Cultural Food Stories: My grandma’s Bún Riêu Cua

Grandma’s Bún riêu cua

Ever since I was young, or younger, my favourite meal was always my grandma’s famous Bún riêu. It was one of the meals that my family can eat together as a family. Both my parents have very busy jobs, so we mostly eat foods that aren’t very time consuming, but still healthy, of course. So when my grandma made it, it would give us all a wonderful sense of tradition. Whenever my grandma announces that she’ll be making our favourite dish, I would anxiously ask “Is it ready yet?” every 15 minutes. My mom would frown and tell me to be more patient, but my grandma would just laugh.

Bún riêu cua is quite complicated to make for my grandma, especially since she’s not getting any younger. Therefore, when she makes it, I always make sure I have no plans on that day to assist her as much as I can, but I can never get it right. I hope, someday, I will master this recipe entirely by myself and serve it to my grandmother, to thank her for all the things she has done and sacrificed for me.

Bún riêu is a Vietnamese meat rice vermicelli soup. There is a variety of meat that could be used, such as fish or shellfish, but my favourite meat to use is crab. One of the reasons why I love this meal so much is because it consists of all flavours- rich, sour, sweet, salty, bitter… I swear, there’s magic on my grandma’s hands. I am not a very traditional person, but if I ever have children, I will make sure they learn to make their great grandmother’s famous soup, and then pass it down onto their children.

Serves 6

Crab and crab roe


  • 1kg crab


  1. Separate the crab’s shell from its body.
  2. Take the crab-roe out of the shell and put it in a small bowl.
  3. Mince the body of the crab.
  4. With the crab meat, 11350007_952530321434670_902447228_nput it in a big pot with 4 liters of water. Use your hand to mix it together.
  5. Separate the crab water from the remains and throw it away.
  6. Put the crab water into a big pot and stir over high heat for 1 minute. After that, cover the pot with a lid.
  7. When it simmers, take the lid off so that the water doesn’t boil over and keep bo11123625_952530328101336_2053171760_niling.
  8. After another 5 minutes, the crab should be floating on top of the water (magic, I know.)
  9. Take the minced crab parts out of the water and put it on a plate. Leave to cool.
  10. Fry the crab row so it’s cooked.

Tomato broth


  • 0.8kg tomatoes11291834_952530351434667_1386528800_n


  1. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces and place in a pot with a tiny bit of water.
  2. Put it on a burner and mince it until it macerates.
  3. Using a sieve, separate the tomato water from the remain11349037_952530258101343_1801858934_ns. Throw the seeds and skin away.




  • 1kg tofu
  • About 2 tablespoons of oil11289908_952530338101335_2127811576_n


  1. 11348989_952530278101341_838608737_nCut your tofu into about 1cm cubes, it doesn’t need to be exact.
  2. In a pan, heat up the oil and fry the tofu cubes until they are a nice golden brown color.
  3. Place them 11225799_952530288101340_1036604530_non a plate lined with thick tissue paper to soak up excess oil.


Neptunia oleracea vegetables (Water mimosa)


  • 0.5 kg of neptunia oleracea vegetables


  1. Pick the fresher parts of the vegetables and wash clean.
  2. Put them in a pan with water and boil.
  3. Once boiled, take them out.


Shallots and welsh onions


  • 0.1kg shallots
  • 0.1 kg welsh onions
  • A teaspoon of oil for each ingredient



  1. 11301481_952530341434668_1718649391_nMince the shallots into very thin slices and fry it in oil until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Mince the welsh onions into slightly thicker, but still thin, slices and fry in oil until soft.
  3. Place each on plates lined with tissue to soak in excess oil.


Crab sausage balls


  • 200g raw sausage (without casing)
  • The minced crab


  1. 11297674_952530308101338_1631168497_n11348829_952530281434674_1248434751_n
    Take half of the minced crab and mix it in with the raw sausage.
  2. With the mixture, make small sausage balls with a diameter of about 2 cm.
  3. Boil these in the same crab water used before, this will make the water sweet. You can tell when it’s done when the sausage balls start to float.
  4. When they’re done, put them on a plate.


