Bún Quậy Recipe

Lastest Updated April 19, 2024
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Vietnamese quick-stirred seafood noodle soup, or Bun Quay (Bún Quậy), is a delicacy of Phu Quoc island in Southern Vietnam.

It consists of chewy rice noodles, a variety of seafood, refreshing vegetables, and a flavorful sauce based on calamansi juice. Trying Vietnamese Bun Quay in its hometown is wonderful, but making it at home is even better!

Scroll down for in-depth information about the special features of Bun Quay, the tools and ingredients you must have to prepare it, how to cook it at home from scratch, cooking tips to increase its quality, the best ways to store and reheat it, and suggestions for similar dishes.

Let’s begin with Bun Quay specialty and what makes it distinctive!

Vietnamese Quick-stirred Seafood Noodle Soup

What Makes Bun Quay Special?

Vietnamese quick-stirred seafood noodle soup (Bun Quay) is a special Vietnamese noodle soup dish thanks to its fascinating history, diverse flavor profile, and intriguing way of serving.

Bun Quay hails from Phu Quoc, a tropical island in Kien Giang Province and one of the most famous tourist attractions in Southern Vietnam. After visiting the stunning beaches or vibrant local markets, eating a hot bowl of Bun Quay is a great thing to do.

While Bun Quay is a Phu Quoc specialty, the noodle soup has its roots in Binh Dinh, a coastal province in Central Vietnam. It was brought to Phu Quoc in the 2000s by Binh Dinh immigrants and adapted to suit the local palate.

The best place to try Vietnamese quick-stirred seafood noodle soup in Phu Quoc is Bun Quay Kien – Xay, a restaurant that claims to be the birthplace of Bun Quay. Outside Phu Quoc, a few places offer this noodle soup in Southern Vietnam, especially Ho Chi Minh City.

Bun Quay contains various kinds of seafood, such as fish, shrimp, squids, etc. The broth is made from boiling rice noodles and seafood in it, creating a lot of umami. The noodle soup is always paired with a calamansi juice-based dipping sauce, which balances the flavor with tangy notes.

To serve Bun Quay correctly, the eater has to make their dipping sauce by stirring chili peppers, soup powder, sugar, and salt in calamansi juice. That is the origin of the name, which is literally “stirred noodles.” Stirring is also necessary to distribute the toppings.

You just have the overview about what ingredients to make Bun Quay at home, but you have to find the proper cooking tools first.

What Are The Essential Tools For Making Bun Quay?

To make Bun Quay from start to finish, you’re going to need these tools: a stock pot, a sharp knife, a cutting board, a mortar and pestle, a ladle, a pair of plastic gloves, and some optional tools. Here is why they are necessary.

  • Stock pot: For making Bun Quay broth.
  • Knife: For preparing the aromatics.
  • Cutting board: For preparing the aromatics.
  • Mortar and pestle: For preparing the shrimp paste. You can replace them with a blender, though the resulting texture may be different.
  • Ladle: For preparing Bun Quay broth.
  • Eco-friendly disposable plastic gloves: For protecting your hands while making the fish paste.
  • Optional tools: You also need some other kitchen staples to prepare Bun Quay, such as a pair of tongs, chopsticks, a slotted spoon, a spatula, etc. They are used to process several ingredients of Bun Quay: the tongs are used for picking up the squids, the spatula for scraping the aromatics, and so on.
Tools for Making Bun Quay

What Are The Main Ingredients of Bun Quay?

The ingredient list of Bun Quay includes Asian tiger shrimp, ground bronze featherback, squids, bone broth, dried rice noodles, lemongrass, shallots, chili peppers, vegetables, and various spices and condiments. Most of them are easy to acquire from supermarkets or Asian grocery stores.

Seafood

  • Asian tiger shrimp: This type of seafood is also known as black tiger shrimp or giant tiger prawn. Frozen shrimp are acceptable, but fresh ones create the best flavor.
  • Ground bronze featherback: Bronze featherback is a Vietnamese freshwater fish with a chewy and mildly sweet flavor. It is often imported from Vietnam or other Southeast Asian countries and may fetch a high price.

Vietnamese food stores and online retailers are the best places to find bronze featherbacks. You can replace the fish with other types of freshwater fish in a pinch.

