Bowl of Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Gà) with chopsticks in it
Chicken,  Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Gà)

If I had to choose one dish that would represent my food-inspired childhood, it would be Mum and Grandma’s Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup, hands down. There’s nothing that brings backs my barely contained excitement the way comfort in a bowl does!

Why tapioca noodles ROCK

Let me tell you why you need that extra chew in your life. Most weekends, you have your ‘everyday’ noodles – egg, rice, wheat, soy…you get the picture. They’re great. 

But you haven’t lived a noodle-lover’s dream until you’ve tried tapioca noodles in a broth with irresistibly silky chicken.

I will never appreciate a chewy bite and a hearty slurp more than the way I do with this Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle. Their textures combined are just pure harmony!

A bowl of Vietnamese tapioca noodle soup (banh canh) on a wooden table with herbs surrounding the bowl

Chicken or Pork?

Bánh canh is typically eaten with pork hok (Bánh Canh Giò Heo) but I grew up with the chicken version, so that’s what I’m going to share with you. When you go to Vietnamese restaurants, there is only ever the pork hok version, which makes this chicken noodle soup recipe EXTRA special!

I can’t tell you just how thrilled I am to be cooking Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup because I’ll get to eat it later

Yes, even after more than 20 years of eating this, I STILL love it!

Tapioca Noodles in a plastic bag
Unpackaged tapioca noodles

What is tapioca noodle?

When you combine rice and tapioca flour together with hot water, you get tapioca noodles, a culinary signature well-loved by Vietnamese people. 

It’s fairly easy to make at home, but our family like to get it on the day it’s freshly made and delivered to the Asian supermarkets. It saves time and tastes a million bucks. Win-win, I say!

Just take note that the plastic packaging it comes it may be a little oily. Tapioca noodles love to cling to each other when cooked (which really is part of their noodle-y charm), so they are always lightly oiled before sealed in the bag.

Chopsticks holding up cooked tapioca noodles

How do I cook tapioca noodles?

Vietnamese bánh canh is traditionally served with a mellow stock, velvety chicken and a robust array of garnishes but it’s the noodle that is the bowl’s sole show stopper. This is actually typical of most Asian noodle soups. The technique to prepare it, while superbly simple, is high effective.

First, we make sure the broth is ready. And by ready, I mean perfectly seasoned and on its way to being served.

We then boil a small pot of water and dump the noodles in until al dente. You’ll have to try a few noodles to find your al dente, but I can guarantee you it never takes too long. If you’re cooking a larger batch, make sure to run it under cold water.

Drain and throw the cooked noodles into a serving bowl, add the stock, toppings and garnish. Now you’ve got yourself the best way to end (or start) the day!

Ingredients for your Bánh Canh Gà

Lemon, lime, spring onions, coriander, fried onions and chilli

Garnishes

  • finely chopped coriander
  • finely sliced spring onions
  • chopped fresh chilli (optional) 
  • wedges of lemon/lime
  • fried onion 

You can find out more about these ingredients from our Aromatics & Asian Vegetables page!

Dehydrated shrimp on a ladel

How to cook Vietnamese chicken tapioca noodle soup

Start by getting your chicken and pork stock simmering in a large pot. You’ll need that extra height space for when the drumsticks go in.

Throw in the dehydrated shrimps.

Chicken drumsticks in a pot of water

Wash the chicken drumsticks and bring the broth to a boil. Put the drumsticks in the stock for 20-25 minutes.

Water running on cooked chicken drumsticks

Scoop the chicken drumsticks out and run it under cold water to slow down the cooking process. We want a silky chicken, which you won’t get by overcooking it. 

Chicken drumsticks in a bowl of water
Chicken drumstick on paper towel

Transfer the drumsticks into a bowl of cold water for a few minutes, drain then pat them dry. Refrigerate the chicken to keep the meat firm.

Lightly season the broth with 2 tbsp salt, Squid brand fish sauce, rock sugar and salt to taste.

You can always leave all the seasoning to the end, but we like to season it throughout for a more developed flavour palette in the soup.

Cook the blood jelly in a separate small pot. If you don’t eat blood jelly, skip this step.

Duck giblets in a bowl of water

Wash and add the duck giblets to the soup. If you don’t eat giblets, you can also give this step a miss.

Now prepare the garnish: give each aromatic a double wash, drain and finely chop them.

Quarter the lemons or limes.

Take the chicken out of the fridge and shred it onto a communal serving dish.

Tapioca noodles in a colander under running water

Boil a pot of water and quickly soften the tapioca noodles. It will take no longer than a few minutes because it’s already cooked. 

We like to use our colander to drain the liquid out.

Serve the noodles with chicken, blood jelly, giblets and the seasoned broth. Add the fried onions, coriander, spring onions and a squeeze of lemon or lime as the garnish.

Enjoy this Vietnamese signature dish!

Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Gà) in a bowl
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A bowl of Vietnamese tapioca noodle soup (banh canh) on a wooden table with herbs surrounding the bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup (Bánh Canh Gà)

I can never pass a homey noodle soup with incredible texture. This is my family's weekend go-to recipe that still gets me excited after nearly 30 years!
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Keyword: asian food, Bánh Canh Gà, chicken recipes, Noodle Soup, tapioca noodles, Vietnamese Chicken Tapioca Noodle Soup, Vietnamese food
Servings: 6
Author: Jeannette

Ingredients

Garnishes

  • finely chopped coriander
  • finely sliced spring onions
  • chopped fresh chilli optional
  • wedges of lemon/lime
  • fried onion

Instructions

  • Get your chicken and pork stock simmering in a large pot. 
  • Throw in the dehydrated shrimps.
  • Wash the chicken drumsticks and bring the broth to a boil. Put the drumsticks in the stock for 20-25 minutes.
  • Scoop the chicken drumsticks out and run it under cold water to slow down the cooking process. 
  • Transfer the drumsticks into a bowl of cold water for a few minutes, drain then pat them dry.
  • Refrigerate the chicken to keep the meat firm.
  • Lightly season the broth with 2 tbsp, Squid brand fish sauce, rock sugar and salt to taste.
  • Cook the blood jelly in a separate small pot. If you don't eat blood jelly, skip this step.
  • Wash and add the duck giblets to the soup. If you don’t eat giblets, you can also give this step a miss.
  • Prepare the garnish: give each aromatic a double wash, drain and finely chop them.
  • Quarter the lemons or limes.
  • Take the chicken out of the fridge and shred it onto a communal serving dish.
  • Boil a pot of water and quickly soften the tapioca noodles. It will take no longer than a few minutes because it’s already cooked. Use a colander to drain the liquid out.
  • Serve the noodles with chicken, blood jelly, giblets and the seasoned broth.
  • Add the fried onions, coriander, spring onions and a squeeze of lemon or lime as the garnish.

SHARE YOUR CREATION!

If you recreated this authentic recipe, I’d love to see it! Tag @wokandkin on Instagram with the hashtag #wokandkin! See you there!

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Hello, I’m Jeannette!

I’ll be sharing recipes that will give you front row access to authentic Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines. Find out about how I discovered my love for cooking and who inspired it all here!

 

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