Cambodian Breakfast Noodles

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang includes this brothy breakfast noodle dish on his menu at The Line hotel in DC. Why soup in the morning? “In Cambodia,” he says, “the day starts so much earlier—Phnom Penh is fully vibrant by 6 a.m. Once you taste the soup, you’ll know why people want to eat it in the morning.” Slideshow: More Rice Noodle Recipes 

Cambodian Breakfast Noodles
Photo: © Con Poulos
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins


  • 1 rack baby back ribs (1 1/2 pounds), rack cut in half

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 small heads of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed

  • 4 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce

  • 2 teaspoons instant dashi powder

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

  • 8 ounces thin rice noodles

  • Boiling water

  • 6 ounces Broccolini or Chinese broccoli, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • Thinly sliced scallions and jalapeño, for serving

  • Mint, basil and cilantro leaves, for serving


  1. In a large pot, cover the ribs, apple, garlic, ginger and onion with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over moderately low heat until the ribs are very tender and the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 hours. Transfer the ribs to a work surface and let cool slightly, then cut the rack into individual ribs.

  2. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl, discarding the solids. You should have 6 cups of broth; add water if needed. Return the broth to the pot and stir in the fish sauce, dashi and five-spice powder. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, then keep warm over very low heat.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large baking dish, cover the noodles with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain well.

  4. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the Broccolini until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain well; pat dry.

  5. Transfer the noodles to 4 bowls and ladle the broth over them. Top with the ribs and Broccolini. Serve with thinly sliced scallions and jalapeño, as well as mint, basil and cilantro leaves.

Make Ahead

The ribs in the broth can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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