  • Squids: They are one of the most vital ingredients of Bun Quay. Choose squids small enough to fit into a serving bowl. Frozen squids are often pre-cleaned and don’t need further cleaning.

Other Ingredients

  • Bone broth: You can prepare Bun Quay with homemade pork bone broth, though using canned broth is a great idea to save time.
  • Dried rice noodles: Bun Quay asks for chewy rice noodles, so you will have a more authentic experience with dried noodles that are cooked in the broth rather than using fresh rice noodles.
  • Lemongrass: For flavoring Bun Quay broth and removing the odor of shrimp.
  • Shallots: For flavoring the shrimp paste and fish paste.
  • Chili peppers: For garnishing the dish and making the dipping sauce.
  • Olive oil: For sautéing the ingredients for Bun Quay broth and cooking the rice noodles.
  • Side vegetables: Bun Quay often goes with lettuce, bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, etc.
  • Spices and condiments: The shrimp and fish paste need ground pepper, red pepper powder, and soup powder. The broth needs sugar, salt, and soup powder.

The dipping sauce needs calamansi juice, sugar, salt, and soup powder. It is made at the end of the Bun Quay preparation, right before serving.

How Can I Prepare Bun Quay at Home?

The main steps of making Vietnamese Bun Quay from scratch consist of preparing the ingredients, making the shrimp paste and fish paste, preparing the broth, cooking the shrimp paste and fish paste, boiling the noodles and squids, and arranging the ingredients in the bowl.

That may sound a little complicated, but read on, and you will find out that it is no big deal!

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Rinse the vegetables and let them drain.

Finely chop the shallots.

Cut the lemongrass stalks in half. Chop the fleshy parts. Bash the rest with the blade of your knife.

Finely Chop the Shallots

Remove the heads of the shrimp before peeling them. But don’t throw away the heads and shells: they are the ingredients for making Bun Quay.

For each squid, slice it as if you were prepping it for squid rings, but only move the knife half the way down or so. Making such cuts improves the presentation of the dish.

Remove the Heads Shrimp

Step 2: Make the Shrimp Paste

Pound the shrimp finely with a mortar and pestle. Add pepper powder, ground pepper, soup powder, and half the shallots. Continue pounding until well blended.

Make the Shrimp Paste
Pound the Shrimp

Cover and refrigerate the shrimp paste.

Step 3: Make the Fish Paste

In a bowl, add ground fish, red pepper powder, ground pepper, soup powder, and the remaining shallots.

Make the Fish Paste

Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water.

Put on a pair of plastic gloves, and mix the fish paste for 1 – 2 minutes.

Dip your fingers in the salt water, then use them to mix the fish paste for 20 seconds. Repeat the process for 3 – 5 minutes. This step improves the consistency of the fish paste, preventing it from breaking apart when cooked.

Improves the Consistency of the Fish Paste

Cover and refrigerate the fish paste.

Step 4: Prepare the Broth

Sauté lemongrass in oil. Add the shrimp heads and shells. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes.

Add pork bone broth and cook on low heat for 12 – 15 minutes.

Add the Shrimp Heads and Shells

Occasionally scoop out the white scum on top.

Scoop Out the White Scum

Remove the lemongrass and shrimp heads.

Remove the Lemongrass and Shrimp Heads

Add sugar, soup powder, and salt.

Add Sugar Soup Powder and Salt

Step 5: Cook the Shrimp and Fish Paste

Get the shrimp paste and fish paste out. Use a spoon to coat the inside of a serving bowl with them in a ring-like shape. The ring should be half shrimp paste and half fish paste. Don’t make an overly thick layer.

Cook the Shrimp and Fish Paste

While Bun Quay broth is piping hot, add the boiling broth into the bowl until it covers the shrimp and fish paste. Cover the bowl for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the Boiling Broth into the Bowl

Return the broth to the stock pot and repeat the process.

Return the Broth to the Stock Pot

Step 6: Boil the Rice Noodles and Squids

Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions on the package. My method is to add the rice noodles to boiling water along with a teaspoon of cooking oil and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

Cook the Rice Noodles

Remove the rice noodles. Add the squid and boil for 3 – 5 minutes. After that, transfer the squids to cold water to keep them crunchy.

