Bun Rieu Chay (Vietnamese Vegan Crab Noodle Soup) is an interesting dish that recreates the flavors of traditional Vietnamese bun rieu using entirely vegan ingredients like mushrooms, tofu, and various vegetables. It’s a delightful and easy-to-make addition to your daily vegan menu.

Bun Rieu Chay – The Creation of The Vietnamese Vegan Community

Vietnamese people love vegan foods and regularly enjoy them, at least several times a month. This inclination stems from the predominant religion here, which is Buddhism. On the first and full moon days of the lunar month, fasting is common. Hence, many Vietnamese dishes have two versions: one with meat or seafood, and a vegan/vegetarian version with vegetables and plant-based products.

Bun Rieu (Crab Noodle Soup) is no exception, having its vegan rendition, Bun Rieu Chay (Vegan Crab Noodle Soup). Of course, there is no “vegan” crab; the English name simply denotes that Bun Rieu Chay is the vegan alternative to the original Crab Noodle Soup.

bun rieu chay

The original crab noodle soup comprises freshwater crabs, tofu, tomato, and various herbs. It was my favorite noodle bowl as a child; my mom made it from crabs caught in the paddy fields, along with fresh and warm tofu, rice vermicelli, and tomato. Though simple, it was the best bun rieu cua for me, thanks to the natural umami flavor imparted by the super fresh crabs. This natural umami flavor remains my top priority when making Bun Rieu Chay. To replace crab, I utilize a fantastic vegan ingredient with a natural umami flavor: mushrooms.

Hence, in my Bun Rieu Chay Recipe, the main ingredients are tofu, mushrooms, and tomato. To keep it simple, the vegan crab paste is crafted from crushed tofu and mushrooms, devoid of eggs or vegetarian ham.

Ingredients

To ensure that the recipe is accessible and easy for everyone to follow, I utilize only basic and popular ingredients readily available in supermarkets and Asian grocery stores. The broth utilized in Bun Rieu Chay is a standard vegan bone broth that you can prepare beforehand and use in various vegan recipes.

Vegan Bone Broth

  • 1/2 pineapple (~200g – 7oz)
  • 1 chayote (~200g – 7oz)
  • 1 baro onion
  • 1-2 carrots (~200g – 7oz)
  • 1 small daikon (~200g – 7oz)
  • 1 white/yellow onion
  • 3L (3.2 quarts) water
  • 1 tsp of salt
vegan bone broth
Vegetables for simmering the vegan broth.

Broth Seasonings

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp annatto/paprika oil
  • 2 tbsp salt/vegan fish sauce

Vegan Crab Paste

  • 300g (10.5 oz) tofu
  • 300g (10.5 oz) mushroom (oyster/button/king oyster mushroom)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp annatto/paprika oil

Toppings

  • 300g (10.5 oz) tofu
  • 200g (7 oz) king oyster mushroom

Vegetables

  • 200g (7 oz) bean sprouts
  • 200g (7 oz) lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped spring onion & cilantro

How to Cook Bun Rieu Chay

Step 1. Simmering Vegan Bone Broth

  • After peeling all vegetables, simmer them for 3-5 hours in a regular pot or pressure cooker. Skim the foam on the surface. For more detail, refer to how to make vegan bone broth here.
vegan bone broth

Step 2. Making Vegan Crab Paste (Rieu Chay)

  • While waiting for the broth, we can start preparing toppings for Bun Rieu Chay. Rinse the mushrooms and remove any impurities and dirt. Chop or blend them finely until they are completely crushed.
bun rieu chay
  • In a bowl, crush the tofu by hand or using a blender (pic 1). Mix the crushed tofu and mushroom until they are well combined into a thick paste (pic 2). Flatten the surface and brush a layer of annatto oil onto achieve a more vibrant hue (pic 3). Finally, steam the paste, or simply microwave it for 5-7 minutes to create vegan crab paste.
bun rieu chay

Step 3. Preparing other toppings

This recipe uses fried tofu and fried king oyster mushroom as the additional toppings.

  • Cut tofu into cubes and fry them on medium heat until 6 sides of a cube turn golden brown. Rest them on paper tissue to remove the excessive oil.
bun rieu chay
  • Slice king oyster mushrooms vertically and fry them until golden brown. Set aside.
bun rieu chay

Step 4. Boiling rice vermicelli

  • Add dried vermicelli and water to a saucepan or pot and heat them over high heat. Once the vermicelli starts softening, stir occasionally to prevent sticking. When the vermicelli is cooked, drain out the water and rinse the vermicelli under cool water. This process typically takes 5-8 minutes.
Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Step 5. Making Bun Rieu Chay Broth

  • Wash and cut the tomatoes into pieces.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat and add the minced garlic (pic 1). Once the garlic turns golden brown, add the tomatoes and stir-fry until softened (pic 2). Next, add 3 tablespoons of the crab paste prepared in step 2, along with 2 tablespoons of annatto oil, to the pan (pic 3). Stir until well combined, then add 2 tablespoons of salt or vegan fish sauce to finish the seasoning sauce.
bun rieu chay
  • When the vegan broth is ready, transfer the seasoning sauce into the broth. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning according to your preference, adding salt, sugar, vegan fish sauce, etc.
bun rieu chay

