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Mary Nguyen Aregoni, Restaurateur and Founder of Saigon Sisters & Bang Chop Thai Kitchen

Saigon Sisters locations:

567 W. Lake St.

131 N. Clinton St.

251 E. Huron St.

300 N. LaSalle St.

Bang Chop Thai locations:

605 W. Lake St.

300 N. LaSalle St.



Bun Rieu (Vietnamese crab and tomato noodle soup, pronounced Boon Rio)

It’s one of the popular soups in Vietnam besides pho that most people have not heard about. It takes less time to make than pho and is light and tasty. The traditional way of making this is complex with stock made from real crabs and pork, but this version is easier and has the same taste and does not take as long.

Recipe for Bun Rieu (serves 7-8)


  • 1 quart vegetarian broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 5 large ripe tomatoes (cut into wedges)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • ½ lb of fried tofu cut into squares
  • 1/3-1/4 cup shrimp paste
  • 1/4 cup dried shrimp (soak in warm water for at least 15 minutes then drain/rinse)
  • 14-oz can of crab meat
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 teaspoon tamarind juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 14 oz dried vermicelli noodle package


  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Shredded red cabbage
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Lime wedges


In a soup pan heat vegetable oil on high.

Add sliced onions and garlic and saute until fragrant and translucent.

Add tomato wedges, cut tofu, and black pepper and saute for 3 minutes.

Add 1 quart of vegetable broth and 1 quart of water.

Add fish sauce, sugar, tamarind juice and shrimp paste.

Let the soup simmer until boil (30 min) then bring back down to low.

While soup is simmering…

Drain the liquid from the dried shrimp into the soup pot and chopped shrimp finely.

Bring 5 qt water in another pan to boil and add rice vermicelli noodles and cook for about 7 min. or according to package instructions.

Strain rice noodles and let cool.

Portion each serving bowl with rice noodles and add 1 tablespoon of crab meat on top of noodles and set aside.

Crack all eggs in mixing bowl and add chopped dried shrimp and whisk the mixture until it’s well mixed.

Turn up the heat on the stock pot to a rolling boil. Then slowly pour the mixture into the stock pot. The egg mixture will cook up fast and float to the top.

Turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.

Ladle the soup with pieces of tofu, tomatoes, and egg over the crab meat and vermicelli bowls.

Add 1 teaspoon scallions and 1 teaspoon cilantro as garnish.

Serve with side of bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, and lime.