Bún Riêu Chay (Vegan Crab Noodle Soup)

Bun Rieu Chay

Bún Riêu Chay is a light yet comforting Vietnamese noodle soup with a tomato-infused base, creamy tofu ‘crab’ blend, and served with fresh herbs. A delicious yet underrated Vietnamese dish.

What is Bún Riêu Chay (Vegan Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup)?

Bún Riêu Chay is a plant-based version of the traditional Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup – a popular noodle soup from Northern Vietnam. It has a balance of tangy flavors from the tomato and sweetness from the mushrooms. Moreover, this noodle soup is perfect for the fall and winter months, as it’s like a comforting hug in a bowl!

This original dish uses crab blend to make the Riêu, but to make it 100% plant-based, we are using the bean curds achieved by boiling soy milk and adding salt and lime juice. Use a small strainer to strain out the bean curds, add this to a bowl and combine with some seasonings.

Why does this work? – Soy milk, when interacting with something salty (salt) and acidic (lime or lemon juice or rice vinegar), will separate into liquid and bean curds. This is similar to the process of making tofu.

Why this recipe works

This recipe is:

  • Perfect for weeknights or breakfast or lunches on the weekends
  • Can be made in batches and the broth will become more flavorful over time
  • Has a balance of savory, tangy and sweet flavors

What you’ll need for this recipe

To make the broth, you’ll need:

  • Soy milk
  • Tomatoes
  • Lime juice
  • Mushrooms
  • Cooking oil
  • Annatto seeds
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce
  • Mushroom seasoning
  • Sugar
  • Fried tofu

For the toppings, use vermicelli rice noodles and a wide variety of fresh herbs like:

  • Chopped green onions
  • Coriander
  • Bean sprouts

How to make this recipe

First, heat the soy milk in a pot, when this comes to a low boil, add the lime juice and 1 tsp salt. Turn off the heat and close the lid. The soy milk will separate a bit into liquid and bean curds.

Add salt and lime juice to soy milk
Add salt and lime juice to soy milk

Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and mushrooms into cubes.

Cut the tomatoes
Cut the tomatoes
Cut the mushrooms
Cut the mushrooms

Make the annatto seed oil by frying 2 tbsp annatto seeds in 3 tbsp of cooking oil for about 2 minutes. Remove the seeds, then stir-fry the chopped tomatoes and mushrooms in the remaining oil.

Make the annatto seed oil
Make the annatto seed oil
Stir fry the tomato and mushrooms
Stir fry the tomato and mushrooms in annatto seed oil

Next, add seasonings and transfer them to the soy milk broth. Bring to a soft boil. The soy milk should curdle and separate, this is when you strain the bean curds. If it hasn’t curdled, add more salt or lime juice and bring to a boil.

Strain the bean curds
Strain the bean curds

Add the shimeji mushroom and fried tofu to the broth. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Shimeji Mushroom
Cut the ends off the shimeji mushroom and add to the broth

Season the broth with soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

Bun Rieu Chay broth
Add fried tofu and season the broth to taste

How to serve this Bún Riêu Chay?

Serve the broth and toppings over cooked rice noodles and fresh herbs.

Bun Rieu Chay top-down view
Assemble the Bun Rieu Chay
Bun Rieu Chay
Serve with fresh herbs

If you have tried my recipe, please let me know what you think by leaving me a review on this page or tagging me on Instagram @veggieanh. I would love to see your creations!

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Bun Rieu Chay

Bún Riêu Chay (Vegan Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup)

  • Author: Veggie Anh
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x


Bún Riêu Chay is a light yet comforting Vietnamese noodle soup with a tomato-infused base, creamy tofu ‘crab’ blend and served with fresh herbs. Flavorful and aromatic!


Units Scale
  • 1 liter unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 ml lime juice
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 200 g cremini mushroom
  • 200 g shimeji mushroom
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp anatto seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mushroom seasoning
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 200 g fried tofu


  • vermicelli rice noodles
  • coriander
  • bean sprouts
  • chopped green onions


Make the ‘Crab’ noodles broth

  1. To a pot, add the soy milk and bring to a soft boil, then add 1 tsp salt and lime juice. After adding the lime juice, the liquid will separate into water and bean curds. Use a strainer to strain out the bean curds and put them in a bowl, this will be our vegan ‘crab’ meat.
  2. Add the oil to a pan, add in the anatto seeds if using, and stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove the seeds.
  3. Cut the tomatoes and cremini mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, stir fry them in the anatto seed oil, and add seasonings (salt, sugar, mushroom seasoning, and soy sauce). Stir fry for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the stir-fried tomatoes and mushrooms to the remaining soy milk broth in the pot.
  5. Cut the ends off the Shimeji mushrooms and add to the broth. Add fried tofu. Cook for 10 minutes then serve.
  6. Season the broth with salt and soy sauce to taste.

Prepare the toppings

  1. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse and drain under cold water.
  2. In a bowl, put the rice noodles underneath, followed by the vegan crab meat, toppings (mushrooms & fried tofu) and pour over the broth.
  3. Serve the noodle soup with fresh herbs and enjoy!


Use natural, unsweetened soy milk to yield the best result. If the soy milk doesn’t curdle, add more salt or lime juice.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: vietnamese

Keywords: noodle soup, tofu, tomato sauce, vegan, vietnamese

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  1. My fave noodle soup ever since I was a kid! You forgot to let us know how to season the bean curd in your recipe, though you mention it in the intro. 🙂 I do something similar but I just use soft tofu (not the silken kind) and mush it up with my hands. I add some finely minced sauteed garlic and shallots for flavour and a key ingredient to make it taste fishy: vegan tuna and the oil it’s packed in. Mix it all up. I do eat eggs so I also add an egg to bind it, then drop spoonfuls into the pot of broth. I also saute onions with the tomatoes for a more flavourful broth since I’m not Buddhist veg (I know lots of Viet people who eat chay avoid garlic and onion).

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. So cool how you make it 😀

    2. I’m gonna try this with vegan tuna too, super cool idea to make it fishy!

  2. […] 11. Vegan Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup (Bún Riêu Chay) […]

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