Remove the Rice Noodles

Step 7: Complete the Dish

Add the rice noodles to the bowl. Pour hot broth into it. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, chili peppers, and ground pepper.

Make the dipping sauce by mixing calamansi juice, salt, soup powder, chili peppers, and sugar.

Make the Dipping Sauce

Stir the broth to get the fish paste and shrimp paste out of the bowl’s sides. Dip it in the sauce and enjoy!

Enjoy Bun Quay

I’ve shown you a few tips to prepare Bun Quay perfectly, but there are still more to come.

What Tips and Tricks Can I Apply to Prepare Bun Quay?

These tips and tricks will make your Bun Quay taste better: refraining from making Bun Quay broth too savory, changing the amount of spices, pairing Bun Quay with sugarcane juice, and making the dipping sauce correctly.

I will also mention the ways of storing and reheating Bun Quay and what similar Vietnamese dishes you can try.

  • Don’t over-season the broth: The broth of Bun Quay has to be light and imbued with the sweetness of seafood, so adding too many condiments will overwhelm that flavor. In addition, the sauce is already very savory, so there is no need to make the broth that way.
  • Adjust the seasoning to your liking: Bun Quay is a balanced mix of spiciness, tartness, sweetness, and savoriness, but feel free to play up one flavor above the rest. For example, many people like their Bun Quay to be extra spicy.
  • Pair it with sugarcane juice: Locals in Phu Quoc usually enjoy Bun Quay with iced sugarcane juice, which is a combo worth trying. You can also add calamansi juice to the drink to improve its flavor.
  • Make the dipping sauce properly: The sauce must be made with pure calamansi juice and not diluted with water. Add enough juice to dissolve sugar and water, then stir it well to create a viscous sauce.

Don’t forget to prepare the dipping sauce just before serving the noodle soup. It is more difficult to store and reheat than the rest of Bun Quay.

How To Store and Reheat Bun Quay?

Bun Quay is ideal for long-term storing and reheating as long as you keep the broth and the other ingredients separately. It can stay good for 2 – 3 days in the fridge and 2 – 3 months in the freezer.

Due to the unique way of preparing the fish paste and shrimp paste for Bun Quay, you should store them in their raw forms and cook them when serving. Don’t freeze rice noodles; instead, prepare a new batch to eat with the reheated broth and seafood.

How to reheat Bun Quay? The most convenient way is to cook on the stovetop. Refrigerated rice noodles can also be reheated this way. It is the same thing as with other Vietnamese noodle soup dishes.

What Are Other Suggestions for Similar Vietnamese Dishes?

Besides Bun Quay, you can try the following 5 Vietnamese dishes for more experiences with Vietnamese noodle soups. They use seafood like Bun Quay.

You Can Eat Tasty Bun Quay Without Visiting Phu Quoc!

By making Bun Quay at home, you can bring a part of the tropical paradise Phu Quoc to your home. It showcases the seafood bounty of the island and delivers it to you in an interesting preparation method. Enjoy it, and picture the sun-kissed beaches bathed in sea winds!

As you now know how to prepare and serve Bun Mam from A to Z, do you plan to use it soon? Share this Bun Quay recipe with your friends; they may need more Vietnamese noodle soups in their life! Don’t hesitate to tell me any great tip you discover or question about it.

Bun Quay

Vietnamese Quick-Stirred Seafood Noodle Soup (Bún Quậy)

Vietnamese quick-stirred seafood noodle soup is a tasty dish that seafood lovers can’t ignore. Learning how to cook it is fun: I promise it is easier than it looks!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main dish
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bun quay, Vietnamese Quick-Stirred Seafood Noodle Soup
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 409kcal

Ingredients

Seafood

  • 1.1 pounds (500 grams) Asian tiger shrimp
  • 7.05 ounces (200 grams) ground bronze featherback
  • 1.32 pounds (600 grams) squids

Rice noodles, vegetables, and broth

  • 3 liters broth
  • 3.53 ounces (100 grams) dried rice noodles
  • 7.05 ounces (200 grams) fresh vegetables: lettuce, bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, etc.
  • 2 chili peppers
  • 0.88 ounce (25 grams) shallots
  • 4 lemongrass stalks

