Origin - Vietnam
Bánh Canh Tôm Cua is a crab and shrimp tapioca noodle soup packed with fresh crab and shrimp flavors. Tôm means shrimp and Cua is crab. Bánh canh is the type of Vietnamese soup that is served with special Vietnamese noodles. The noodles resemble a bit like Japanese udon noodles due to their similarities in thickness and color, except bánh canh noodles are made from tapioca flour instead of wheat flour. The starchiness of the noodles gives the broth a thicker consistency, almost to the point of gravy. The noodles are soft and chewy so make sure to slurp quickly or it’ll slide right out of your chopsticks. The broth is made from a soup stock of pork bones and crab which is simmered low for a few hours until finally seasoned with salt and sugar to blend the flavors together.
[ Variations ]
There are many variations to this dish each with different toppings such as Banh Canh Cua which include proteins such as shrimp, fish balls, and fried fish cakes. In Vietnamese restaurants, you are given a side of herbs and greens to accompany your meal.
Some variations include: - Bánh canh cua – a rich crab soup, often with quail eggs - Bánh canh chả cá – - Bánh canh bột lọc – a more translucent and chewy version of the noodle - Bánh canh Trảng Bàng – bánh canh made in the southeastern Vietnamese town of Trảng Bàng, served with boiled pork, tapioca noodles, and local herbs - Bánh canh tôm – a shrimp-flavoured broth that is also mixed with coconut milk
[ How to Eat ]
Usually you will be given a side plate of Chinese donuts called, banh quay. These sticks of fried dough are for dipping into your soup. Grab one and let it soak up all the umami flavors of the soup and take a bite of the soggy chunks after you’ve slurped your noodles. Another way is to break them into smaller pieces and sprinkle them onto your soup, but don’t wait too long or they will be too mushy.