Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Soups)

Saigon Pork and Shrimp Soup with Rice Sticks Recipe

(Hu Tieu Do Bien)

Like pho, this soup, called hu tieu do bien, relies heavily on a richly flavored stock. Without it the taste would be bland and insipid. Hu tieu do bien is a specialty of Saigon and the surrounding area, where the pork stock is enhanced with the intense sweet and smoky flavor of dried squid. To serve the meal on its own, add bit-size pieces of soaked dried shiitake mushrooms or cubes of firm tofu.

Ingredients : Serves 4

225 g

225 g


115 g



1 clove

1 bunch

1 bunch



For stock

25 g

675 g


225 g

15 ml

15 ml


1/4 teaspoon

Pork tenderloin

Dried rice sticks (vermicelli), soaked in lukewarm water for 20 minutes

Shrimps, shelled and deveined

Bean sprouts

Spring onions (scallions), finely sliced

Green or red Thai chilies, seeded and finely sliced

Garlic, finely sliced

Coriander (cilantro) leaves, stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped

Basil leaves, stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped

Lime, cut into quarters



Dried squid

Pork ribs

Onion, peeled and quartered

Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

Nuoc cham

Soy sauce



Method :
  • To make the stock, soak the dried squid in water for 30 minutes, rinse and drain.

  • Put the ribs in a large pan and cover with approximately 2.5 liters of water.

  • Bring the water to the boil, skim off any fat, and add the dried squid with the remaining stock ingredients. Cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour, then skim off any foam or fat and continue to simmer, uncovered, for a further 1 1/2 hours.

  • Strain the stock and check the seasoning, adding a little more if necessary. You should have roughly 2 liters. Pour the stock into a deep pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the pork tenderloin and simmer for about 25 minutes. Carefully lift the tenderloin out of the stock, place it on a board and cut it into thin slices. Meanwhile, keep the stock simmering gently over a low heat.

  • Bring a pan of water to the boil. Drain the rice sticks and add to the water. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender, separating them with chopsticks if they stick together. Drain the rice sticks and divide them among four warm bowls.

  • Drop the shrimps into the simmering stock for 1 minute. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and layer them with the slices of pork on top of the rice sticks. Ladle the hot stock over them and sprinkle with beans sprouts, spring onions, chilies, garlic and herbs.

  • Serve each bowl of soup with a wedge of lime to squeeze over it and nuoc cham to splash on top.

Tips :

Look for a smoky dried squid in Chinese and Asian markets. If you cannot find it, you can use dried shrimp instead, which is usually easier to find. The shrimp will need to be soaked and drained in the same way as the squid.

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