Soup water


  • The crab water
  • 8-10g dracontomelon (about 10)
  • The tomato broth
  • 300 ml wine vinegar
  • Fish sauce
  • Soup seasoning
  • The minced welsh onion


  1. Put the crab water on low heat again
  2. Mix the dracontomelon (washed and seeded), tomato broth, and wine vinegar in
  3. Mix in the fish sauce and soup seasoning in to your liking
  4. Then mix in the minced welsh onion

My grandma stresses that it must be in this order, or it will go ruined. I don’t fully understand why, but she’s the chef  with the magic.




  • Soup water
  • The minced crab
  • Crab sausage balls
  • Crab roe
  • Shallots and welsh onions
  • Tofu
  • Neptunia oleracea vegetables (water mimosa vegetables)
  • 1 kg rice vermicelli
  • Shrimp paste

Procedure (for one serving)

  1. In a medium sized bowl, put ⅙ of the noodle in.11281916_952530271434675_2059858716_n
  2. Top it with tofu, some minced crab, the water mimosa vegetables, welsh onions, and some sausage balls.
  3. Add in soup water to your liking.
  4. When served, top the dish with some crab roe, shallots onions, and shrimp paste.
  5. Serve with soup water hot.

Underwater Bento Box Creation

Bento boxes (弁当) are very popular. The earliest records of packed lunches in Japan date back to around the fifth century, when people going out to hunt, farm, or wage war took food with them to eat on the job. They usually carried dried rice, which was eaten either in its dried state or after being rehydrated with water, or rice balls. I love bento boxes because they are fun and healthy. Something that’s both fun and healthy? I’m just as surprised as you are. I chose to make an underwater themed bento because I like the shapes of fish and octopus. Without further ado, here is my bento box creation : )

Start with this template


Lining your bento box


  1. Line the right half of your box with washed and dried lettuces11039995_912167182137651_145523851_n

Wakame (ワカメ) seaweed

(If you already have hydrated wakame seaweed, skip to step six)

  1. Fill a medium size saucepan ¾ of the way with water.
  2. Put it on the stove and boil it.
  3. Once it boils, put your dried wakame seaweed.
  4. When it’s cooked and hydrated, take it out of the pan to cool.
  5. Line the left half of your bento box with the wakame seaweed.



What you will need:11056741_912167172137652_116309128_n

  • Grapes


  1. Place them in the bottom right-hand corner of the bento box.


Octopus Sausages

11012232_912167212137648_1169682783_nWhat you will need:

  • 4 medium-sized sausages. Make sure the sausages are straight and not bent.


  1. Hold the sausage sideways and slice down one half all the way through the sausag11023020_912167185470984_709667597_ne.
  2. Turn the sausage 90° and slice again.
  3. Cut between the “legs”. You should now have 8.
  4. Do steps 1-3 three more times for 4 octopuses in total.
  5. In a medium saucepan, fill the water ¾ of the way and boil it.
  6. Put the cut sausages into the boiling water and take them out when the “legs” opens. Place them to dry.
  7. Once they dry, place them in the top right-hand corner of the bento box, saving space for grapes. 


Fish shaped sandwiches

What you will need:

  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 slice of ham
  • 1 tomato
  • Two lettuces
  • 2 big slices of cheese
  • Toothpick
  • Fish shaped cookie cutter



  1. Put the cookie cutter in the center of the bread and cut along the line. Do the same for the two slices of bread.
  2. Using the same cookie cutter, cut out 1 fish shaped slice of ham and 1 fish shaped slice of cheese.
  3. Cut and estimate the lettuces into about the size of your sandwich.
  4. Slice 3 thin slices out of your tomato
  5. Stack your ingredients into a sandwich in any order you wish. Make sure it lines in shape.
  6. Stick a toothpick in the middle so the sandwich wouldn’t fall out of place.
  7. Do steps 1-6 again for another sandwich.
  8. Place the sandwiches on the left-hand side of the bento box, on top of the seaweed.11040690_912167148804321_579953490_n11039576_912167215470981_945422573_n



Your finished creation should look like this:



Eat and enjoy the magical combination of cute and healthy!

