Vietnamese Fried Fish Cake Soup - Bun Cha Ca

  • Post by Ang Cooks
  • Aug 16, 2021


For the broth:

  • 2.7 lb salmon head (cleaned)
  • 2 shallots (whole)
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 medium rock sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks
  • 3 whole fresh bamboo shoots (sliced)
  • 3 tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1/2 lb cabbage
  • 1/2 lb butternut squash

To season:

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 tbsp MSG
  • 1 tbsp mushroom seasoning
  • 1 tbsp annatto seed oil (optional for color)

To serve:

  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • thai peppers
  • thin vermicelli noodles
  • fried fish cakes


  1. Bring a 6 qt pot of water to boil. Parboil your salmon heads once the water boils for 5 minutes. Drain, clean, and set the salmon heads aside.

  2. Clean the 6 qt pot and refill with clean water 3/4 full. Bring it to the stove over medium-high heat and wait for the water to boil.

  3. Once boiling, add your parboiled salmon heads, 2 shallots, 2 slices of ginger, 1 tbsp salt, and 1 medium rock sugar. Remove any impurities that float to the top and discard. Lower the heat to simmer and simmer for 45 minutes.

  4. In the meantime, prep all your vegetables. Cut your butternut squash into bite-size cubes. Slice your cabbage into bite size pieces. Slice your bamboo shoots into thin strips. Slice your tomatoes into quarters. Fry your fish cakes if needed in a separate pan until golden and crispy.

  5. After 45 minutes of simmer, use a mesh strainer to remove the bones, garlic, and shallots from the broth and discard.

  6. Add bamboo, tomato, and pineapple chunks to the broth. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

  7. Add your cabbage and butternut squash. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

  8. Season the soup with 3 tbsp fish sauce, 1/2 tbsp sugar, 1/3 tbsp MSG, 1 tbsp mushroom seasoning, and 1 tbsp annatto seed oil. Taste and adjust.

  9. Assemble each noodle bowl with vermicelli noodles, broth, and fish cakes. Garnish with green onions and cilantro.