Inspired by Vietnamese bun rieu cua, blogger Shu Han Lee makes a quick broth with chicken stock, fermented shrimp paste and cherry tomatoes, then swirls in beaten egg mixed with crab and pork.Slideshow: More Asian Soups
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp paste and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate, add the tomatoes and simmer until just starting to pop, about 8 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, lightly crush some of the tomatoes on the side of the pan. Stir in the fish sauce and season the soup lightly with salt.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the chile-garlic paste and a generous pinch of salt. Add the crab and pork and, using a fork, stir the mixture well to break up the meat.
Bring the soup to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in a circular motion and pour the egg mixture into the center of the swirl. Stop stirring and simmer the omelet in the soup over moderate heat for 6 minutes, then turn off the heat and stir to distribute the omelet throughout the soup.
In a large heatproof bowl, cover the vermicelli with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Divide the vermicelli and bean sprouts among 4 bowls. Ladle the soup on top and serve with lime wedges and mint, cilantro and basil leaves.
Fermented shrimp paste is available at Asian markets and from amazon.com.
This brightly flavorful soup pairs best with a wine that has lively acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc.