A Food Lover's Travel Guide to the Best of Vietnamese Food

Banh Canh Cha Ca

Fish cake soup

Bánh canh chả cá is a clear broth soup with slices of fishcake and tapioca noodles. The peppery fishcake is light, but the large glutinous noodles fill you up. Common fish used to make the fishcake include: catfish, tilapia, cod, barracuda, snakehead, and lizard fish. The fish cakes are either fried or steamed. You may find restaurants advertising banh canh cha ca Nha Trang. This simply means the fish used to make the cha ca is from Nha Trang, a popular seaside city in Vietnam that's famous for it's seafood.

Where To Find It:

Ho Chi Minh City
Quán Bánh Canh Chả Cá Quy Nhơn - 529/73, Huỳnh Văn Bánh
banh canh cha ca or fishcake soup



  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • annatto seeds
  • 2 lbs pork bones
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • fish sauce
  • 1 lbs fish cake
  • spring onion (chopped)
  • Vietnamese coriander (or substitute equal parts mint and cilantro)


  1. Mix boiling water, rice flour, tapioca starch, and salt in a bowl. Kneed it into a large lump. Cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. After sprinkling flour onto your work surface, roll the dough flat until it's 1/4 inch thick then cut it into 3 inch long strips.
  3. Heat vegetable oil and add annatto seeds. Fry for 30 seconds or until oil turns red. Save the oil but discard the seeds.
  4. Place pork bones in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Dump the water and wash the bones in cold water. In a clean pot, add bones, onion, and salt, then fill with water. Cook on medium-high heat for 1 hour, occasionally skimming off the scum. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and fish sauce.
  5. Add the noodles and cook until they're soft but not mushy. Add fish cakes and oil then transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with spring onion and .