Sunday, February 21, 2021

Canh Bun Tau (Vietnamese Fish & Noodle Soup) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This week Souper Sundays is heading to Vietnam as I am taking part in #FoodandLit, on my favorite book social platform, Litsy. It's an event where we read a book or books from a particular country each month and cook and/or eat food from that country. January was Brazil (you can see my Creamy Brazilian Black Bean Soup here) and in March it will be Ethiopia. 

Vietnamese food is a favorite cuisine of mine and I have ordered in already this month, (Lemongrass Tofu and Veggie Spring Rolls) but I wanted to cook something too, and I wanted to make a non-Pho soup. I have a tiny Vietnamese cookbook, literally called "A Little Vietnamese Cookbook" that I think my mom put in my stocking one Christmas, years ago. I decided on a simple fish an noodle soup. My changes and adaptations are in red below. 

Canh Bun Tau (Vietnamese Fish & Noodle Soup
Slightly Adapted from A Little Vietnamese Cookbook by Terry Tan
(Serves 4)

1/2 lb white fish (halibut or cod are excellent) (I used a mix of cod and local monchong)
1 tsp ground ginger or puree of fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil + 1 Tbsp peanut or sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large onion, sliced
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 sweet basil leaves (I used Thai basil + more for garnish)
1 tsp dried shrimp paste or anchovy sauce (I used this Mam Tom shrimp paste)
5 cups water (I used water + shrimp stock)
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp nuoc mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce--I used this Thai Kitchen fish sauce)
1 1/2 oz cellophane noodles, soaked until soft (I accidentally bought rice noodles instead)
2 stalks spring onions, chopped
(I added the juice of 1/2 lime before serving and baby Thai basil leaves to serve)

Chop fish coarsely and cover with ginger, salt, and pepper, Set aside. Heat oils in a large saucepan and fry garlic and onions until light brown, then add turmeric, basil and shrimp paste. Add water (or broth), lemon juice, nuoc mam, and bring to a boil. Add fish and cook for 4 minutes or until fish is cooked mostly through. Add noodles and serve in individual bowls with chopped green onions (and basil leaves) on top. 

Notes/Results: A light and mild soup. I wanted more tang and added lime juice to the mix before serving. You might also try some chili garlic sauce stirred in if it's too mild. I used both cod and a local fish called monchong (sickle pomfret) and liked the former texture of the monchong best. This isn't my favorite of Vietnamese soup but it was good, it's healthy, and I would make it again. 

Now let's check out the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here!

Crafty Gardener is here with her "Soup'er SP Soup" and says, "I’m calling this soup the SP soup as it is made from split peas and sweet potatoes. There is probably a recipe out there that you can search but I used one of my other recipes and added all sweet potatoes. ... I love to eat soups the second day as they tend to thicken up and get more tasty. I made some for the fridge and some for the freezer."

Debra of Eliot's Eats shared her Gourmet Breakfast Sandwiches inspired by the #AllGirlsBlogParty we both took part in earlier this week. She says, "I was stuck on the “designer egg McMuffins.” ... I decided to make these for a weekend brunch for two.  It just so happened it was Valentine’s Day weekend so it was an added plus. ... I made my own ciabatta rolls using a recipe at King Arthur. This recipe is a two-day process, making the sponge to set overnight and then a total of 5-6 hours for other risings. Plan accordingly."

Judee of Gluten Free A - Z Blog brought a colorful Anti-Inflammatory Salad, saying "This colorful anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense salad is not only delicious, it also contains ingredients known to help reduce inflammation in the body. ... Did you know thainflammation is the number one predictor of heart disease (which can be a silent killer) and plays a key role in aggravating and contributing to many other diseases." 

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen shares a Yellow Pea Soup with Red Pepper and Tofu Croutons. She says, "Too much turmeric in a dish can be overpowering and that is what happened with this Yellow Pea Soup .  It was edible though, albeit not the flavour i was quite expecting.  To tone down the turmeric yellow flavour and colour, i first added in some minced red pepper for sweetness and for a change,. I also  made tofu croutons that were fried in a little olive oil and fried until golden on sides to add a bit of body.  It was okay but nothing to get excited about."

Thank you to everyone who joined me this week!
(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. As always, love your photos. What a fun group! Can't wait to see what Ethiopian food you cook up! Will be posting a soup this week so plan on linking up again! Have a great week and be safe and well!

    1. Thank you! It is a fun group of readers. I look forward to seeing your soup. ;-)

  2. I love Vietnamese soup and yours looks amazing. We used to have a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant that made amazing soups.

    1. Thanks Judee! It would be great with more veggies or tofu too. ;-)

  3. I'm cheating a bit this week, and adding a favourite recipe that uses a can of soup. The recipe doesn't exactly fit the requirements of your link up.

    1. Thanks, Linda. I am ok with going out of the box on this one.

  4. that looks like a very good soup. We've been eating a lot of soups this winter, which is a change from the past.

    be safe... mae at

  5. I am afraid i have a bit of an aversion to noodles, strange because i like spaghetti. But the flavorus appeal. i too am looking forward to seeing what Ethiopian food you make. ps just managed to join in this week, i really thought i was going to miss the linky deadline


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