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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gourmet Bún Riêu Cua B**ches!

Yeah, you read right: gourmet bún riêu cua, a noodle dish that is one of the top vendor foods in Vietnam. The original vendor dish is made with grounded paddy crabs, tomatoes, deep-fried tofu and an egg and shrimp paste mixture. The dish is sometimes known as tofu-curdle noodle soup, since the chunky eggs in the soup resemble curdled milk. The broth is colored with annatto seeds to produce a bright orangy-red color to the broth. Other ingredients such as pig blood is sometimes also added. The dish is accompanied with a variety of condiments ranging from chili pepper paste, fermented shrimp paste, limes, bean sprouts, shredded banana flower, spearmint, shiso leaves, and/or exotic leaves called rau kinh giới (Elsholtzia ciliata).
My mom made an incredible version using an amazing load of real crab meat, crab brains/innards, and crab paste, all of course, with tomatoes and egg (for lunch). It was basically a crab extravaganza! Served over vermicelli, this piping hot dish was so vibrant and aromatic that I almost gave in to its' temptation (even though I disliked this dish as a child and still do even if it was vegetarian-friendly) but I stood my ground!

Fun fact(s): "Bún" (boom) literally means noodle and "Riêu" (reew) means to simmer at low heat. "Cua" (goua) basically means crab so the dish is literally, "Simmering Crab Noodle" which explains the process of cooking: at low-medium heat to slowly simmer all the flavors of the crab and tomato together. Claaassic!!!

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