Homemade Instant Pot Bún Riêu Recipe

 Bún Riêu Recipe at Home
bowl of bun rieu soup (tomato, crab-pork-shrimp balls, pork short ribs, topped with thai basil in a white bowl
I was hooked into the flavourful Vietnamese noodle soup called Bún Riêu the moment I first ate it. If you have never had bún riêu, imagine a flavour-packed noodle soup made with a pork bone broth, filled with shrimp-crab-pork balls, tomatoes and tofu. I rarely see it served at the Vietnamese restaurants in Edmonton and Ottawa. So, I endeavoured to make my own! Having a pressure cooker and slow cooker (or for those of you like me with an Instant Pot) helps a lot! I have made bun rieu now 5 times and each time I made a few alterations until I have arrived at this recipe. Slow cooking the soup certainly makes it tastes even more flavourful; and in fact tastes 100% better the next day. But, who can wait that long?
bun rieu soup cube and can of crab meat
This small square of bun rieu seasoning contains 4 cubes inside. You can use use 2 cubes or 1.5 cubes
You will need a few ingredients for making your own Bún Riêu at home so I split the ingredients and directions up into 3 categories: soup broth, shrimp-pork-crab balls and assembly! 

Bún Riêu Soup Broth
  • 1 medium-sized onion diced
  • 2-3 lb pork riblets 
  • 1 carton (approx. 900 mL) no salt added chicken broth + enough hot water to reach 8 cup line on the instant pot (approx. 6 cups)
  • 1 cup dried shrimp *if you want to skip this, add 1 tbsp shrimp paste instead
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 small lump rock sugar
  • 1.5 cubes of Bún Riêu seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce *add more to taste
Directions for Bún Riêu Soup Broth
  1. Rinse the pork ribs under cold water to get rid of any blood and/or scum. 
  2. If using dried shrimp, rinse and then soak dried shrimp in water. Enough to cover it. 
  3. Turn on the Saute mode on the Instant Pot. Place pork ribs into the Instant Pot and enough water to cover. Allow to heat, once it starts almost boil you will start to see some grime/scum drift to the top. Turn off saute mode and drain water out. 
  4. Place pork ribs and onions into the Instant Pot. Fill with the carton of chicken broth and enough water until it gets to the 8 Cup line on the Instant Pot. This is approximately 6 cups of water. If you want it to be more flavourful initially, you can add less water and then add more boiling water later.
  5. Turn on the pressure cook mode and pressure cook for 10 minutes. This will be the base of your pork bone soup. Allow to naturally release (at least 10-15 minutes).
  6. Once you have naturally released, add rock sugar, Bún Riêu seasoning, fish sauce, dried shrimp (if using) or shrimp paste to the broth. If using dried shrimp place into a tea bag or metal ball filter so you can easily take it out later. Dried shrimp can be pretty strong, so I lately I have added in 1 tbsp of shrimp paste.
  7. Set soup onto slow cooker mode and allow the soup to cook in order to become more flavourful (at least 3 hours).
dried shrimp in a glass jar from the top down
Dried shrimp
rock sugar
Rock Sugar
While the broth is cooking, prep the best part of this Bún Riêu recipe - the pork-shrimp-crab balls! These are so good! I have no idea where they were all my life until now.
fish sauce  - three crab fish sauce
Three Crab fish sauce brand I use
shrimp sauce/shrimp paste that we use
shrimp paste
(but it says "shrimp sauce")

Crab-Shrimp-Balls (the rieu!)
  • 1 can of crabmeat *I bought the 15% crab leg meat one as that was more affordable
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, chopped. *remember to buy shelled & deveined raw shrimp
  • 1/2 lb regular ground pork
  • half of a 200g jar of crab paste with soya bean oil 
  • 2 tsp of oil from the jar of crab paste
  • 3 eggs
  • ground black pepper
jar of crab paste with soya bean oil

Directions for Crab-Shrimp-Balls
  1. Drain soya bean oil from the jar of crab paste. Use 2 tsp of the oil and set aside another 3 tbsp. It's okay if you have more or less. This is for flavour!
  2. In a bowl, mix together ground pork, chopped shrimp. can of crabmeat, half of the 7oz jar of crab paste, 2 tsp soya bean oil, eggs, and a couple cracks of black pepper. 
  3. Open the lid of the instant pot, and place 2-3 spoons of the crab mixture into the soup broth for additional flavour. 
  4. Cover the rest and set in fridge.
bun rieu - the rieu mixture made with crab, pork, shrimp
the crab-pork-shrimp mixture
Saute Tomatoes and Fried Tofu
  • 3-4 large roma tomatoes or 3 regular tomatoes cut into wedges (If Roma is too expensive)
  • 7 pieces of garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot (can skip & it still tastes good!)
  • 3 tbsp of soya bean oil (from reserved oil from the jar of crab paste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • couple cracks of black pepper
  • 8 oz bag of fried tofu
  1. In a heavy bottom pan, turn onto medium heat and add the soya bean oil. 
  2. Once the oil begins to heat up (a few minutes) add in the chopped garlic & shallot (if using).
  3. Saute the tomatoes (which have been cut into wedges).
  4. Add in salt, sugar, black pepper as you cook the tomatoes.
  5. Cook until slightly soft but not disintegrating.  Turn off the element and set aside. 
  6. Cut the fried tofu into halves.
    sauteed tomatoes 
  • Flash cooked bag of beansprouts
  • 1 lb dried rice noodle sticks; cooked & drained
  • 1 bunch of thai basil 
  • one lime; cut into wedges
Bun Rieu Assembly
  1. Cook rice noodles according to directions.
  2. Meanwhile, open the lid of the Instant Pot and put the soup on saute mode.
  3. Once the soup begins to boil, drop by large tablespoons the crab mixture (rieu) to make the tasty pork-shrimp-crab balls. 
  4. Add in the cut fried tofu. Allow to boil in the soup as it will sop up a lot of the soup flavour.
  5. Turn off saute mode and switch to the "keep warm" mode. Add in the sauted tomatoes. 
  6. Assemble your bowl of Bún Riêu by placing in the rice noodles, then soup (remember to get a bit of the crab balls, meat & tofu), and finally top with the bean sprouts and herbs. 
  7. Sprinkle a wedge of lime all over.
  8. Enjoy with your favourite hot sauces - my go-to sauces are: spicy chilli crisp, Bull Head barbecue & sriracha.

the rieu boiling up

Enjoy the hot bowl of Bún Riêu and tell me how this went for you! You should have enough to feed 3 people for 2 days and the soup will taste even better the next day. Or you can feed at least 5 people with one big pot of Bún Riêu soup. 

Oh and to note, I have the 8quart Instant Pot. Hope you love this as much as I do! 


  1. Do you know how I can substitute Bún Riêu seasoning? They definitely don't sell it at my local grocery store and I won't be able to drive to Tian Phat in Halifax for quite some time.

  2. You could do without for now. Would you be able to find the fish sauce though? That def will help as well as shrimp paste or dried shrimp.

  3. Some people even say that the bun rieu can be optional. Def adds flavour but you can do without but having the other seafood flavours help!

  4. yes fish sauce is a staple in my house

  5. Then just go with what you have! It might taste a bit different but still tasty!

  6. Cyn (Chiew) PriestApril 6, 2020 at 10:10 PM

    Yum! I love a good Instant Pot recipe, especially noodle soup. I can't wait for this pandemic to be over, so I can go to Lucky Supermarket to hunt down the ingredients.

  7. Tried this in my Instant pot without the pork riblets + ground pork (time to grocery shop). I'm very surprised it's still very flavourful :)


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