A specialty for the southern region of Vietnam. Simple and delicious. Of course, served with a helping of bean sprouts and fresh herbs. Shrimp paste here is not to be confused with mắm ruốt the other “shrimp paste”. Suông is made from fresh shrimp and chicken, boiled in broth and coated with annatto oil for unique flavor and appearance.

For the Broth and Noodles:
-2 lbs chicken or bones (approximate I recommend using chicken)
-shrimp shells (byproduct from making the fresh shrimp paste, recipe follows)
-salt to taste
-1 small piece of rock sugar
-1 pork feet (cut into serving size pieces)
-rice vermicelli

*Boil together bones, shrimp shell and pork feet for a few hours to make broth. Remove pork feet when chopstick tender. Use broth to cook shrimp paste, add sugar and salt to taste. Boil rice vermicelli until tender, drain before serving.

Garnishing:
-cilantro
-green onions

*Washed and chop finely.

To Serve:
Lay noodles in a bowl, add suông (shrimp paste), and pork feet; ladle on hot broth and finish off with garnishing. Serve rau húng cây (spearmint), cooked bean sprouts, and hoisin sauce, lime, fish sauce, and fresh chilies as condiments.

Suông (Fresh Shrimp Paste):
*Measure by volume
-1 cup chicken breast
-2 cups shrimp
-4 cloves garlic
-3 tbs fish sauce
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp sugar
-2 shallots
-3 tbs oil
-annatto seeds

*Cube chicken breast, chop garlic and shallots. Fry annatto seeds in oil to obtain color, remove seeds. Peel and shrimp, use the shells to make broth. Grind together shrimp, chicken, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, pepper, salt and sugar into a smooth paste. Use a rice scraper or spatula to form 3-4 inch long pieces of paste and drop them into the hot broth to cook. Remove when the float to the surface of the broth and dip in annatto oil for color.