Industrial Revolution CSI

Our last Social Studies assignment for semester 1, we were asked to make a CSI that represents a word related to a word related to a topic we have learnt so far. CSI is the Colour, Symbol, Image that we personally associate with a word, in this case Industrial Revolution.

For the background of my CSI, I chose dark blue, close to black, because, personally, it represents old-fashioned and the dark times, when man power was still not replaced with new machines yet. For the stem and leaf, I chose a slightly lighter blue, because it represents development and improvement, but not quite there yet. This is to show that the geniuses, like Thomas Newcomen, of the world was starting to change the world. Finally, for my gear, I chose the brightest blue of the palette, to show that its new, bright, and modern.

For the symbol, I chose a gear, because most of the most important machines, like vehicles, have them. It is also the most popular symbol for machines, so people will understand better when they see it. It is to do with Industrial Revolution because it was the period of time when new machines were created rapidly.

My image is of a flower stem with a gear on it. I think it represents the Industrial Revolution well, because before the gear, representing machines, bloomed, the stem had to grow, representing development. Also, the stem is natural, representing man power. Basically, the world was natural and developing, and then the gear and machines bloomed.

Spanish Semester 1 Reflection

In Spanish class, we had 3 big projects. The first project was to do an introduction poster entirely in spanish of your partner, who for me was Nantha. I struggled with fitting both pictures and sentences on the poster because there was so many, but I managed to at the end. I wish there was something like Adobe Photoshop so that I could make the poster even better.Nancy Drew 2

The second project assigned was a video dialogue in spanish. The project was to pair up with someone and make a video talking to each other. It wasn’t hard to memorise the whole script and film it, but the editing part was tedious and frustrating to edit, because I had no experience and didn’t know how to do it. It would have helped if we had an easier application other than OpenShot Editor to edit our videos in.


The third and most recent project was to make a video blog introducing roughly ourself, our friends, and our family. We had to do this individually. I struggled even more with editing, like cutting clips. I was proud of the outcome though, because the video was smooth and the quality wasn’t bad. Something I needed to include but didn’t was the ending slide with all my dialogue, but luckily it didn’t affect my grade too much.

Newton Vehicle Blog Post 3

We learnt that there was a lot to consider about our vehicle to make it work and go far. For example, the straw has to be pointing upwards. We also learnt that even the smallest amount of weight can affect the acceleration on our vehicle. If we could do this project again, we wouldn’t add so much weight on our vehicle with super glue and tape, then having to take all of it off.
 We learnt that Newton’s Laws applies to even the simplest moving objects, like our balloon vehicle and that it’s always there, and that there’s a lot to learn about what seems to be just common sense.
 I would make the walls of the vehicle bigger, so that it would apply more force onto the balloon, making it release more air and at a faster and bigger force, to get higher acceleration
. If we had the chance to do another project related to this one, we would like to use and experiment with materials other than a cardboard box, for example a plastic bottle, or wooden sticks, for the vehicle body. This is to make the vehicle even lighter, resulting a higher acceleration, according to Newton’s second law.

Newton vehicle (1)

Scratch – Save the Kitten

The aim of my game was for the player to help the Mom Cat save her Baby cat, not getting hit by the dog bones on the way. At first I planned to make 7 levels, but realised I probably didn’t have enough time, and reduced it to 3 levels. It was boring to make a the sprites and background myself, but coding independently was fun.

I like the Scratch project because you get to work alone, although it was difficult because it has so many codes and commands, and at times I couldn’t understand all of it. When there were problems with my coding I couldn’t solve, I got lots of help from other people.  For example, from Mr. Bertoia when my restart button didn’t work and when the bones didn’t disappear when the spitballs hit it. Melissa also helped me tons when my dog bone trap didn’t show up in a steady order like I want it to, and instead a storm of dog bones popped up. The stupidest difficulty I had to go through was when I accidentally deleted the longest script, the most important one, and had to code it again. I think a little bit of me died.

