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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Nam Dinh-style crab paste rice noodles

By Viet An

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Crab paste rice noodles are popular in Vietnam but are served differently in the northern province of Nam Dinh. Salted figs are added to the dish to create fig rice noodles (bun sung)

Fig rice noodles combine crab paste rice noodles and salted figs, gradually transforming into a signature dish of Nam Dinh Province.

The selected figs are still green, crunchy and not too ripe. After being sliced and soaked in salt water, the figs start to sour and can be taken out for use. Salted figs have a slightly yellow, sour, spicy and somewhat acrid taste.

Derived from crab paste rice noodles, “bun sung” still retains the delicious and slightly sour flavor of the original dish. The dish is cooked using field crabs and bone broth to create a sweet taste. Each field crab must be chosen carefully to ensure a tasty broth.

When diners order the dish, the cook will start making a hot bowl full of rice noodles, adding the light golden color of crab paste and the red of the tomatoes. Besides the sweet taste of crab paste, some crunchy pork cracklings are also added, combined with pieces of salted figs to help balance the fat.

“Bun sung” is served with lettuce, basil, coriander and perilla leaves. According to tourists’ preferences, some enjoy the dish with fresh figs, while others choose to season the figs with chili, vinegar and sugar. Some also mix it with sour star fruits for more variety.

The best place for diners to enjoy fig rice noodles is Dien Hong Market, Quang Trung Street, Nam Dinh Province. At an affordable price, from VND10,000-20,000, diners can enjoy a bowl of “bun sung” with a nutritious and rich rural flavor.

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