Culture Culture

28/05/2018 - 09:43

Exquisite crab noodle soup

After nearly five years since university graduation, my close friend, who is now working in Hanoi, had a chance to go back to visit Hue. She came back to solve her work, but also to "solve" her accumulated nostalgia for Hue and for the foods we two students enjoyed at the time.

Unforgettable sweet taste of fresh crab

I had less than two days to take her to the familiar restaurants, enjoying our familiar flavors. Five years had passed, but I knew bánh canh cua rời (crab noodle soup) was still her first choice, and mine too.

The two bowls of hot noodle soup were served. We did not forget to add a spoon of chili paste to conform to the Hue eating style. We ate and talked, recalling memories of our student life.

Every time we got paid for our part-time jobs, we treated ourselves to this luxury. We call it "luxury" because this dish is a little more expensive than other snacks. But it is really delicious, healthy and nutritious.

Hue noodle soup is diverse with different recipes and various flavors. Crab noodle soup is a deviation from the traditional noodle soup. Its typical taste is sweet with fresh crab.

The main ingredients for this dish are rice flour, crab flesh and crab balls. Rice flour is made into pastry then sliced in long pieces. Crab is steamed.

According to experienced cooks, the secret to this recipe is how to choose proper crabs. Crabs must be fresh and hard so that flesh would be separated easily.

Because river crabs are rare and expensive today, sometimes blue crabs are used instead. In Hue, living blue crabs at Tam Giang Lagoon is the best.

For the quality of the noodle soup, each bowl is often quickly cooked while the diner is waiting with noodles, broth, crab flesh and spices ready. Besides crab flesh, accompanied chả cua (crab balls) are also very tasty, fatty, spicy and aromatic with pepper.

While other popular soup such as Nam Phổ noodle soup, pork noodle soup, pasta soup, etc. can be found everywhere, fewer places serve crab noodle soup. Despite that, it is still listed among Hue delicacies which attract visitors. All ingredients blend well, producing a flavor to perfection that makes those who ever try want to enjoy it again and again.

While enjoying the hot crab noodle soup in the way Hue natives often do, we felt so proud to hear the compliments on the fresh crab flesh, the sweet taste of broth and properly-cooked rice noodles from the diners nearby and their promises to return.

Visitors to Hue are recommended to drop by this restaurant on Phạm Hồng Thái St. to enjoy this unique and nutritious crab noodle soup. It is mainly served in the morning and late afternoon at the price of VND 20,000-25,000/bowl.

Story and photo: Thanh Thao