Bun mam cua (a black, pungent crab noodle rice vermicelli soup with crab sauce) is a must-try specialty for visitors in Pleiku city in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
Locals refer to this dish as "smelly vermicelli" as the soup has a strong smell that comes from the way it is made.
To prepare the dish, several kilos of freshwater crabs are washed and crushed after their shells are removed. This is then strained with water and set aside for a day to ferment. The water turns black and gives off a strong odor.
The cook slices fresh or dried bamboo shoots and puts them into a pot of boiling crab water on a low fire. The longer these are cooked, the sweeter the bamboo shoots are, making the crab broth tastier.
Besides crab and bamboo shoots, the dish also contains deep-fried pork skin or shrimp crackers and fried onions.
Customers can choose between side dishes of spring rolls, pork sausage and fresh vegetables. The dish is served with fish sauce and spicy minced chili peppers to increase the flavour.