Step 6. Assembly

  • Now that everything is ready, it’s time to assemble Bun Rieu Chay. First, place the rice vermicelli in the bowl, followed by the vegan crab paste, tofu, and mushrooms. Pour the broth over the ingredients until it just covers the vermicelli and toppings. Finally, garnish the bowl with a bit of chopped spring onion and cilantro. Add vegetables such as lettuce, bean sprouts, morning glory, shredded cabbage, etc., to enjoy. If desired, adjust the taste of your bowl with lemon juice and chili.
bun rieu chay
In a bowl of bun rieu chay: vegan crab paste made from tofu & mushroom, fried tofu, king oyster mushrooms and vegetables.

Storing Bun Rieu Chay

Bun Rieu Chay is best enjoyed fresh, so it’s recommended to consume it all within a day. If you wish to store it for a longer period, you can freeze the broth separately for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to have a bowl of Bun Rieu Chay, thaw and reheat the broth, prepare the toppings, wash vegetables and boil the vermicelli.

Despite the numerous steps involved, making Bun Rieu Chay is truly worth it and enjoyable. Give it a try!

bun rieu chay

Bun Rieu Chay (Vietnamese Vegan Crab Noodle Soup)

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Bun Rieu Chay (Vietnamese Vegan Crab Noodle Soup) recreates the flavors of traditional Vietnamese bun rieu using entirely vegan ingredients.

Ingredients

Vegan Bone Broth

  • 1/2 pineapple (~200g - 7oz)
  • 1 chayote (~200g - 7oz)
  • 1 baro onion
  • 1-2 carrots (~200g - 7oz)
  • 1 small daikon (~200g - 7oz)
  • 1 white/yellow onion
  • 3L (3.2 quarts) water
  • 1 tsp of salt

Broth Seasonings

Vegan Crab Paste

  • 300g (10.5 oz) tofu
  • 300g (10.5 oz) mushroom (oyster/button/king oyster mushroom)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp annatto/paprika oil

Toppings

  • 300g (10.5 oz) tofu
  • 200g (7 oz) king oyster mushroom

Vegetables

  • 200g (7 oz) bean sprouts
  • 200g (7 oz) lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped spring onion & cilantro

Instructions

Step 1. Simmering Vegan Bone Broth

  • After peeling all vegetables, simmer them for 3-5 hours in a regular pot or pressure cooker. Skim the foam on the surface. For more detail, refer to how to make vegan bone broth here.vegan bone broth

Step 2. Making Vegan Crab Paste (Rieu Chay)

  • While waiting for the broth, we can start preparing toppings for Bun Rieu Chay. Rinse the mushrooms and remove any impurities and dirt. Chop or blend them finely until they are completely crushed.bun rieu chay
  • In a bowl, crush the tofu by hand or using a blender (pic 1). Mix the crushed tofu and mushroom until they are well combined into a thick paste (pic 2). Flatten the surface and brush a layer of annatto oil onto achieve a more vibrant hue (pic 3). Finally, steam the paste, or simply microwave it for 5-7 minutes to create vegan crab paste.bun rieu chay

Step 3. Preparing other toppings

This recipe uses fried tofu and fried king oyster mushroom as the additional toppings.

  • Cut tofu into cubes and fry them on medium heat until 6 sides of a cube turn golden brown. Rest them on paper tissue to remove the excessive oil.bun rieu chay
  • Slice king oyster mushrooms vertically and fry them until golden brown. Set aside.bun rieu chay

Step 4. Boiling rice vermicelli

  • Add dried vermicelli and water to a saucepan or pot and heat them over high heat. Once the vermicelli starts softening, stir occasionally to prevent sticking. When the vermicelli is cooked, drain out the water and rinse the vermicelli under cool water. This process typically takes 5-8 minutes.Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Step 5. Making Bun Rieu Chay Broth

  • Wash and cut the tomatoes into pieces.bun rieu chay
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat and add the minced garlic (pic 1). Once the garlic turns golden brown, add the tomatoes and stir-fry until softened (pic 2). Next, add 3 tablespoons of the crab paste prepared in step 2, along with 2 tablespoons of annatto oil, to the pan (pic 3). Stir until well combined, then add 2 tablespoons of salt or vegan fish sauce to finish the seasoning sauce.bun rieu chay
  • When the vegan broth is ready, transfer the seasoning sauce into the broth. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning according to your preference, adding salt, sugar, vegan fish sauce, etc.bun rieu chay

Step 6. Assembly

  • Now that everything is ready, it's time to assemble Bun Rieu Chay. First, place the rice vermicelli in the bowl, followed by the vegan crab paste, tofu, and mushrooms. Pour the broth over the ingredients until it just covers the vermicelli and toppings. Finally, garnish the bowl with a bit of chopped spring onion and cilantro. Add vegetables such as lettuce, bean sprouts, morning glory, shredded cabbage, etc., to enjoy. If desired, adjust the taste of your bowl with lemon juice and chili.bun rieu chay
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 700g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265

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1 Comment

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