This Vietnamese Macaroni Soup with Pork Ribs (Sup Nui Suon Heo) is light yet filling and flavorful. It is great for breakfast as well as lunch.
So first, what is this Vietnamese macaroni soup? It is a clear soup made from simmering pork ribs, carrots, and daikon radish. Macaroni is added to make it more filling. The broth is light but has a lot of natural sweet and savory flavors from the ribs and root vegetables.
The Vietnamese name of the dish is súp nui sườn heo. It is a popular breakfast in Saigon, which is in the South of the country. I also eat it as a light lunch during the weekend when I don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I even think it is a great hangover soup :).
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The main ingredients for the broth are meaty pork ribs, carrots, and daikon radish. If you see a Vietnamese dish with daikon radish as an ingredient, it is highly likely that dish is from Southern cuisine. During our 20 years growing up in the North, we never ate or cooked with daikon radish.
To make the broth more flavorful, some Viet cooks also add several dried shrimps and cilantro roots. They are totally optional, so don’t worry if you don’t have them. Dried shrimps are usually only available at Asian grocery stores.
The next main ingredient is macaroni (nui). In Vietnam, people often use Vietnamese macaroni (see photo below) which has rice flour as its main ingredient. Honestly, I’m not a fan of it since I find its texture rather weird.
Feel free use any kind of short pasta like fusilli or elbow macaroni. My most favorite is fusilli. Its spiral shape makes the dish more fun to eat. I also love to use fusilli in this nui xao bo recipe (Vietnamese beef pasta stir-fry).
This Vietnamese pork macaroni soup requires about 1.5 hours to cook, but the amount of prepping work is pretty light. And then we just leave the ingredients to simmer slowly without having to do much.
Here are some important points to pay attention to when you make this recipe:
(1) Parboil the ribs to get rid of impurities so that we can have a clear soup with no unpleasant smell. It is also the first step in my other soup recipes, such as bak kut teh, pork rib soup with potato and carrot or turmeric braised ribs with tofu.
(2) Simmer very gently and skim off foam frequently. If you have blanched the ribs and simmer gently, chances are you won’t need to skim off a lot of foam.
(3) Divide the carrots and daikon radish in half. Simmer half of them right from the beginning with the ribs to extract all their sweetness. Remove them at the end of cooking because they will be too soft and flavorless to eat by that time. The other half will be cooked for only 10-15 minutes until they are tender to your liking, and then you can serve them in the soup.
Please find detailed list of ingredients and instructions in the recipe card below. I hope you will like it. We are so glad to discover this simple yet tasty soup while living in Saigon.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Macaroni Soup with Pork Ribs (Sup Nui Suon Heo)
- 1.75 lbs meaty pork ribs, separated into individual ribs
- 6 cups hot water (plus more to parboil the ribs and cook the pasta)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- a 1-inch piece of ginger
- 9-10 oz carrots, peeled and divided (about 2 medium to large carrots)
- 9-10 oz daikon radish, peeled and divided
- 6-8 oz your choice of short pasta
- thinly sliced scallions
- thinly sliced cilantro
- black pepper
- fish sauce (to serve on the side)
- lime wedges (to serve on the side)
- bird's eye chili, thinly sliced (optional, to serve on the side)
- Parboil pork ribs in plenty of boiling water for a minute. Remove the ribs and rinse under water. Discard the liquid.
- To a clean pot, add 6 cups of water, ginger, 1½ teaspoon salt and the pork ribs. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Skim off any foam.
- Cut half of the carrots and half of the daikon radish into large chunks (about 3-inch long) and add them to the broth. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and skim off foam if needed. Then cover the pot with the lid slightly askew and simmer for 60-75 minutes or until the ribs are almost tender to your liking.
- Cut the remaining carrot and daikon radish on a bias (roll-cut) or just cut them into thin slices or small pieces. Add them to the soup after ribs are almost tender to your liking. Cover the pot with the lid slightly askew and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the vegetables pieces you just add are cooked through and tender.
- While waiting for the vegetables pieces you just add in Step 4 to cook, boil the pasta in plenty of salted water according to package instructions but undercook by 1-2 minutes.
- When the pasta is ready, drain and set it aside for a minute. Open the soup pot and discard the large chunks of carrots and radish you added at the beginning in Step 3. Taste the broth and season with a bit more salt if needed, then add pasta and bring the soup to a rolling simmer.
- Divide the soup with pork ribs, noodles, carrot and radish pieces among serving bowls. Sprinkle with scallion, cilantro and black pepper, then serve immediately with fish sauce, lime wedges and chilis on the side.
hi i wanted to ask if i wanted to make this in a larger pot for probably 6-8 people would the ingredients increase and the measurements for them? if they do increase can i know the increase measurements and ingredients to add to the larger pot?
Yes, you can scale up the recipe accordingly. If you hover your mouse cursor over the number of servings on desktop or click on the number of servings on mobile, you can drag the slider and adjust the servings to 6 or 8. Then the measurements of the ingredients will be adjusted accordingly. If you want to serve 8 people, you can double the quantities as below:
▢ 3.5 lbs meaty pork ribs, separated into individual ribs
▢ 12 cups hot water (plus more to parboil the ribs and cook the pasta)
▢ 3 teaspoon salt
▢ a 2-inch piece of ginger
▢ 18-20 oz carrots, peeled and divided
▢ 18-20 oz daikon radish, peeled and divided
▢ 12-16 oz your choice of short pasta
I just made this today, on a whim, while looking for Filipino macaroni soup (we call them “Sopas”) recipes that didn’t use chicken. My mom is down with the flu and for some reason chicken makes her feel worse, and Google kindly pointed me to your blog. Finding this recipe is a stroke of Great Luck, because my entire family LOVED this. I also loved it! The only tweaks I made were to add 2 pork bullion cubes, skip adding salt both in the soup and pasta, adding 2 chilis called “siling haba” in the Philippines for extra heat during step 3 until the end, and then finally cooking the pasta in the soup in the final 10~15 minutes of cooking. I also put the coriander stems and roots along with the white portion of the scallion stalks in a cloth tea filter from step 3 until the end for easier discarding. The coriander really helped bring this dish a level higher, it gave the soup such a refreshing taste! I agree this dish makes for a great hangover food, or even a sick person food. Although pork ribs are kind of expensive, but I will definitely be making this again and again in the future. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
Thank you for sharing how you made the soup! It’s great your family loved it. I’m sorry to hear that your mom doesn’t feel well. I hope she will recover soon.
I haven’t heard of the Filipino macaroni soup but I will look it up :). The price of pork has gone up quite a bit in Vietnam in the past year, so I guess it’s probably also the case in the Philippines?
Just like how my parents make it! Yummy! The only difference is that sometimes I use the elbow macaroni more than the fusilli but I have never tried the Vietnamese macaroni. 😀
oops I meant that I have tried all the noodles! My bad!
Thank you for the feedback! I’m glad it turned out just like how your parents make it :). I usually switch between fusilli and elbow macaroni depending on what I have in the pantry :D.