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Canh Chua – Discover this popular Vietnamese Dish [with Recipe]

Vietnam is well-known for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s an important city to visit like Hanoi, with attractive culture, friendly people, or delectable food, there’s something for everyone. In upcoming years Vietnam is getting known more for its beautiful tourist spots and, of course, the delicious food. Canh Chua is a soup beloved by the citizens and eaten with gusty all over the country.

Everyone around the globe has heard and had one of Vietnam’s most famous dishes called Pho, and it is time to add another flavor to that list of a dish well-loved in the country called Canh Chua Ca. Vietnamese food is significant in their religion, festivals, and creating a balance in their lives. Here is all you need to know about Vietnamese Canh Chua Ca!



Canh Chua Origin and Curiosities

Canh Chua, also known as Vietnamese Sour Soup in English, is an iconic Vietnamese household soup that gets treasured by everyone who resides in the beautiful nation. Many people are unaware that this exquisite dish is a traditional dinner in Vietnamese cuisine, originating in the southern Vietnam region known as the Mekong Delta.

This simple-looking soup is an essential part of the menu during the festival season. The title “Sour Soup” can be perplexing and confusing when you have a taste of this soup because this broth can taste sweet too. Though, when you slurp the soup, four different flavors will dance in your mouth- Sour, Salty, Sweet, and Spicy.

Tamarind is mixed to the broth to give a tease of sourness and gets tempered by adding pineapple to deliver a sweet taste hence also known as the name “Sweet and Sour Soup.” The seafood—Shrimp, Eel Prawns, Snakeheads, Salmon, Catfish steaks, and so on—is the major attraction of this meal.

Those are not the only stuff added; Canh Cua contains Okra, Tomatoes, Bamboo sticks, Elephant ear stalks, Fresh herbs, Meat, and Bean sprouts. There is not one recipe available for Vietnamese Canh Chua; various household has their own recipe for cooking this soup. Likewise, there are many forms of this soup that can get found; the only differing thing is the vegetables used.



Canh Chua Vs Sinigang

Like Canh Chua, Sinigang is also a Sweet and Sour Savory soup; however, while the former originates from Vietnam, the latter represents Filipino cuisine. This meal got characterized as “most emblematic of Filipino flavor” in the Philippines. It is undoubtedly a killer dish.

Sinigang refers to “Stew dish” in English, and it is a Sour soup similar to Canh Cua, but with notable differences. In contrast to Vietnamese cuisine, which is predominantly composed of seafood, the main ingredient in the Philippines Sinigang is pork. However, there may be a few similarities; the trademark flavor of Sinigang got similarly derived from blending tamarind, and Okra is added, as in Canh Cua.

Just though they have a similar flavor does not imply that they get prepared in the same manner. Unlike the Vietnamese, who use tamarind for the sour taste and pineapple for sweetness, Filipinos take it a step further and add a variety of acidic fruit substitutes for tamarind to improve the flavor.

In place of tamarind, unripe mango, lemon, strawberry, guava, kalamansi (citrus fruit in the Philippines), and other fruits can get used. Sinigang is typically prepared with long green peppers to provide some heat, and some may also use Miso paste. Serve it on its own or with steamed rice.




Banh Canh Cua Tom

Banh Canh Chua Tom loosely translated to Shrimp and Crab Soup. Vietnamese Canh Chua Tom, just like any other, is a soup included in the many delectable delicacies of the country. Because of their similar names and the fact that they are both soups, Canh Chua and Canh Chua Tom may cause confusion.

The main element in both of these recipes is seafood; however, crabs or shrimp are the main ingredients in Banh Canh Chua Tom. The primary difference between these two delightful broths is that, while Canh Chua is sour and sweet in flavor, Banh Cahn Chua Tom broths include chicken broth, Banh Cahn noodles, and fresh crab, all of which are mixed into the broth to create a powerful and rich flavor.

Vietnamese Banh Cua is a type of thick noodles made of rice flour and tapioca that is similar to udon noodles. Along with any choice of seafood, these noodles are added to the cooking process to enhance the taste. Unlike Canh Chua, the broth of this soup is thick, and with the chewy texture of Banh Cahn noodles, a party of flavors is sure to dance in your mouth.

