The crab noodle soup is available in many localities but Haiphong’s crab noodle soup has a unique taste which makes the dish different from most of the rest. Diners can find the crab noodle soup everywhere in Haiphong, from luxury restaurants to food stalls on streets.
The signature ingredient of the dish is the reddish brown noodle, or banh da in Vietnamese. The dish must be served with beef wrapped in piper lolot leaves and some other herbs.
To make the reddish brown noodles of the dish, rice has to be dried under the sun before being ground into flour. The rice flour will then be mixed with water to have a chewy mixture. Next, the cook will use some gac powder and sugar or a special liquid to add a nice dark brown color to the noodles which will be steamed and dried on bamboo mats.
Crabs must be fresh to have a tasty broth. The colorful toppings next render the dish more attractive, including the orange of tomalley from crabs, the brown of rice noodles, the green of piper lolot leaves and minced green onions, the red of chilies and the yellow of fried pork cracklings.
Salty, sweet, sour, spicy and fat flavors expose in a bowl of Haiphong-style crab noodle soup impressing diners at first bite.