Canh Bau Tom - Vietnamese Opo Squash Soup

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins

Bau, or opo squash, (calabash, cucuzzi, bottle gourd, etc) is a long pale green squash that can be found at Asian markets. It has a flavor similar to cucumbers mixed with zucchini. My daughter and I love this squash raw to snack on. My sister in law introduced me to this simple soup. She pairs it with Thit Kho, stewed pork, or other Kho recipes. This soup pairs nicely with salty dishes to mellow out the flavors. Can serve over rice to make a light stew. I sometimes add 2 c fish stock and 4 c of water. Prep time varies on how long the squash and shrimp needs to cook. If using this soup as a side to Kho dishes, I use the smaller amount of shrimp. If serving alone over rice, I use more shrimp.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 large opo squash, Peeled and sliced thinly
  • 6 cups water
  • 12 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 12-1 lb shrimp, peeled and diced
  • 4 -6 green onions, diced, separated in half
  • 14-12 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped, separated in half
  • 1 -2 teaspoon white pepper, can use black
  • 2 -3 tablespoons fish sauce, separated in half
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Pour the stock into a large stock pan.
  2. Add the Opo Squash and cook over medium-high heat until the squash becomes soft and translucent.
  3. The squash may not become translucent if it's cut too thick. Just look for it to soften up.
  4. While the squash cooks put the shrimp, green onions, and cilantro into a mixing bowl.
  5. Mix and sort of blend the flavors together with a fork.
  6. Do not turn this into a mushy paste. The idea is to combine the flavors together.
  7. Season the shrimp mixture with the pepper, half of the fish sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Mix well.
  8. Once the squash is translucent, Turn the heat to high and Bring to a boil.
  9. Add the sliced onions.
  10. Add the shrimp mixture to the soup in spoonfuls, this sort of makes dumplings.
  11. Cover and cook until the shrimp "dumplings" are cooked.
  12. After the dumplings cook, remove from heat and add the rest of the fish sauce.
  13. Stir to mix in the flavors.
  14. Garnish with the additional cilantro and green onions.
  15. Let the soup stand for 15 minutes before serving.
  16. Serve over rice and/or Kho recipes (stews).
  17. To simplify the recipe:.
  18. Skip mixing the shrimp all together with the seasonings. Dice the shrimp up and mix all the seasonings in the soup at the same time as the dumplings.
Most Helpful

3 5

I had a couple of problems with this recipe. Firstly, the ingredients list includes water. Nowhere in the instructions is the water addressed. In the instructions, stock is mentioned. Nowhere in the list of ingredients is stock listed. Now, I'm not an idiot, I can figure out that "water" should read "stock". The only thing is, what type of stock?<br/><br/>Secondly, no mention is made of whether raw or cooked shrimp should be used. I used raw based on the cooking instructions to boil then remove from heat, but I could in no way, shape, or fashion determine how in the world I'm supposed to fashion "meatballs" out of raw shrimp, so I'm wondering should I have used cooked?<br/><br/>I did my best, hope it tastes good and authentic with chickens stock and no "meatballs".

5 5

This soup is delicious. I had some opo squash in my csa box and came looking for a recipe. This one caught my eye. Am I ever glad it did! I added some bouillon to the water, but otherwise followed the recipe. We served it over rice for lunch. My son-in-law was over and he loved it so much he took the rest home with him.

5 5

very authentic. thank you