Overall, there wasn’t any problems that were especially hard with coding Scratch, I could solve them all with enough time. Although I had an endless string of difficulties, I hope we will be able to do it project again, because I enjoy coding a lot.

Newton Vehicle Blog Post 2

Newton’s first law of motion will be incorporated by our vehicle, because without the force exerted from the balloon, the wheels will not spin and the vehicle will not move. When the air is released from the balloon, it would cause the vehicle to forward. We will demonstrate Newton’s second law of motion by making our vehicle small in mass, using thin cardboard, bottle caps, wooden sticks, tape, and a balloon for force. This will help higher the acceleration because the lighter the mass, the more acceleration will result. We will show Newton’s third law with the balloon. As air is comes out, energy and force is being released at a fast speed backwards, which will cause an opposite reaction and making our vehicle move forward. With enough team effort our vehicle should be able to move at least 1.5 meters.

Untitled drawing

Newton Vehicle Blog Post 1

In our science class, I have learnt a lot about physics, like the property of inertia. Inertia is an object’s resistance to a change in motion. For example, if you drove a car directly into a brick wall, the car would stop due to the force of the wall exerting on it. However, inertia will cause your body to continue moving at the original speed until another force is acting upon you, like gravity. We have also learned a lot about Newton’s law of motion. Newton’s 1st law states that an object that is not moving will stay not moving unless a force acts upon it and an object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed direction an unbalanced force is exerted upon it. Newton’s 2nd law states that an object’s acceleration depends on it’s mass and the amount of force acting on it. Newton’s 3rd law states that for every action there is an equal opposite reaction. Our project is to make a vehicle that demonstrates all of these laws and it has to move at least 1.5 meters without us pushing or pulling it. I think Newton’s 2nd law of motion is an important thing to keep in mind, because the vehicle would not move very far if it is too heavy or the force is too small. I also think friction something we should consider when designing our project, because if the floor is too smooth or too rough, it might not move as far as we need it to. Here is our discovery and interpretation so far. Newton Vehicle Part 1  - DiscoveryNewton Vehicle Part 1  - Interpretation (2)

The Religious Alien

I was walking down the wheat field to school, when I saw a disc shaped metal vehicle land from the sky into a wheat field near the Church. I stepped a little closer to investigate, and out steps a green, one-eyed person. Seeing the bright pink polka dots on him, I thought he was sick. I then realised that it was no man, but a monster, I was about to run for dear life, I was still young and had a life to live, when it spoke to me in perfect English.

“Hi, I’m-” it made a weird noise, and after a few awkward seconds I realized it was his name.

“H-hello.” I stuttered. We talked for a while, when the strange creature saw the women wearing their long gowns, with sleeves, worn over another gown underneath it. The creature was fascinated and wanted to wear it too, but I just giggled.

It looked around and saw the famous Ninety-five theses nailed harshly on the Church door and asked curiously what it was. I explained that a very smart religious reformer named Martin Luther was protesting against the Church and the abuse of indulgences. I told the weird green creature that there were people like my parents and I who supported him and were protestants, and there were also people like any grandparents who were Catholics. The thing seemed extremely interested in religion and that there is a superhuman looking after us all.

“Why are your grandparents Catholics, but you and your parents Protestants?” it asked. I sighed in response, I get asked this a lot.

“Because my grandparents are use to it, they were raised in an environment where everyone thinks everything the Church says is correct, even when it’s not. My parents and I were born in a more modern time, so we believe in this.”

“What did this pope say that was wrong?”

It took me less than a second to think of one. “Indulgences. A pardon for sin, the Church was abusing it to raise more money. Martin Luther didn’t like it. I just hope this ends soon, this whole Protestant-Catholic thing is confusing.”

It nodded and stood up.

“I need to go and tell my people about ‘God’ and his son ‘Jesus Christ’.” It stepped into it’s metal thing and thanked me for the information and promised me it’d come back another time.

I watched my new friend disappear into the cloudless sky, until I realised my parents were going to kill me for being late for school.