Canh Bau Recipe (Vietnamese Opo Squash And Shrimp Soup)

By Alex Au Yeung

4.9/5 - (7 votes)

Are you a fan of Vietnamese cuisine? If so, you’re in for a treat! In this article, we will delve into the mouthwatering world of canh bau, a traditional Vietnamese soup made with opo squash and shrimp.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with this flavorsome dish that brings together the freshness of opo squash and the savory goodness of shrimp.

We’ll walk you through the recipe step by step, highlighting key ingredients, cooking tips, and nutrition facts along the way. So, put on your apron and let’s get cooking!

What is canh bau?

Canh Bau Recipe (Vietnamese Opo Squash And Shrimp Soup)

Canh bau is a delightful Vietnamese soup that features opo squash, also known as bottle gourd, as its star ingredient.

This vibrant and refreshing soup is commonly enjoyed as a main course in Vietnamese households. With its light and fragrant flavors, canh bau is perfect for both warm summer days and cozy winter nights.

The combination of tender opo squash and succulent shrimp creates a harmonious balance of textures and tastes that will leave you wanting more.

Vietnamese opo squash recipe

Cooking note

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 35 minutes
  • Course: Soup
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

Ingredients for Vietnamese opo squash soup

Canh Bau Recipe (Vietnamese Opo Squash And Shrimp Soup)

To prepare a delicious canh bau, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized opo squashes
  • 250 grams of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (such as cilantro or Thai basil)

Step-by-step instructions

Now, let’s dive into the cooking process for making the delectable canh bau soup:

Step 1: Prepare the opo squash

  • Peel the opo squash and cut it in half lengthwise.
  • Scoop out the seeds from each half.
  • Slice the squash into thin half-moon shapes.

Step 2: Cook the shrimp

  • In a pot, bring the chicken or vegetable broth to a boil.
  • Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink and opaque.
  • Remove the shrimp from the pot and set them aside.

Step 3: Sauté the aromatics

  • In the same pot, heat some oil over medium heat.
  • Sauté the minced garlic and chopped onion until fragrant and golden.

Step 4: Combine the ingredients

  • Add the sliced opo squash to the pot and stir briefly.
  • Pour in the cooked shrimp and the broth.
  • Season with fish sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the squash becomes tender.

Step 5: Serve and garnish

  • Ladle the Canh Bau soup into bowls.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, such as cilantro or Thai basil.
  • Serve hot and enjoy the delightful flavors!

Tips for the best result

You can add a little bit of muoi ot (Vietnamese chili salt) instead of fish sauce, it will elevate the flavors of the opo squash, broth, and other ingredients in the soup.

Nutrition facts of canh bau

Here’s a snapshot of the approximate nutrition facts for one serving (excluding garnishes):

  • Calories: 150 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 14g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sodium: 600mg


Can I substitute opo squash with a different type of squash?

While opo squash is traditional in canh bau, you can experiment with other varieties such as zucchini or winter squash. Just keep in mind that the texture and taste may differ slightly.

Can I substitute shrimp with a different type of protein?

Canh Bau Recipe (Vietnamese Opo Squash And Shrimp Soup)

  • Ground pork: Add depth of flavor to your canh bau by using finely ground meat. Simply brown the ground meat in a separate pan before adding it to the soup.
  • Pork bones: If you prefer a heartier broth, you can use bones to create a rich and flavorful base. Simmer the bones in the broth to extract their essence before adding the other ingredients.
  • Clams: For seafood lovers, clams can be a fantastic substitute for shrimp. Their briny flavor will infuse the soup with a delicious taste.
  • Eggs: If you’re looking for a vegetarian protein option, you can add beaten eggs to the canh bau. Stir them into the soup slowly, creating a silky texture.

Can I make canh bau vegetarian or vegan?

Absolutely! You can substitute the chicken or vegetable broth for a vegetable-based broth, and omit the shrimp if you prefer a vegetarian or vegan version of the soup.

How long can I store leftovers of canh bau?

Canh bau can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

Can I freeze canh bau?

Yes, you can freeze canh bau for up to 3 months. However, keep in mind that the texture of the opo squash may change slightly after freezing.

What are some other traditional Vietnamese soups?

Vietnamese cuisine boasts a wide range of delicious soups. Some popular examples include Pho (noodle soup), Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup), and Canh Chua (sour soup), Sup Mang Cua (Vietnamese asparagus crab soup),…


Canh bau is a delightful Vietnamese soup that combines the subtle flavors of opo squash and succulent shrimp. This soup is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients, making it a wholesome choice for any meal. With our step-by-step instructions and cooking tips, you’re now ready to create this flavorful dish in your own kitchen. So, grab your apron, head to the market to gather the freshest ingredients, and get ready to enjoy a bowl of Vietnamese opo squash soup that will transport your taste buds to the heart of Vietnam.