Sup Mang Cua Vietnamese Asparagus Crab Soup

sup mang cua

It’s been really cold and rainy lately in Southern California so it was a perfect time to make some comforting Vietnamese asparagus and crab soup (sup mang cua). Luckily for us, it’s dungeness crab season and even luckier because Krissy and Daniel from The Food Addicts (a great blog!) joined us to make it. The dungeness crabs were only $3/lb so we dry baked and broke down several crabs for some sweet and moist crab meat.

Asparagus was introduced to Vietnam by the French and since the shoots resemble bamboo shoots (mang), Vietnamese call asparagus “mang tay” or western bamboo. Most of the time the “tay” is drop from the name of the soup. Sup mang cua has a slightly thick, silky texture and combines the sweet and succulent flavors of crab and beautiful white asparagus. Most Vietnamese soups (canh) are designed to be eaten with rice as part of a meal but this soup is typically serve as a first course in wedding dinner banquets or celebrations and is great on it’s own because it’s pretty hearty with all the fixings in it. In addition to the crab and asparagus other common ingredients include sliced young bamboo shoots, shitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms, corn, shark fin, and quail eggs.

Sup Mang Cua – Vietnamese Asparagus and Crab Soup
Printable Recipe

  • 12 cups of chicken stock or pork broth (see recipe below)
  • 1 16 oz can of white asparagus (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces on the diagonal)
  • 1.5 lb of crab meat (cooked–fresh or frozen/canned)
  • 12 boiled quail eggs or can of cooked quail eggs
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 ts salt
  • sugar
  • 1 cup of cold water and 3 tablespoons of tapioca starch or corn starch
  • chopped green onion and cilantro
  • white pepper
sup mang cua

Boil quail eggs for about 8-10 minutes and set aside to cool in water bath. Peel the quail eggs under running water, starting with the fat end. Unlike chicken eggs, you have to be more gentle and be careful not to break these delicate eggs.

In another separate bowl, lightly beaten the eggs and set aside.

Bring the broth to boil and add the crab meat, asparagus, quail eggs in the broth. Using a ladle, swirl the soup in a circular pattern and slowly add the beaten egg into the soup–turn the heat down to low heat.

In a separate bowl, dissolve 3 tablespoons of corn starch in 1 cup of water.

Now add the thickening mixture a tablespoon at a time allowing a few minutes in between to allow the soup to thicken. Some like it really thick and others just slightly, so start with a few tablespoons and go from there. If you over thicken, you can always add more stock. Finally season to taste fish sauce, salt, and pinch of sugar.

Serve with chopped green onion/cilantro and fresh ground pepper.

Pork broth

4 pounds of pork spareribs
12 cups of water

This is just a rough generic recipe for all of our pork based soups on the site. In a large pot, put pork spareribs with water and bring to boil then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 1.5 hours. Skim off the scum of fat while simmering. Bones can be discarded and the pot of broth can be left to cool. Remove excess hardened fat from the top surface.

sup mang cua

If you opt for the shortcut chicken broth method, this soup can be made in less than half an hour. During the cold and wet afternoon–we enjoyed the sup mang cua with warm conversation and good company of The Food Addicts. This is what food and cooking is all about.

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29 Responses to “Sup Mang Cua Vietnamese Asparagus Crab Soup”

  1. 1

    KennyT — December 16, 2009 @ 8:53 pm

    I'll love this soup coz you added quail eggs!

  2. 2

    Ravenous Couple — December 16, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

    KennyT: The quail eggs are flavorful and delicate part of this dish.

  3. 3

    Fresh Local and Best — December 17, 2009 @ 12:14 am

    This looks like such a warm and savory soup. It's richness is so unique because of each of the wonderfully delicate ingredients. Indeed, this year has been a particularly good harvest for dungeness crabs in California, which have been exceptionally meaty and sweet. You'd be hard pressed to find dungeness crabs for $3lb in other parts of the nation. I wish we could all be so lucky!

  4. 4

    Ravenous Couple — December 17, 2009 @ 12:21 am

    FLB: $3 is a bargain here in California, but in Seattle, it's even cheaper! Dinner during this time of year consisted of 1 crab per person! :)

  5. 5

    bagnatic — December 17, 2009 @ 2:20 am

    the soup looks really delicious and is perfect for this kind of weather. dungeness crab, yum! i need to link you to my blog. your recipes will stir me into cooking action one of these days…. :)

  6. 6

    Ju (The Little Teochew) — December 17, 2009 @ 5:34 am

    I suppose I can always sub the asparagus for another veggie if I can't get it? Beautiful soup! With crab meat? Quails eggs? Brilliant! It looks so hearty!

  7. 7

    Jessica@Foodmayhem — December 17, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

    Very jealous that you can get dungeness crab for $3/lb there, but even more jealous that I didn't get to cook with you. Such an elegant soup, making perfect sense for a wedding. Let me know if you guys are ever in NY. Would love to cook together!

