• The Broth

4 L / 42 US cups chicken and pork stock

0.8 jars fermented fish (or 1 for first timers)

0.4 stalk lemongrass

36 g / 0.2 lb rock sugar (or to taste)

0.4 tbsp chicken bouillon powder

0.4 tsp salt (or to taste)

The Lemongrass Blend

1.6 stalks lemongrass

2 cloves garlic

chili (optional)

2 tbsp cooking oil

    • The Toppings and Noodles


Cooked prawns


Pangasius (recommended) or any fish to your liking

Crackling pork

Thick rice noodles (bún)

Water (for boiling the noodles and soaking the eggplant)

0.4 tsp salt (for soaking the eggplants)

The stuffed chili

Seasoned fish paste

Large chili

0.8 tbsp cooking oil (add more if pan is too dry while cooking)

    • The garnish


Purple cabbage

Bean sprouts

Chinese celery

Garlic chives


Fresh chili (optional)

    • The Broth
  1. Divide the lemongrass into 10cm (4″) segments and smash them until split.
  2. Heat up a pot on medium and pour the fermented fish, adding the smashed lemongrass. Cook everything until it becomes a paste.
  3. Turn the heat up for the pot and sift the cooked paste in by pouring ladles of broth through the sieve.
  4. Continue sifting in batches until the bones are white, then discard them.
  5. Season the Bun Mam soup with rock sugar, chicken bouillon powder and salt.
    • The Lemongrass Blend
  1. Cut the lemongrass into smaller chunks (roughly 1cm/0.4″ long) for the food processor. If you’re not using a food processor, finely chop the lemongrass.
  2. Blitz the lemongrass until fine and finely chop the garlic and chilis.
  3. Heat up a small pot on low-medium heat and pour the oil in. Cook the garlic, chili, lemongrass and chicken bouillon powder until golden.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the lemongrass blend to the soup broth for added flavor and save the remaining lemongrass as a garnish.

Tip: If you find the lemongrass to be too dry, add 1 tbsp oil at a time as it browns.

    • How To Prepare The Squid
  1. Slice the squid from top to bottom in the center. Do not cut all the way through.
  2. Open the squid up using the newly formed cut and pull to remove the hard pen (a squid’s internal support) along with the rest of the the insides.
  3. Discard the pen and remove the ink sac by cutting it off.
  4. Run the knife over the body of the opened squid to scrape off the loose membrane.
  5. Lightly score the squid by making thin slits in a cross-hatch pattern.
  6. Slice the squid into 1cm (0.4″) segments then plate.
    • The Stuffed Chili
  1. Run a knife from the top of the chili to the bottom to make a long cut. Use a teaspoon to hollow it out, removing any seeds.

Note: If you like your food spicy, you can leave the seeds in there.

  1. Use a teaspoon to stuff the chilis until full.
  2. Pour the oil into a heated pan on medium heat and cook the chilis for 5 minutes on each side or until the filling is cooked.
    • The Noodles and Toppings
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles for 10 minutes or until al dente. Make sure to stir the noodles to stop any from sticking to the pot.
  2. Drain and run under cold water until completely cool, then set aside in a colander to drip dry.
  3. Prepare the toppings by slicing the fish and crackling pork and deshelling the prawns.
  4. Cut the eggplant into chunks and sit them in water with 1 tsp salt to slow down the browning process.
    • Serving The Dish
  1. Bring the Bun Mam broth back to a boil and add the eggplants in to soften, then wash and slice the fresh garnish.
  2. Cook the seafood in the broth.
  3. Assemble your bowl with noodles, seafood, crackling pork, eggplant, stuffed chili, fresh garnish, lemongrass and a squeeze of lime juice!