Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Bamboo Shoots (Canh Ga Nau Mang)

Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Bamboo Shoots (Canh Ga Nau Mang)

Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Bamboo Shoots (Canh Ga Nau Mang)

My mother-in-law makes the best soups. Her broth is always so flavorful with the perfect balance between savory and sweet. Long ago I asked her how come her broth tastes so good? She told me her secret, and the secret was simple. Cook low and slow. This allows the sweetness to draw out of whatever proteins you are using. My mother-in-law failed to mention that it is one of many secrets to cooking. My broth tasted dreadfully bland by solely relying on cooking low and slow. No matter how low and slow you cook it, water will always taste like water.

Knowing to play with seasonings also contributes to a great broth. It's something I naively missed early on. I always thought if you add enough this and that, then everything will magically come together. Wrong. Sometimes simply following recipes doesn't even cut it. I'm still constantly learning and improving through many trial and errors (many, many errors).

My mother-in-law may be 70 something, but when it comes to the kitchen, she's a ninja. I fear her. I want to be at the same caliber one day and to be feared ... or just be feared period because that's so much cooler.

My mother-in-law makes a killer Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Bamboo Shoots (Canh Ga Nau Mang). The first time I made this soup myself without any instructions from the expert, it was a complete disaster. I didn't know that you can't use bamboo shoots straight from the grocery store. Bamboo shoots have a very pungent smell. They need to be boiled and rinsed at least three times before using in any dish. Once you remove that overpowering smell, bamboo shoots are delicious and it has a nice crunchy texture.

Every time I make Vietnamese chicken soup with bamboo shoots, I'm reminded of the first time I made it and how my newly wedded husband ate some just to make me happy. I couldn't eat it myself. That poor guy.



Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Bamboo Shoots Recipe (Canh Ga Nau Mang)

Serves 4-6


Chicken (Ga)

  • 1 whole Red Chicken (discard spine then cut into large bite size pieces; you can use regular chickens if Red Chickens are not available in your area)

  • 1 tablespoon chicken soup powder

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 small shallots (peel and finely chop)

Bamboo Shoots (Mang)

  • 2 cups young bamboo cut into strips (boil and rinse at least three times)

  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon chicken soup powder


  • 5 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fried shallots

  • 1-2 green onions (slice thin)



  1. Combine the chicken with chicken soup powder, fish sauce, pepper, MSG (optional) and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in fridge for best results.

  2. Combine the bamboo shoots with sugar and chicken stock powder. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in fridge for best results.

  3. Add vegetable oil to the bottom of a small stock pot. Heat on medium high then add shallots and lightly fry until fragrant (about 15 seconds). Add marinated chicken and lightly toss with shallots. Then add the marinated bamboo shots and lightly toss with the shallots. Turn down heat to low if necessary to avoid burning shallots.

  4. Add water to the stock pot. Turn up the heat to bring the pot to a boil then reduce heat to low. Slowly simmer for one hour with lid on. Scoop away scum if any floats to the top.

  5. After one hour, season with fish sauce and sugar as needed.

  6. Top with fried shallots and green onions for a finished look. Serve with steamed white rice and a choice of Vietnamese meat side dishes (Vietnamese caramelized pork, Vietnamese caramelized pork with pineapples, Vietnamese caramelized pork with eggs, Vietnamese caramelized cat fish, Vietnamese caramelized chicken with ginger, Vietnamese caramelized pork spare ribs, and Vietnamese caramelized shrimp) for a complete Vietnamese family dinner.