Kuy Teav – Cambodian Pork and Seafood Noodle Soup

Kuy Teav is a Cambodian pork and seafood noodle soup, much like the Vietnamese Pho; in fact this dish is enjoyed in Vietnam, under the name Hu Tieu Nom Vang (“Phnom Penh Noodle Soup”). While I’m a huge fan of Pho (it’s in my cookbook), sometimes it’s a little too beefy for my tastes; Kuy Teav serves as an excellent break from the norm.

It’s believed that this dish originated among Chinese immigrants living in Cambodia, and later spread to the rest of the country. It’s also a popular breakfast meal. Like many Asian soups, there is no one way to prepare this dish. Feel free to experiment with all sorts of add-ins, including meat balls or any leftover meat you may have.

This dish sits firmly in the Perfect Health Diet spectrum of Paleo since it uses rice noodles, but feel free to use sweet potato noodles (or even zucchini noodles) instead. One of these days, I’ll help convince the Paleo world that rice is indeed Paleo, but until then, I’ll continue to use my favorite little hashtag: #teamwhiterice.

Kuy Teav (Cambodian Pork and Seafood Noodle Soup)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

2-3 lbs pork soup bones (or neck bones)
1 tbsp dried shrimp
1 tbsp fish sauce
salt and white pepper to taste

3 eggs, hardboiled
1 lb rice noodles or sweet potato noodles
1 lb ground pork
1 tbsp rice wine
1 tsp tamari or coconut aminos
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled

Garnishes (optional):
1 handful bean sprouts
1 handful cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp hot sauce (Sriracha, etc)
1 lime, sliced into wedges

1. In a stockpot, boil the pork bones for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse the bones and stockpot. Place the pork bones on a baking sheet, and broil in the oven until darkened and crispy, about 8 minutes. Return the bones to the stockpot and fill with enough water to cover the bones by at least 1″.

2. Add the dried shrimp to the pot. Simmer on low until the meat tears off the pork bones easily, about 2-3 hours. Be sure to skim any foam from the surface of the broth and replenish any water that evaporates. Alternatively, you can use a pressure cooker for this step, for 45 minutes to get the same effect. While the broth is cooking, hard-boil a few eggs and set aside.

3. Remove the bones from the broth, let cool for 5 minutes, then pull the meat from the bones and set aside. Discard the bones. Add the fish sauce to the broth, then taste it; add salt and pepper as needed until it tastes perfect. Keep it simmering on low as you prepare the rest of the meal.

4. Bring a separate pot of water to boil, and cook the noodles. If using rice noodles, cook for 30 seconds then drain and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch. If using sweet potato noodles, cook for 5 minutes then drain and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch.

5. Warm a skillet or wok over med/high heat, then add the ground pork. Break the pork into chunks, then add the wine, tamari, and honey. Pan-fry, stirring often and breaking up chunks, until cooked through and the liquid evaporates, about 7 minutes. Add in the pork bone meat and sesame oil at the end of cooking. Once the pork is cooked, set it aside.

6. Bring the broth to boil over med/high heat. Place the raw shrimp in a strainer, then dip the strainer into the simmering broth. Cook until pink, then set aside. Distribute the noodles into four bowls, and add the pork, cooked shrimp, and garnishes to each bowl. Ladle the broth into each bowl, then serve with whatever remaining garnishes you’d like. Don’t forget the hardboiled eggs from step #2!

** Dried shrimp is a key component to making a distinct, flavorful broth. We like to store ours in the fridge. Typically you’d soak them for 30 minutes in warm water (like reconstituting dried mushrooms), but since we’re boiling them in broth I eliminated that step.

** To save on time, you can use pre-made pork stock (you’ll need about 2 quarts). Bring it to a simmer, add the dried shrimp, and proceed directly to step #4.

** This dish can be enjoyed as a dry noodle dish, perfect for hot days. To do so, boil some rice vermicelli in water until soft, about 1 minute, then rinse in cool water. Prepare the ground pork like in step #5, and cook the shrimp like in step #6, but in water instead of broth. Distribute the vermicelli into four bowls and serve with all the other garnishes.

** Bean sprouts initially sound scary (legumes!), but I can’t find any solid evidence that they’re actually harmful to your digestive system in the same way that legumes are (thanks, lectins). And since sprouted legumes have significantly less lectins than regular legumes, it stands to reason that bean sprouts may have an insignificant amount of lectins. Again, this is just me using common sense, folks. If you have any evidence one way or the other, I’m all ears. Until then, I’m going to keep eating them since they don’t appear to give me any digestive distress.

21 thoughts on “Kuy Teav – Cambodian Pork and Seafood Noodle Soup

  1. I love Hu Tieu, too. In my place, it only takes 15 minutes to have a big delicious Hu Tieu (they also say it’s origin is Cambodia but I guess the recipes are a little bit different). I hope some day I can eat the original Hu Tieu Nam Vang in Cambodia :)


  2. Lovely presentation. Noodle soups are one of these comforting, warming and naturally gluten free dishes (as long as you the right noodles). It’s winter here in New Zealand and I have a basic noodle and vegetable soup for lunch. I should have ground pork and prawns though.


  3. Thanks for the great recipe! Few things are better than a great bowl of soup. For those of us who aren’t shrimp fans, what do you think you could use as a replacement while still maintaining the seafood vibe?


    1. If you aren’t completely opposed to somewhat-processed seafood, I recommend fish balls or surimi (false crabmeat made from fish), as both are commonplace additions in Viet-versions of hu tieu nam vang. :)


  4. I love Vietnamese food but I’ve never tried the Cambodian cuisine. This soup looks delicious. Thanks for sharing, I will definitely tried it out in the next couple of days:)


  5. This is one of my favorite noodle dishes! I love that you cover such a diverse spectrum of food in your book and on your blog. This is such a wonderful dish but I’ve only ever had the Vietnamese version. I would love to try my hand at the Cambodian original.

    For anyone having difficulty finding sweet potato noodles, my mom and dad use these cellophane noodles called “harasume” (seen here: http://1tess.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/potato-starch_9016.jpg). They are super chewy but I like the texture and an added bonus is all the resistant starch! On special occasions, my parents would use tiny quail eggs but they aren’t easy to find outside of specialty grocery stores.

    For garnish, bean sprouts are highly recommended. If they bring down the temperature of the soup too much, you can quickly blanch (5-10 seconds) and then add to your soup. The sprouts retain a nice crunch and your broth remains hot. The blanched bean sprouts are also a good sub for anyone looking to cut back on carbs. If you have pickled jalapenos, add them and a sprinkle of the pickling vinegar for heat & sour notes.


  6. This looks amazing, and as soon as I have all the ingredients I am going to make it. I am so glad you said that about the rice. I love eating Paleo, but without enough starchy carbs, I start feeling faint. Even if I’m not working out. Just the way my body works, I guess. But I would feel so guilty adding in rice (or quinoa, gasp) every once in a while. So, THANKS!


    1. Hi Jennifer, thanks for the comment! This whole Paleo thing is really individualized, so I agree that if you’re feeling lousy without carbs, you might need some carbs :) Our starch intake at the house varies – my wife eats less than my son and I, and it took us a while to figure out how it worked best for us.


    1. Just about any ground meat would do fine in place of the pork – chicken, turkey, beef…I would add a bit of extra fat to ground chicken and turkey since it’s so lean, maybe 1 tbsp of coconut oil. Good luck!


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