Canh Bau – Opo Squash Soup

Canh Bau Recipe

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a day for us to remember the brave who have fallen.  Memorial Day is especially important to our family because without the help of many of those fallen, my parents would not have made it to America almost 40 years ago, and they would not have been able to give our family a life filled with opportunities, opportunities like the freedom to write this blog.  We give thanks to everyone who has sacrificed for our freedom.

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is…easy, easy, easy.  Canh Bau – Opo Squash Soup takes an easy-to-find summer vegetable and transforms it into an easy weekday meal.  Opo squash is so readily available that you can often find it in your neighborhood supermarket, which means this recipe doesn’t even require a trip to the Asian market.

There are two ways of making the meat in a Canh Bau recipe:  you can fry the meat first, or, as described here, drop the meat by rounded teaspoons into the Canh Bau broth.  Mom prefers the second method because it keeps the flavor within the marinated meat.  Both methods are easy, easy, easy.  Go ahead – tell your family you slaved in the kitchen; we’ll keep the ease of this meal between the two of us.

Canh Bau – Opo Squash Soup

INGREDIENTS – makes 4 servings

For the Canh Bau meat marinade:

  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 5 medium shrimp, smashed (use the back end of a large knife)
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1.5 tsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped

For the Canh Bau broth:

  • 2 C. chicken broth
  • 2 C. water
  • 2 lb. bau (opo squash), peeled & chopped into 1.5″ pieces
  • 5 tsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • chopped cilantro & pepper for garnish

    Canh Bau Recipe.  Opo squash.
    Bau or Opo Squash. Look for brightly colored skin and a slender, oblong shape.



  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the meat and marinade ingredients above.  Mix well to combine. Wait at least 10 minutes before moving to the next step, to allow the meat for Canh Bau to marinade.  (This is a good time to peel & chop your bau.)

    Canh Bau recipe
    Marinate the meat for Canh Bau for at least 10 minutes before moving to the next step.



  1. In  medium stockpot, heat 2 C. chicken broth and 2 C. water on high heat until it starts to boil.
  2. Gently drop the marinated meat by rounded teaspoons into the broth.
  3. Add the chopped bau (opo squash) to the broth.  Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, cooking for 10 minutes.

    Canh Bau Recipe
    Bau or Opo Squash is opaque when raw but will become translucent as it cooks.
  4. Once the above has cooked for 10 minutes, add to the broth 5 tsp. nuoc mam and 2 tsp. sugar.  Stir gently.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes, at which point, the bau should be translucent.  Remove the Canh Bau from heat and serve garnished with chopped cilantro, a fine dusting of pepper, and a side of white rice.  Easy, easy, easy!  Enjoy!

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4 thoughts on “Canh Bau – Opo Squash Soup”

    • Thanks for the question! You can certainly eat the seeds of opo squash, just like with a zucchini squash. If the squash stayed on the vine too long, the seeds may be a bit hard, in which case, just slice them away. Hope your Canh Bau worked out! -wwc

  • This recipe worked really well, and the broth was very flavorful. I made a small variation, adding a handful of egg noodles to the pot about 10-15 minutes before serving. It gave the impression of a deconstructed wonton soup, though the flavors were slightly different. My husband, who’s white and occasionally leery about unfamiliar foods, loved it.

  • This was simple and delicious! I’m looking for soup recipes now that autumn is here and this is going to be part of the regular rotation. Thanks for sharing! The best sign of success? My 8 year old ate it!

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