VietnamFood & DrinksWhat is Vietnamese Tapioca Noodle Soup

What is Vietnamese Tapioca Noodle Soup

Vietnamese tapioca noodle soup is generally called Banh canh. The many variations of this dish include Banh canh cua, Banh canh Trang Bang, Banh canh gio heo, and Banh canh Nam Pho. The word Banh canh means tapioca noodles, and the rest of the name indicates the cooking style or the region it comes from. This article will mostly mention the first one – Banh canh cua, crab tapioca noodle soup, as it is more popular, easy to find, and looks more different from the rest.

Vietnamese Tapioca Noodles – Banh Canh

Vietnamese tapioca noodles resemble Japanese Udon but are a little more transparent in color, slippery, and softer because they are mainly tapioca starch instead of wheat flour.

The main difference between these two lies in the ratio of tapioca starch to rice flour in the dough mixture. While the main component of tapioca noodles is tapioca starch, which makes them sticky, the main element of rice noodles is rice flour. The dough is cut into large and short cylindrical pieces, like vermicelli but much larger.

Vietnamese Tapioca Noodle Soup Variations

Vietnamese tapioca noodle soup is highly varied, and its cooking style changes geologically. For example, in Hue, we have Banh canh Nam Pho and Banh canh ca loc, which are very different.

vietnamese banh canh variations coconut
Some Mekong Delta’s provinces have banh canh with some coconut milk in the broth, creating a rich creamy soup
vietnamese banh canh variations pork
A simpler variation of banh canh would be a bone broth with toppings such as pork, shrimps, or blood puddings
vietnamese banh canh variations trang bang
Banh canh Trang Bang is a provincial specialty in Dong Nai Province, which has an emphasis on its clear yet flavorful broth
vietnamese banh canh variations vegetarian
Banh canh also has a vegetarian version with a myriad of veggies and mushrooms

Crab soup has the salty taste of the sea specialties. The broth is exceptionally rich and umami thanks to the crab flavor.

Vietnamese tapioca noodle soup 1

Besides tapioca noodles, a bowl of crab tapioca noodle soup includes varied toppings such as crab sausage, fresh shrimps, a few slices of boiled pork, jelly-like blood sausage, quail egg, mushroom, and crab meat. On the top of the bowl, some chopped shallot, hot chili, and black pepper powder might be added.

Fried churros, known as Banh quay in Vietnamese, are also available. You can dip them into the gravy soup, which helps balance the flavor and adds a crispy bite.

As with other Vietnamese foods, there is always some red chili, lime, black pepper, and fish sauce on the side.

Where to Eat Tapioca Noodle Soup in Ho Chi Minh City

Crab tapioca noodle soup is only popular in Central (from Hue) and Southern Vietnam, especially in Tay Ninh- a rural province located Southwest of Vietnam, on the border with Cambodia, this place is famous for producing the best tapioca noodles. It is hard to find tapioca noodles in Hanoi or other northern provinces. In Ho Chi Minh City, you can easily find crab tapioca noodles sold in big restaurants and small food stalls on the pavements.

Each place has its recipe and delivers a distinct flavor. However, below is the list of selected restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City that might give you the perfect taste of the best crab Vietnamese tapioca noodle soup.

The menu of each place usually has customized options based on the topping, such as shrimp, crab sausage, and pork. You can choose to have your type of topping or have all of them in one bowl.

1. Banh canh cua Tran Khac Chan

Address: 87 Tran Khac Chan, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 2 PM – 8 PM
Price: VND 40,000 – 50,000

This single-dish restaurant is on a busy small street in District 1, Tran Khac Chan Street. In our opinion, the food quality is the most unique, outstanding restaurant among other crab soup restaurants. The tapioca noodles are thick, stunning, and soaked in flavorful gravy. The shrimps and crab meat are so fresh that you can feel the smell of the sea in every bite. The crab meatball is incredible, too. To sum up, everything in this tapioca noodle soup here is excellent.

2. Banh canh cua 14 Tran Binh Trong

Address: 223A Tran Binh Trong, Ward 3, District 5
Opening hours: 7:30 AM – 12 AM
Price: VND 40,000 – VND 60,000

At this street-side restaurant, you can experience iconic street food, sit on a tiny little plastic stool at a little table in the evening on the pavement in District 5, witness local activities on the street, or sit comfortably in the house while eating.

The service at this restaurant is outstanding. The staff is very friendly. When you reach the restaurant, they will quickly arrange your table and ask for your order with a smile.

3. Banh canh cua Me Pu

Address: 483/10 Le Van Sy, Ward 12, District 3
Opening hours: 10 AM- 8 PM (closed on Sunday), but this restaurant often runs out of food after 7 PM, so ideally, you should come before 7 PM.
Price: VND 55,000 – VND 70,000

Vietnamese tapioca noodle soup me pu le van sy 2
The appealing bowl is served at Me Pu Restaurant

The restaurant owner seems very detail-oriented because everything is clean, neat, and well-prepared. This place also has an air-conditioner, so if you want a place to hide from the wet, hot Vietnamese weather with delicious food, this place is an ideal option.

This restaurant also serves Bun oc – snail vermicelli soup and other Vietnamese snacks such as chicken floss.

Summing up Our Guide to Vietnamese Tapioca Noodle Soup

Besides Vietnamese tapioca noodle soup, Vietnam is also well-known for other noodle dishes such as Pho and Bun thit nuong (commonly known as Vietnamese rice vermicelli). Each of them has a unique flavor, which combines and makes up a variety of Vietnamese cuisine.

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