Bún Mắm - Rice Vermicelli Soup w/ Fermented Fish and Seafood

By Helen Le Published: November 22, 2013

  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Ready In: 60 mins

  • Yield: 4-6 Servings

This noodle soup is an acquired taste. It's stinky, salty, heady, and pungent. But for those who love it, the burst of flavors in the palate when sipping the soup is to die for.

  • To prepare water spinach, detach the tender leaves and tops and save them for the fresh green platter. Just slide the rod of a water spinach splitter into a stem and then push the stem through the blades. Put the shreds in a bowl of cold water for 5-10 minutes and they will become curly and crunchy.
  • In a small saucepan, cook the fermented fish with 1 liter (4 cups) water for 15 minutes. Occasionally skim off the foam. After 15 minutes the fish is melted and you only see the tiny bones left. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • In a large soup pot, sautée the minced garlic, shallot and lemongrass until fragrant. Add the pork belly (optional) and stir-fry until it is no longer pink. Then add coconut juice and 3 liters water (or pork broth). Pour the fermented fish broth into the pot through a mesh strainer. Discard the leftovers. Bring to a boil. Add egg plant and lemongrass stalks. Adjust the soup to taste with sugar and chicken stock.
  • Place the shrimps, fish and squid into a basket and submerge into the boiling broth until cooked.
  • In a serving bowl, place a handful of rice vermicelli. Top with the cooked seafood and ladle the soup over. Add roasted pork. Serve hot with the fresh vegetable platter, chili and a lime wedge.