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  • Writer's pictureDeana Thai

Instant Pot Bún Riêu

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Vietnamese Tomato Pork & Seafood Noodle Soup is rich in tangy savory flavors from tomatoes, simmering pork bones, carb/shrimp paste and seafood meatballs.
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Bún Riêu, a Vietnamese Tomato Pork & Seafood Noodle Soup that's rich in tangy savory flavors from tomatoes, simmering pork bones, carb/shrimp paste and seafood meatballs. Bún riêu is a traditional soup made from pre-boiled pork bones to produce a beautiful clear broth and served with vermicelli noodles. Although varieties such as bún riêu cua (crab), bún riêu cá (fish) and bún riêu ốc (sea snail) of this soup exist; I'm accustomed to bún riêu cua (crab) with ground pork because that's what my mom would make.

This vermicelli noodle soup is one of my childhood favorites! It's a big bowl of comfort every-time I eat it and my own children get so excited when I say that's what we're having for dinner! This is a widely popular and enjoyable soup for both adults and children because, who doesn't love a great meatball noodle soup? This is my own version of bún riêu and I've added minced shrimp to create a sweetness in the pork and crab meatballs. I've also used "minced crab in spices" to flavor the soup. But if you can't find the crab in spices, you can also use "minced shrimp in spices". Both are delicious and taste similar to one another. The main difference is the crab meat verses the shrimp.

To achieve a clear broth without debris from using bones, they must be pre-boiled for 10-15 minutes. This process cleans the bones from blood and chipped particles. You can use any type of pork bones. I use whatever I have on hand and can find in the market. Sometimes I make the broth with pork riblets, babyback ribs, pork hocks and or feet. I'm also using my instant pot pressure cooker to quickly produce a bold bone flavor in a short amount of time on a week night. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can also achieve a beautiful broth on the stove top. But you'll have to plan ahead for additional cooking time. On the stove top, you'll want to simmer the pork bones for 2-4 hours minimum to get a rich flavor. You'll also need to replenish the liquid that evaporates hourly. My rule of thumb is one quart of water per hour of simmering. My favorite way to make a rich broth is still on the stove top by simmering on medium heat for 4-hours or more. However, it's unrealistic on a week night, so the instant pot pressure cooker is a life-saver for my cravings with a short cooking time! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as my family! Don't forget to let me know how it goes with your love ones and what you think of my recipe.



  • 2lbs pork bones, ribs, hock or feet

  • 1 can of crab paste/minced crab in spices (14oz)

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp minced garlic

  • 1 3-inch ginger piece

  • 8 medium heirloom tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp salt (extra for rinsing bones)

  • 1/2 cup chicken bouillon

  • 1 stick palm sugar

  • Hot water

  • fried tofu


  • 1lb ground pork

  • 1/2 lb minced shrimp

  • 1/2 lb crab meat

  • 2 tbsp crab paste/minced crab in spice

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp mince garlic

  • 2 eggs

Sides & Additional Flavoring Agents

  • chopped green onions

  • thinly sliced green and red cabbage

  • thinly sliced red onion

  • water spinach/morning glory

  • Thai or serrano chili sliced

  • lime wedges

  • fine shrimp sauce/paste

  • fish sauce

  • Other Optional Herbs: mints, Thai basil, perilla/purple shiso, cilantro



  1. Begin boiling water in a stock pot for pre-boil rinse of bones.

  2. Add pork bones and 1 tablespoon salt. This is the initial boil to clean the bones and meat. Any blood or debris will wash off and leave the actual broth nice and clear. Boil for 10 to 15-minutes. Drain and rinse meat well under warm water.

  3. Add olive oil into the pressure cook and set on sauté mode. Add in the garlic, ginger and half the tomatoes. Sauté for 3-5 minutes till tomato juices come out.

  4. Add clean pork bones and 2 tablespoons of crab paste to the pressure cooker. Fill with room temperature water or hot water to the 1/2 LINE. Add salt, chicken bouillon and palm sugar. Give it a good stir.

  5. Close pressure lid and set on "broth/soup" mode for 30-minutes. Let it naturally release or release pressure after 30-minutes.

  6. Once broth is done and pressure has been released, remove the bones and ginger to make room for the meatballs.

  7. Set pressure cooker on sauté and spoon in meatball mixture.

  8. Allow broth to come back to a boil and cook meatballs for 3-5 minutes. Once they float, they are cooked.

  9. Remove meatballs and set aside. We are making room for the rest of the tomatoes and tofu. Tofu is optional. You can use fresh firm tofu or fried tofu.

  10. Add tomatoes, tofu and fill pot up with more water until it reaches 1-inch below the pot's lip.

  11. Add in remaining minced crab in spice! Give it a good stir and allow broth to come back up to a boil. Allow to boil for 3-5 minutes. Turn off. Broth is DONE!

  12. At this point you can taste the broth to check the saltiness. If it's not to your liking, add additional bouillon or salt in 1 teaspoon increments tasting as you go.

  13. Dish up the cooked vermicelli noodles, veggies if desired, pork bones, meatballs and broth into a serving bowl. Enjoy while hot for best experience of flavors!


  1. Add ground pork, minced shrimp, crab paste, black pepper, salt, minced garlic and eggs. Mix till well incorporated.

  2. Add crab meat and gently incorporate into the mixture

  3. Cover and set aside for later.

Sides & Additional Flavoring Agents

  1. Wash all fresh herbs and veggies in salt water. Rinse well and allow to drain.

  2. Thinly slice cabbage, onions, and chili.

  3. Cut lime into individual wedges.

  4. Arrange veggies, herbs, lime and chili on serving platter.

  5. Set out platter with extra fish sauce and shrimp sauce for guests to dressed their bowls. Or you can dress and serve each bowl the way you want your guess to experience this soup!

Supplies & Equipement

Instant Pot 8-Quart:

Lee Kum Kee Fine Shrimp Sauce:

Minced Crab In Spice 6 Pack (5.6 oz cans):

Fresh herb garden in my backyard! Now I don't waste and throw away herbs from the supermarket that I can't finished before they go bad.

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