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Vietnamese Asparagus Crab Soup (Sup Mang Tay Cua) Recipe



  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 2 lbs pork bones
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 shallots or scallions, chopped (only the white part)
  • 1/2 lb crabmeat (canned, frozen or fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (15 ounc) can white canned asparagus, undrained (or fresh ones white or green)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (Chinese parsley)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallion tops


Dissolve the cornstarch in the 2 tbsp of water. Set aside. Bring water to a boil and put the pork bones inches
Bring back to a boil, then cover and continue to boil the bones for 1 hour. Occasionaly skim the top.
Remove the bones from the stock and discard. Add the salt and the fish sauce to the stock.
Heat the oil in a wok and add the chopped garlic and shallots; add the crab meat and fry for 5 minutes over high heat.

Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper, stirring constantly, then add the crab meat mixture to the soup and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch-and-water mixture and stir for a few minutes. Break the egg open and drop it into the actively boiling soup while stirring.

Cook, still stirring, for about 2 minutes, then drop in the asparagus, along with the liquid from the can and the rest of the black pepper.Continue to cook until the asparagus is heated through. Sprinkle the cilantro and scallion green over the soup before serving. See glossary for recipe ingredients you’re not familiar with.

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