The ingredients needed to prepare this broth are easy to find. Canh Chua requires quite a list of ingredients, the other star of the cuisine has a shorter checklist of ingredients. Fresh shrimps, crab meat, Banh Canh noodles, fish sauce, annatto oil, Thai basil, green onions, cilantro, and bean sprouts are all you need. If you like to do it the old-fashioned way, add a few drops of lemon for a tinge of sourness.

The names may be different as well as the ingredients, but one thing is for sure, Vietnamese Canh Chua and Banh Canh Chua Tom have a taste that will make you remember them for a long time and lead you to dig more into Vietnam cuisines.




Canh Chua Recipe

After hearing about the rave about this dish, everyone would like to enjoy this soup during lunch or dinner. All of you are aware of Pho; now it is time to another delicacy of Vietnam.

Going out to restaurants may be inconvenient and not always economical for some people, but don’t worry; Canh Chua is a simple meal to prepare, using ingredients that can be purchased cheaply or found in a person’s refrigerator. Here are all the ingredients you need to make one of the easiest soups, Canh Chua, and the steps to cook.



  • 500 grams of Catfish steaks (Salmon, Eel, Snakehead can also get added as preferred)
  • 2tbp of vegetable oil
  • 2-4 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1-3 fresh hot chilies, finely chopped.
  • 1 peeled elephant ear stalk, 1/3 inch thick, or substitute with celery
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • 8 liters (8 cups) of water
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 garlic; minced
  • 5-6 okras (ladyfingers)
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste or powder
  • 1-2 cup bean sprouts
  • 8 Thai basils (leaves removed)
  • 5 cups of diced pineapple
  • Bamboo sticks- to taste
  • Scallions- as preferred.
  • Rice paddy herb



Cutting and Marinating

  1. Marinate your preferred seafood on both sides with fish sauce, salt, chili powder, and leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  2. Peel the core of the pineapple and cut it into bite-size pieces.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into wedges.
  4. Cut the elephant ear stalk stem into little pieces after peeling it.
  5. Cut the okras slightly diagonal.
  6. Chop the leaves of rice paddy herb and cut them into tiny pieces.



  1. Take a soup pot, add vegetable oil, and set the temperature to medium-high until the oil gets hot.
  2. Throw minced garlic and cook it until golden brown.
  3. After the garlic gets done, add 8 cups of water and wait 30 seconds.
  4. Add the marinated seafood to the water and cook on low heat.
  5. Tamarind paste is next to go. Stain it directly into the water and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  6. After the time is up, mix in fish sauce, salt, sugar, and chicken powder and stir.
  7. Now add the already cut pineapple and let it cook for 3 minutes before adding tomatoes and elephant stalks or celery and turn off the heat.
  8. Stir for a while until the flavor gets mixed.
  9. The last is the most waited- serve Canh Chua in a bowl and relish the taste.



Garnish this sour and sweet soup with

  • Rice paddy herbs
  • Basils
  • Fried garlic
  • Bean sprouts
  • Fried Onions


Side Dishes

The Vietnamese meal is not complete until the entire table is full of dishes. Don’t separate the soup from the other meals; instead, make the experience of the savory soup ten times more enjoyable with these few side dishes. In Vietnam, this acidic cuisine gets enjoyed with a side of

  • Rice noodles
  • Steamed Jasmine rice.
  • Bowl of Rice
  • Ca Kho To (Braised fish in a clay pot)
  • Chicken, pork, or shrimp braised in a sauce.
  • Ramen
  • Fish sauce. Dip the seafood into this for some more piquant flavor.


Vietnamese Canh Chua soup has a sweet and salty flavor balance, with a taste of blended ingredients that melt into your tongue and a wonderful aroma. This smooth and thick soup will surely keep you wanting to have more and more. Enjoy this sweet and sour soup on cold late nights with family and friends because, as the Vietnamese say, the best way to appreciate Canh Chua is to savor it with your family.



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