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Authentic Vietnamese Bun Mam - Fermented Fish Soup

This soup is quite complicated if at first but if you take time and read the instructions carefully, you will have such an exquisite pot of soup at the end of the process. So don't give up!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 4 people


  • Stockpot


Soup Base

  • 4 qt water
  • 1 lb mam ca linh
  • 1 lb mam ca sac
  • 2 stalks lemongrass smashed
  • 3 stalks rhizome smashed
  • Thai chilies as desired

Others Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork belly
  • 20 oz lemongrass minced
  • 3 medium eggplants cut into large pieces
  • vermicelli, large size as desired
  • octopus, fish fillet, shrimp cooked, as desired
  • beansprout, chives, mint, banana flower as desired


  • On medium heat, Mam Ca Linh and Mam Ca Sac with 1qt of water for 30 minutes until all the meat fallen of the bones. If you use cream style of these fermented fish, you should do this step too to make sure the soup is clean of lumps. After that, strain the liquid to a fine mesh. Combine this with 3qt of water in a big pot, lemongrass, rhizome (mashed) and Thai chilies. Bring the mixture to boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Cut pork belly in to small pieces, saute them in a medium pan with 10oz of lemongrass until the meat is half-cooked. Add pork in soup pot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Saute eggplants with another 10oz of chopped lemongrass for 5 minutes. Add these in the pot and cook for 15 minute on medium heat. Lower the heat to the lowest level while preparing seafood ingredients.
  • In a medium pot, boil vermicelli and seafood then set aside. Serve soup with veggie on the side