Condiments for the seafood

  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper powder
  • 2 teaspoons soup powder

Condiments for the broth

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons soup powder

Condiments for the sauce:

  • 2 calamansi fruits
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons soup powder
  • 2 chili peppers

Instructions 

  • Rinse the vegetables and let them drain.
  • Finely chop the shallots.
  • Cut the lemongrass stalks in half. Slice the fleshy parts. Bash the rest with the blade of your knife.
    Finely Chop the Shallots
  • Remove the heads of the shrimp. Peel the shrimp.
  • Make crosswise cuts on each squid.
    Remove the Heads Shrimp
  • Pound the shrimp finely with a mortar and pestle. Add red pepper powder, ground pepper, soup powder, and half the shallots.
    Pound the Shrimp
  • Continue pounding until well blended. Cover and refrigerate the shrimp paste.
  • In a bowl, add ground fish, red pepper powder, ground pepper, soup powder, and the remaining shallots.
    Make the Fish Paste
  • Put on a pair of plastic gloves, and mix the fish paste for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Dip your fingers in the salt water, then use them to mix the fish paste for 20 seconds. Repeat the process and prepare the fish paste like this for 3 – 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate the fish paste.
    Improves the Consistency of the Fish Paste
  • Sauté lemongrass in oil. Add the shrimp heads and shells. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Add pork bone broth and cook on low heat for 12 – 15 minutes.
    Add the Shrimp Heads and Shells
  • Occasionally scoop out the white scum on top.
    Scoop Out the White Scum
  • Take out the lemongrass and shrimp parts.
    Remove the Lemongrass and Shrimp Heads
  • Add sugar, soup powder, and salt.
    Add Sugar Soup Powder and Salt
  • Get the shrimp paste and fish paste out. Use a spoon to coat the inside of a serving bowl with them in a ring-like shape.
    Cook the Shrimp and Fish Paste
  • Make sure that the Bun Quay broth is piping hot. Add the boiling broth into the bowl until it covers the shrimp and fish paste. Cover the bowl for 2 – 3 minutes.
    Add the Boiling Broth into the Bowl
  • Return the broth to the stock pot and repeat the process.
    Return the Broth to the Stock Pot
  • Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions on the package, or add them to boiling water along with a teaspoon of cooking oil and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
    Cook the Rice Noodles
  • Remove the rice noodles. Add the squids and boil for 3 – 5 minutes. Transfer the squids to cold water.
    Remove the Rice Noodles
  • Add the rice noodles to the bowl. Pour hot broth into it. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, chili peppers, and ground pepper.
  • Make the dipping sauce by mixing calamansi juice, salt, soup powder, minced or sliced chili peppers, and sugar.
    Make the Dipping Sauce
  • Stir the broth to get the fish paste and shrimp paste out of the bowl’s sides. Enjoy!
    Enjoy Bun Quay

Video

Notes

  • The time and instructions are for preparing 4 servings.
  • Don’t make the broth too salty; focus on the dipping sauce, instead.
  • Feel free to adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Pair Bun Quay with sugarcane juice.
  • Make the dipping sauce with pure calamansi juice and ensure that it has a viscous texture.

Nutrition

Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 506mg | Sodium: 6128mg | Potassium: 691mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 2426IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 3mg
Richie

Richie

Content Writer

Expertise

Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Food Styling, Food Photography, Cooking-video Maker, Beverage Evaluation Expert

Education

Saigon Culinary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • Program: Diploma in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Vietnamese and Asian cuisines with intensive training and hands-on approach.

Vietnam Australia Vocational School (VAAC), Hanoi, Vietnam

  • Program: Bartender
  • Focus: Basic knowledge on how to store, preserve and select ingredients, and practice cocktails, mocktails, hot and cold drinks.

Richie, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is a dynamic Content Writer with a talent for capturing the essence of culinary art.

Richie specializes in creating visually appealing and tasty content, offering a new angle on Vietnamese and other culinary traditions. With a background in graphic design and a love for food styling and photography, he expertly combines beauty with food narratives, encouraging his audience to discover the culinary world through his imaginative perspective.

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