Alternative Meal for Thanksgiving

Bánh Canh Cua

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I’ve finally found a pocket of time to squeeze in a small update with a recipe. I don’t have very many Vietnamese recipes on here, but that’ll change soon enough. Many Americans & Canadians look forward to this day to give thanks with a wonderful & hearty meal, yet there are some of us out there that are just a bit tired of the same meals every single year. My family isn’t a huge fan of turkey & as I don’t eat land creatures, my mother decided to opt out of making a turkey. Although I could’ve attempted to make a tofurkey to save a turkey, I volunteered to contribute my fair share of holiday cooking since mommy dearest has been at it for decades. So while I’ll be making the most traditional Thanksgiving dinner with my first time making turkey, my mother will be making all of the delicious Vietnamese alternative dishes. Who says Thanksgiving should only be mashed potatoes when you can have Bún Bò Huế on the side with your turkey?

Although I don’t have a recipe for Bún Bò Huế–which my mother will be making–I do have a recipe for my favorite Vietnamese soup called Bánh Canh Cua. “Bánh” translates to cake, pastry, or anything made with lots of flour. Some of you may be familiar with bánh mì, the popular Vietnamese sandwich that features a French baguette. “Canh” translates to soup & “cua” is crab making the literal translation crab cake soup. Good thing the soup isn’t a vanilla cake, water, & crab. That sounds as appetizing as chocolate & soap. The noodles are similar to the Japanese udon noodles & many refer to bánh canh as Vietnamese udon. Rice flour makes up the ingredients of the noodles, making their texture unique. I’ve made this soup several times for my roommates & they love it! After slurping up every last drop of the soup, Yuri told me she was sad she would never be able to make something like this & Gaby asked me to give her my recipe before I move out. I didn’t add shrimp to my version because crab is already high in cholesterol, but it is traditionally served with shrimp. In restaurants, you may see it described as “bánh canh tôm cua” because “tôm” means shrimp.

You can buy all of the ingredients for this soup at a wide variety Asian supermarket. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, a Vietnamese noodle soup will spice up your Thanksgiving from the turkey, mashed potatoes, & pasta! If you’re a traditionalist (boring), this recipe pairs wonderfully with cold weather in your forecast. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Americans! Tough luck, Canada. We already know you had yours; it’s our turn!!

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  1. Vietnamese foooddddd *o* me want too~ TvT i barely find any vietnamese restaurant here aughh this is so annoying >__<
    the banh canh hua reminds me of singaporean laksa 😛 maybe because they both have red, spicy looking soup and with noodles.

    I, well.. obviously have never experienced thanksgiving. ever. not surprising haha since i don't live in western country but i do feel curious about the whole turkey thing. i want to experience it, y'know.. big turkey for the family on the table, making it seem like we're eating a monster baby instead of a chicken… it sounds fun. though i'm not fond of family gathering 😛 but the turkey is an interesting sight haha

    If I tell my mom about this recipe, i think she'd be like, "ah i don't know what banh canh is but let's just use udon because they look the same" pfft… ANYWAY, vietnamese food likes to use rice vermicelli too right? oh which reminds me do you have a recommendation on how to cook soba noodles besides eating it plain cold or in a salad? xD

    wee~ so many pumpkins! *o* pumpkin soup is yummmeeehhh hhaha

  2. Haha, tofurkey! I like the sound of that. Knowing our network of people, we’d probably settle for another set of Chinese food, which conveniently includes tofu. I’d take tofu over the bird any day. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I know not to say “Happy Turkey Day” during Thanksgiving. Why? This is my reason: I assure you these poor turkeys are anything but happy, given what they’re going to suffer through. It’s a facetious response, with elements of truth behind it, so yea. I’d choose your recipe over turkey any day. :)

    • I’m definitely with you on the tofu vs. bird thing. I prepared the turkey this year & it made me sad touching it & preparing it. My mom purchased an organic, vegetarian fed turkey, but regardless, their life isn’t happy. We’ve become really desensitized to the animals we consume that we forget that they were once living, breathing creatures that roamed the Earth & cultivated so that we could eat them. The industry is polluting our planet in addition to feeding our obesity pandemic. It doesn’t just stop at turkeys. Cows, chickens, & many other animals suffer far worse ordeals than your ordinary Thanksgiving turkey.

  3. My parents aren’t a huge fan of turkey either, so they don’t do a traditional Thanksgiving. My in-laws do though. I guess it’s nice having 2 different Thanksgiving meals each year even if it makes me feel fatty :) I don’t think I’ve had Bánh Canh Cua, but that looks good!

    Aww, that little kid is adorable in that pumpkin outfit. The goats and horses are cute, too, in the same gallery :) You both look great in your Seasons Greetings postcard!

    • haha it’s not a real postcard, I was just kidding. 😉 But thanks all the same! Ahh how nice, 2 Thanksgiving meals. I once had a year in which I had 4 Thanksgiving meals. It was intense…I forgot what hunger felt like. +20 Obesity points to me.

      You should try making the soup in your spare time! Definitely won’t regret it!

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