.

Rieu Mix (crab cake mix)

  • combine and mix well all ingredients for Rieu.
  • scoop about 2 tbsp of Rieu mix at a time and add to boiling broth pot. Until used all.
  • scoop about 1 tbsp pork paste and add to boiling broth. Until used all.
  • add in 1-2 tbsp fermented shrimp paste (mam ruoc). or to taste
    add fish sauce to taste.
  • add tomatoes wedges. save some to add to bowl later.
    add fried puffed tofu.

Other Prep

  • Boil rice noodles according to package instruction.
    (optional) You can make the noodle orange by adding color. (no taste difference)
  • Blanch you water spinach in broth to dress your bowl.
  • other mints and veggies if you prefer.


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