  8. 8

    5 Star Foodie — December 17, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

    Wow, this soup sounds outstanding with dungeness crab and quail eggs, yum!

  9. 9

    Ravenous Couple — December 17, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

    bagnatic: the weather's been so cold so we've been soupin' it up!

    Ju: Definitely, you can substitute or add as desired.

    Jessica: that's so nice of you…we'll be lucky to share your kitchen one day!

    5 star foodie: with this sale, we're making more crab dishes–more to come!

  10. 10

    Krissy @ The Food Addicts — December 17, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

    We were so lucky to learn from The Ravenous Couple how to make soup man cua! I can't wait to make a huge batch for my family Christmas party. Thanks again for the lesson, your company, the tour of your lovely home, and of course, enjoying the hot soup while listening to the rain pour down outside. Hope to see you guys again soon!!!

  11. 11

    Joy — December 17, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

    Yummy! I love quail eggs :) I can't believe you get crab for so cheap mmm dungeness is the best thanks for sharing this, I usually order this soup when I go out to eat!

  12. 12

    Jen — December 17, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

    Wow, this looks fantastic! When you say you "dry baked and then broke down" does that mean you just put the live crabs in the oven? Sorry, I have no experience with crabs at all! I think my mom used to boil them.

  13. 13

    Ravenous Couple — December 18, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

    Krissy: it was so much fun having you guys over.. we'll definitely have to do it again! Thanks again for the persimmons..made a tart out of it!

    Joy: It's one of the benefits of living on the coast, along w/ earthquakess :)

    jen: sorry if we weren't clear…actually not in the oven but in a large pot or wok…just with a bit–meaning few tablespoons of water–we don't like to boil it because we feel the sweetness is loss and if you over cook it, water gets into the crab and it gets soggy and meat not as firm. check out RM post on crab

  14. 14

    Tricerapops — December 19, 2009 @ 11:10 am

    i've been in a funk re: soups to whip up (as the weather was crappy a week or so ago) – and this was a great reminder of a soup i love. the sleeper hit for me are the quail eggs. love those. i came back from a trip for work to 80 degree heat today however, so will need to put this aside for a few days or so =).

  15. 15

    pigpigscorner — December 19, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

    Very comforting! Crabs and quail eggs…delicious!

  16. 16

    Ravenous Couple — December 19, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

    Tricerapops: Even though it's relatively sunny, it's still pretty cold and so we're sure there will more days for a good warm bowl of sup mang cua.

    pigpigscorner: asparagus and crab soup is very comforting!

  17. 17

    tigerfish — December 19, 2009 @ 11:50 pm

    I never try such a soup before but it sounds very yummy from the ingredients used.

  18. 18

    3 hungry tummies — December 21, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

    Wow this looks so delicious! I bet it is really clean tasting too! well done

  19. 19

    Sarah the Bear — January 6, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

    Hey Guys! this soup looks amazing! I can't wait to get my hands on some quail eggs. They are so cute! I love all the recipes and happy cooking in 2010!

  20. 20

    Jenny — September 29, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

    The printable recipe says 6 cups of chicken stock while the website says 12 cups. Which one should I follow? Thanks, I can’t wait to make this soup!

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — September 29th, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

      oops, prob typo in the printable recipe. 6 cups would be pretty small, use 12, hope it goes well!

  21. 21

    Jenny — September 30, 2011 @ 6:03 am

    That’s what I was thinking since all your other soup recipes are 12 cups, not 6, but thought I’d double check. Thank you for such a quick response, I made this last night for a dinner party and everyone loved it!

  22. 22

    Tran — November 4, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

    November 4,2011Hi friend today is raining day for Los Angeles after read your soup I will cook tonight after work I very like this soup but never cook wiht egg like the way you cook and I will cook for this Thanks Given dinner, thank you for this receipt. Have a nice day.

  23. 23

    Daisy — February 20, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

    To make pork broth, should I parboil the pork spare ribs first ?
    Do I need to add any other ingredients in broth to make more flavor?

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — February 21st, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

      we don’t par boil, we just boil it with some onions, shallots, and skim any residue that comes up.

  24. 24

    Huong — January 6, 2013 @ 11:14 am

    Just bought 1 lb of crabmeat for $15! Yikes. Wish I lived near the coast.

  25. 25

    JulieKim — March 19, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

    Hi! First off i just wanted to say i love reading your blog. Sometimes i want to make this soup for certain events like potlucks but i dont always have the time to make the broth. What’s the best way to make this soup using the short cut chicken broth method you had mentioned. it is just with the swanson chicken broth orrrr…?

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — March 20th, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

      yup, just use good brand chicken broth as a shortcut

  26. 26

    JennyLV — March 2, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

    Wonderful! Made it tonight for the family and they *loved* it! Used chicken broth, so it was super easy yet very flavorful. Thank you for the recipe!

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