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Chicken, pork and shrimp rice vermicelli soup


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Bún thang - Chicken, pork and shrimp rice vermicelli soup (northern dish)



    For the broth:

  • 2 chicken breasts with bone intact
  • 2 pounds pork spare ribs, separated and cut in 1-inch length
  • 1/2 cup of dried shrimp medium size
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion cut in 4 pieces
  • 1 small piece of ginger bruised
  • 2 8-ounce of small round rice vermicelli soaked in water for 15 minutes

  • 1 onion thinly sliced and crisp fried (You can buy crisp fried onion in a jar from Asian grocery stores now.)
  • 2 lemons cut in wedges
  • 3 cups shredded leaf lettuce
  • fresh red chilies thinly sliced discard the seeds
  • 1 cup of chopped spring onion
  • 1 cup of chopped coriander
  • 1 pound of Vietnamese pork paste (from an Asian grocery store) julienne cut. If you live in Southern CA , you can buy it freshly made daily; otherwise look in the freezer of Asian grocery stores where you will find it)
  • 1 very thin omelet julienne cut in thin strips
  • 1 8-ounces of round thin rice vermicelli blanched in boiling water and drained
  • Shrimp paste (optional)


  • Rinse the meat with cold running water and set aside.
  • Wash the dried shrimp carefully to get rid of any sand and dust; then set aside.
  • Boil 12 cups of water in a large pot with a piece of ginger and sweet onion pieces. When water comes to a boil, put chicken, pork, and dried shrimp in the pot.
  • Bring to a boil; then add the seasoning: sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Skim off all the foam and the fat on the surface. Remove the chicken and the ribs. Set it aside to cool. Season the broth to taste.
  • Shred the chicken, set aside and discard the skin and bones. Thin slice the pork pate, then julienne cut into strips of 2-inch in length and set aside.
  • Boil water in a big pot. Drain the soaked noodles. When the water comes to a boil, drop the noodles in the water; use a pair of chopsticks to separate the noodles, cook the noodle no more than 2 minutes. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, drain again and set aside.

    To serve the soup
  • In a medium soup bowl put 1 cup of noodles, decorate the top with shredded chicken, julienned strips of omelet, a few pieces of ribs, a few pieces of pork pate, chopped scallions; then pour 2 cups of broth over the top.
  • Serve on the side a platter of chopped lettuce, cilantro, wedges of lime, chilies and chopped polygonum (if you cannot find this herb then substitute with mint and cilantro).
  • You can try the shrimp paste with the soup, just put a drop in the soup.