Vietnamese Crab Soup (Súp Cua)

Sup Cua, or Vietnamese Crab Soup, is one of my favorite street foods in Saigon, alongside banh trang tron (rice paper salad) and bun bo (beef noodle). You can easily find small street vendors selling Sup Cua everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City: at crossroads in the city center, in small alleys, or in spacious restaurants. Now, far away from home, I try to replicate the Sup Cua recipe from those beloved street vendors.

vietnamese crab soup sup cua

What’s in a bowl of Sup Cua?

There are two popular types of crab soup in Vietnam. One is Vietnamese crab and asparagus soup (súp cua măng tây), usually served in restaurants, wedding parties, etc. The other is the one I mention in this post, Vietnamese crab soup or súp cua, which is often sold by street vendors across Saigon.

So, what’s included in sup cua? The basic components are crab meat, shredded chicken breast, egg, shiitake mushroom, and tapioca starch. There are also some slight differences between each vendors selling this dish, for example some don’t have shiitake mushroom, some skip chicken…

vietnamese crab soup sup cua

And the special factor of this dish is its unique toppings: from simple boiled quail eggs (trứng cút) to century eggs (trứng bách thảo) and pig’s brain (óc heo). My simple happiness is a full-topping bowl of crab soup, because those toppings are so impressive: small and smooth quail eggs, super fatty, jelly-like century eggs, and creamy pig’s brain. Believe me, you should try pig’s brain once, to feel its creaminess and delightful taste!

Unfortunately, I can only get the full ingredients for my homemade crab soup when I was in Vietnam. Therefore, I made a basic version of crab soup only without toppings so that everybody can easily find the ingredients.

Here is my ingredient list:

  • 600g (21.2 oz) crab claws, or 1kg (35 oz) whole crab, or 200g (7 oz) frozen crab meat
  • 30g dried shiitake mushrooms (6-8 pieces)
  • 4 medium chicken eggs
  • 200g (7 oz) chicken breast
  • 10 tbsp tapioca starch and 6 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce/vegan fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 Century eggs, 1 Pig’s brain, 4 quail eggs (optional)

This recipe offers 4 portions of crab soup. You can easily reduce or increase the amount of each ingredient to adjust the number of servings.

Making Sup Cua

Cooking sup cua is very easy; however, it will take some time to prepare the ingredients. If you buy prepared crab meat, you’ll save a lot of time making this dish. Otherwise, the total time for making sup cua can be 40-50 minutes.

Step 1. Preparation

  • Boiling crab: Add enough water to a pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once it boils, add the crab and wait until the water boils again. Turn off the heat and immediately transfer your crab to a cold/cool water bath. Don’t pour away the boiling water; we’ll use it as the broth for the soup. If you use prepared crab meat, skip this step.
vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Boiling chicken breast: In another pot, boil the chicken breast until it is thoroughly cooked.
  • Soaking shiitake mushrooms: Soak the mushrooms in water for at least 15 minutes. Once they are ready; thinly slice them.
vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • While waiting for the chicken breast to be boiled, you can remove crab meat from its shell. Break the crab and use a small spoon or crab picks to extract the crab meat.
vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • When the chicken breast is boiled, let it cool down and shred it.
vietnamese crab soup sup cua

Step 2. Cooking Sup Cua

  • Cooking the broth: Mix the boiling water from the crab and chicken together. The amount of broth should be around 1.5 – 2L. Bring it to a boil and add the shiitake mushrooms.
vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Next, add the shredded chicken breast to the pot. While waiting for the broth to boil again, crack the eggs and beat them gently until the yolks and the whites mix well.
vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Then, pour the egg mixture into the boiling broth and quickly stir the broth to prevent the eggs from becoming lumpy.
vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Finally, add the crab meat. After that, mix the tapioca starch and water together and pour this mixture into the pot to thicken the soup. Stir the soup evenly, then adjust the flavor with salt, soy sauce, and fish sauce.
vietnamese crab soup sup cua

Step 3. Serving

  • Serve the crab soup in soup plates or bowls. Garnish your soup with ground pepper, chopped red chilies (if you enjoy spiciness), and chopped spring onions & coriander.
  • Always serve the soup hot because it can develop a fishy smell and become less delicious when cooling down.

Very easy, isn’t it? Be patient with the crab meat, and you’ll have your Vietnamese crab soup done right at home!

vietnamese crab soup sup cua

Vietnamese Crab Soup (Sup Cua)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

The basic components of Vietnamese crab soup are crab meat, shredded chicken breast, egg, shiitake mushroom, and tapioca starch.

Ingredients

  • 600g (21.2 oz) crab claws, or 1kg (35 oz) whole crab, or 200g (7 oz) frozen crab meat
  • 30g dried shiitake mushrooms (6-8 pieces)
  • 4 medium chicken eggs
  • 200g (7 oz) chicken breast
  • 10 tbsp tapioca starch and 6 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce/vegan fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 Century eggs, 1 Pig’s brain, 4 quail eggs (optional)

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • Boiling crab: Add enough water to a pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once it boils, add the crab and wait until the water boils again. Turn off the heat and immediately transfer your crab to a cold/cool water bath. Don’t pour away the boiling water; we’ll use it as the broth for the soup. If you use prepared crab meat, skip this step. vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Boiling chicken breast: In another pot, boil the chicken until it is thoroughly cooked.Vietnamese Chicken Porridge
  • Soaking shiitake mushrooms: Soak the mushrooms in water for at least 15 minutes. After that, thinly slice them.vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • While waiting for the chicken breast to be boiled, you can remove crab meat from its shell. Break the crab and use a small spoon or crab picks to extract the crab meat.vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • When the chicken breast is boiled, let it cool down and shred it. Then, crack the eggs and beat them gently until the yolks and the whites mix well. Now all the components of sup cua are ready. vietnamese crab soup sup cua

Step 2. Cooking Sup Cua

  • Cooking the broth: Mix the boiling water from the crab and chicken together. The amount of broth should be around 1.5 – 2L. Bring it to a boil and add the shiitake mushrooms. vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Next, add the shredded chicken breast to the pot. vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Then, pour the egg mixture into the boiling broth and quickly stir the broth to prevent the eggs from becoming lumpy.vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Finally, add the crab meat. After that, mix the tapioca starch and water together and pour this mixture into the pot to thicken the soup. Stir the soup evenly, then adjust the flavor with salt, soy sauce, and fish sauce.vietnamese crab soup sup cua

Step 3. Serving

  • Serve the crab soup in soup plates or bowls. Garnish your soup with ground pepper, chopped red chilies (if you enjoy spiciness), and chopped spring onions & coriander.vietnamese crab soup sup cua
  • Always serve the soup hot because it can develop a fishy smell and become less delicious when cooling down.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 500g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420

Did you make this recipe?

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