How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam

Hanoi fish noodle soup has fried fish and a sour broth, while the Thai Binh fish version is eaten with fish poached in tumeric
June 26, 2021 | 07:30
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How is fish noodle soup different in Vietnamese localities?

How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam
Photo: Wintoie/Instagram

People often eat fish noodle soup at breakfast or lunch in Hanoi. The broth is cooked to be sour, with tomatoes and served with vegetables such as doc mung, dill, pineapple and spring onion. Fish is cut into pieces equivalent to tow fingers together and marinated with ginger, lemongrass and spices and then fried. Apart from noodle soup, diners can enjoy noodles dipped in sweet and sour chili garlic sauce and separate fried fish.

How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam
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Spicy fish noodle soup is a renowned dish of the port city of Hai Phong. The broth is cooked to be sour, similar to Hanoi fish noodle soup but with an added spicy flavor. Spicy fish noodle soup is served with fried fish, fried fish skin, grilled chopped fish and doc mung. Diners should add kumquats and chili to make the dish more flavorful.

How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam
Photo: Lan Huong/ VnExpress

Thai Binh fish noodle soup has a thick broth stewed made from pork and fish bone. It has no sour taste. Fish is deep-fried with fresh turmeric and rich fish sauce. Pickled bamboo shoots and rau rut (water mimosa) are also indispensable ingredients in this dish.

How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam
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Nha Trang fish noodle soup has a clear and less fatty broth, which is simmered from fish bones. Toppings include jellyfish, boiled fish and grilled chopped mackerel. Noodles are smaller and softer. The fish soup is often served with lettuce. Lime and chili should be added to enhance the dish.

How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam
Photo: Trungbuii/Instagram

Da Nang is well-known for its noodle soup with sliced mackerel and tuna, served with a variety of vegetables such as sprouts and basil.

How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam
Photo: Tam Linh/ VnExpress

Using broth stewed from fish bones, Quy Nhon fish noodle soup has a distinctive flavor and is often eaten with grilled chopped mackerel, scad or barracuda, which are finely blended with pork skin, pepper and garlic.

How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam
Photo: Quang Thien/ VnExpress

Chau Doc fish noodle soup is a well-known specialty of An Giang. The broth is simmered from pork bones. Toppings include snakehead fish stirred with turmeric or roast pork.

Recipe for Hanoi fish noodle soup

How to Cook 'Bun Ca' - the Fish Soup Found Across Vietnam
Ingredients to make Hanoi fish noodle soup

Ingredients

Tilapia: 800 grams

Noodle: 500 grams

Pork bone: 400 grams

Tofu: 2 large sticks

Onion: 1 medium-sized

Shrimp paste: ½ tbsp

Lemon juice: ½ tbsp

Turmeric powder: ½ tbsp.

Herbs: 100g (including dill, scallions, perilla, coriander and tomatoes)

The process

Step 1: Stew the bones

- Separate the tilapia meat from its bone.

- Boil a pot of 300ml of water and put pork bones in and blanch for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and wash the blanched bone.

- Boil 300ml of water, put the fish head and bone in and blanch for about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and wash the blanched fish head and bone.

- Pour about 1.5 liters of water into a pot. Put the blanched pork bone, fish head and bone in to simmer.

Step 2: Preliminarily processing the ingredients

- Place the knife at a 45 degree diagonal angle to slice the tilapia into pieces of about 2 - 2.5 cm.

- Cut tomatoes into slices and chop the onions and raw vegetables.

- Cut the dill into pieces about 3-4 cm in length. Leave the coriander and perilla leaves whole.

- Cut tofu into small pieces.

Step 3: Marinating the fish

- Add ½ tbsp of lemon juice in the sliced ​​fish, so that the latter can be crispier.

- Put ½ tbsp of shrimp paste, 1 tbsp of monosodium glutamate, and 1 tbsp of turmeric powder into the sliced ​​fish and mix thoroughly. Marinate for about 15-20 minutes.

Step 4: Frying the tofu and fish

- Put the cooking oil in a pan and heat until it is hot, add the tofu and fry until yellow and crispy.

- Put crispy flour on the marinated fish, so it can become crisp.

- Add 200 ml of cooking oil into a pan and heat until it is hot; put in the fish and deep fry.

Step 5: Cooking the broth

- Saute onions, add tomatoes and a little turmeric powder and stir until the tomatoes are soft.

- Take the fish head and pork bone out of the broth. Add the tomatoes and onions into the pot and add salt, monosodium glutamate and lemon juice to taste.

Step 6: Enjoy

Put the noodles, fried tofu, fish and broth in a bowl. Serve with herbs. Enjoy!

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