Bún Bề Bề Hải Phòng
(Hải Phòng Seafood Noodle Soup with Mentis Shrimps)
Mantis shrimp, sometimes known as sea locusts, are abundant and used in a variety of cuisines around the world. Mantis shrimp populations are especially dense off the coast of Việt Nam. The mantis shrimp is not in danger, however, in Hawaii, mantis shrimp have grown to unnaturally large sizes in the contaminated water of artificial waterways.
Around 450 different species of mantis shrimp have been discovered all over the world, and they come in a wide range of colours. They grow to be about 10 cm long on average, with some reaching 30 cm, and have so many legs that they look very much like a heavily armoured caterpillar.
In Việt Nam it’s known in Việtnamese as “bề bề” or “tôm tít.” In regions such as Nha Trang, they are called “bàn chải,” named for their resemblance to a scrub brush.
The mantis shrimp can be steamed, boiled, grilled, fried, or dried. Every region has its preferred method of preparing this delicacy, but Quảng Ninh province’s mantis shrimp noodle soup and hotpot is distinctive and stands out from the rest of the country.
The mantis shrimp noodle soup is thought to have originated in Hạ Long city, although it is now available in a variety of locations including Hải Phòng, Nha Trang, Vũng Tàu, Cần Thơ, Hà Nội, and Sài Gòn. The noodle soup is either a modification of the local seafood noodle soup by focusing only on mantis shrimps or the common bún riêu (crab vermicelli soup) by adding mantis shrimps.
Fried fish, boiled mantis shrimps, squid, crab meat, and chopped herbs are popular ingredients in a bowl of Hải Phòng seafood noodle soup, which combine perfectly with the well-cooked flavourful pork bone broth.