Suong rice noodle soup (Bun suong) is one of the specialty foods of Tra Vinh province in Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. It has been said to be “once eating Bun Suong, spending your entire life missing it”. Similar to many Vietnamese rice noodle soups, Bun suong consists of the broth, rice noodles, toppings, vegetables and dipping sauce. Bun suong is served as a meal, it can fill and warm your empty stomach on rainy or cold days. The highlights of this dish are thin rice noodles, shrimp cake which look likes worms, clear yellow broth, greasy shrimp roe.
The rice noodles of Bun suong is thinner than rice noodles of other Vietnamese rice noodle soups. They boil dry rice noodles until tender, a little chewy to serve Bun suong. The dish impresses dinner with its flavorful and nice looking broth which is cooked from pork bone, tamarind, fermented soybeans. The broth is clean, dark brown, rich, a little sour and sweet-tasty.
The dish is topped with pork belly and shrimp cake (Cha tom) – the soul of Bun suong. Vietnamese people call this dish Bun suong or Bun duong because the shrimp cake (Cha tom) looks like “duong” which means coconut worm in Vietnamese. To make Cha tom, choose big and fresh shrimps, washed, peeled, ground with garlic, shallots. Add ground black pepper, salt, tapioca starch, and annatto oil to the ground shrimp mixture. Annatto oil makes Cha tom orrange and more attractive. To make Cha tom chewy, the mixture should be kneaded for many times. The cook puts the mixture into a plastic bag, cuts a small hole on the bag and press the bag to form the mixture into long noodles which are dropped into boiling broth and cooked until well-done. The noodles which are called Cha tom has a shape of coconut worm, tender and chewy texture, orange color and very smelling.
To serve Suong rice noodle soup, they put some rice noodles into a bowl, top Cha tom, pork belly, poached bean sprouts, salad and shredded cabbage. Minced fresh chili pepper, crushed toasted peanuts, stir-fried shrimp paste with garlic and sticky rice are always available so that dinner can add them to the bowl of Bun suong at his wish. Are you mouth-watering when reading this blog? Do not miss trying the perfectly tasty Suong rice noodle soup on your trip to Tra Vinh.