• Thai streetfood

    Thai streetfood

  • Puff pastry cheese sticks

    Puff pastry cheese sticks

  • Fusion curry chicken

    Fusion curry chicken

  • Poppy seed strudel

    Poppy seed strudel

  • Vietnamese sandwich seller

    Vietnamese sandwich seller

Vietnamese street food story - Bun Rieu - crab cake soup with noodles

motorbike mayhem in the streets of Hanoi
motorbike mayhem in the streets of Hanoi
Back from our holiday in Vietnam. What a trip, what a country. While the memories still lingering in my mind, I want to write about my absolute favorite from this trip. Bun Rieu - a soup made with tomatoes, fresh noodles and crab cakes. While I am normally not so much a seafood fan, this soup has just got it all and got to be my absolute favorite thing among all the other amazing dishes that I ate + discovered on my trip. Strange enough i got to know and learned to love this soup on a street vendor's stand

Bun Rieu street seller's stall
Bun Rieu street seller's stall, good things come in small packages
The street stand in itself is an amazing enterprise. It consists of a propane gas powered cooker, a big pot with the precooked stock, the ingredients (such as the crab cake, tofu, you can order an additional serving of Vietnamese ham and last but not least an extra small bowl of fresh herbs*), chopsticks, bowls, cups and other cooking utensils. Everything, that the vendor will use during the business hours, can be assembled easily and conveniently at the end of the day in a small bundle.Then the vendor takes his / her small bundle and packs it on his motorbike to drive home where he / she will be most likely busy making another day's serving of the fresh soup.

 *Those fresh herbs are served with almost every dish that we ordered. I think they mainly consist of freshly collected Thai Basil, Vietnamese Mint, Coriander and Banana flowers. You will get a full bowl full of these fresh herbs with every meal and it is up to you to add as many of them as you like. If I ever decide to cook anything Vietnamese, I think I will already fail because I will not be able to buy any of those herbs over here.

I had the soup early in the morning and the fresh and savory taste of it knocked my right of my feet. Now, don't get me wrong, I did taste a good amount of deliciously tasting soups in my lifetime. Just to name two of my all time favorites, there is the the Indonesian Baso soup, a spicy soup with beef balls (they say that yet another important personality shares this love of Baso with me and that is Mr. Obama), another one is the famous Thai Tom Ka Gai soup, which is a hot and spicy chicken soup with coconut milk. Now I am not sure what it was that made me fall in love with this soup but the first morning, right there around 10.34 am, I fell in love with the Bun Rieu.

While sitting on a teeny tiny little plastic chair ( honestly, those chairs have not been built with the average European body in mind), which was built with the purpose of the chairs being easy to transport on a motorbike and keeping a normal sized ass for an average of 10 minutes (time you need to devour the soup) 30 centimeters above of a really dirty road

dirty streets of Hanoi, wet market on a rainy day
dirty streets of Hanoi, wet market on a rainy day
while myriads of loud motorbikes passing by you, creating an infernal noise carpet while all this is happening around you, your focus is zooming in slowly onto the star of the show, the soup.

Fresh bowl of delicious Bun Rieu at the street side
Fresh bowl of delicious Bun Rieu at the street side
and you remark that this stuff is so good, that it makes you forget where you are. It makes you forget the buzzing noise of the street activities, the endless sound of the horns of the motorbikes (a Vietnamese born German friend told me once that Saigon is know to be the "horn-y city of Asia" - once you are there, this makes perfect sense to you). It makes you forget the dirty street full of trash and the contents of the local trash bins, a street that is populated by cockroaches, rats (which you mostly see in the middle of night), cats and dogs (at least those ones, that are not being served up in the little street stall just right in your back) and all you can think of right there and then is the complex and full flavors of this soup. What a bliss.

I will definitely try and get the recipe for this soup, so keep watching this space. Even if my bets are on that I will never ever be able to cook the soup as good as the lady from this street stand could do (already I will have a hard time finding all the ingredients), I will still give it a try. And never forget what Martin Yan used to say: If Yan can cook, so can you! (though I am not sure if he ever cooked the Bun Rieu before).

Anyway, for now,  enjoy feasting with your eyes and stay tuned for the recipe to pop up on my blog, hopefully soon.


  1. This is also one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes. All in all, we went back 3 times to have the Bun Rieu from the same lady. She is also very generous with the serving and happy to add more soup, tofu, etc for the customers, hehehe ;-) Well written Bro!

  2. Just to hear about it......... mmmmmm... Very nice written Thomas! Can't wait to read more! :-) Your friend from Ecuador. ELENA LOPEZ

  3. Wait till i will write about my holiday in Ecuador :) haha...