A rich noodle soup with layers of flavour from the crab, ham hock and pork mince, served with a light water spinach salad.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)

My wife absolutely loves this soup, and it’s always a hit when I make it at home. Don’t be put off by the length of the recipe – the results are fantastic, and I promise that you’ll keep coming back for more.


  • 200 g (7 oz) pig’s blood (available from Asian butchers), cut into 3 cm (1¼ in) cubes
  • 250 g (9 oz) packet fried tofu, cubed
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 450 g (1 lb) thin bun (rice noodles)
  • 1 bunch spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced, to serve
  • 1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked, to serve


  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) pork bones (shin bones have the best flavour)
  • 2 kg (4 lb 6 oz) chicken bones
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) pork hock, cut into 8 rounds about 3-cm (1¼-in) thick (ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) fish sauce
  • 100 g (31/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tbsp sea salt

Crab mousse

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 200 g (7 oz) jar crab paste with soya bean oil (see Notes)
  • 70 g (2½ oz) dried prawns (shrimp), rehydrated for at least 2 hours, drained and minced
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 250 g (9 oz) fresh crab meat
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) morning glory (water spinach)
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked (optional)
  • 1 bunch shiso leaves
  • shrimp paste, to serve (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. To make the broth, rinse the pork and chicken bones and hock under cold running water to remove any blood or splinters. Transfer to a 10 litre (2½ gallon) stockpot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the bones and hock of any residual blood and impurities. Return the bones to a clean stockpot, cover with water to nearly the top of the pot and bring to the boil again, removing any impurities that rise to the surface. Add the hock, reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until the hock is soft and tender. Remove the hock and set aside to cool. Continue to simmer the stock for a further 4–5 hours, until the liquid has reduced by 20–30 per cent. Season with the fish sauce, sugar and salt, then strain the stock into a clean saucepan and discard the bones.

2. To make the crab mousse, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for 2–3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the crab paste and dried shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Combine the pork mince, eggs, crab meat and cooled shrimp mixture in a bowl and season with the fish sauce and sugar.

3. To make the salad, pick the morning glory leaves and save for another use. Use a morning glory shredder (see Notes) to shred the stems into thin curls. If you don’t have access to a shredder, you can julienne the morning story glory stems instead. Soak the shredded stems in cold water until ready to serve, then drain and transfer to a serving bowl.

4. Arrange the remaining salad ingredients except the shrimp paste in serving bowls or on a serving platter.

5. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the pig’s blood and boil for 10 minutes. Remove and plunge into iced water. Drain when cool and set aside.

6. To cook the crab mousse, bring the stock to a rolling simmer. Working in batches, spoon golf ball–sized balls of the crab mousse into the stock (about 6–8 balls at a time) and cook until the crab mousse balls rise to the top. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove using a slotted spoon.

7. Add the tofu and tomato to the stock and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

8. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain and run under cold water until cool. Drain again and set aside.

9. Divide the noodles among eight shallow bowls and evenly ladle the stock, tomato and tofu over the top. Add the crab mousse, pig’s blood and hock and garnish with spring onion and coriander.

10. Place the salad in the centre of the table, along with small bowls of shrimp paste (if using) for people to ad to their soups. Dig in.


Crab paste with soya bean oil can be purchased from Asian supermarkets.

Morning glory shredders are used in Vietnam to cut water spinach stems into strands. This simple yet genius piece of equipment is essentially a 20-30-cm metal rod, which is point at one end and has a round plastic top with internal blades at another. To use, thread a stem of morning glory onto the rod and push it through the blade at the top. Available for purchase online.


Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99