Bun ken, or snakehead fish noodle soup, involves a sophisticated cooking process. After the fish is cooked in boiling water, the chef will fillet it and turn it into 'mam ruoc' (shrimp paste) through fermentation.
Some of the meat is stir-fried with onion, garlic, curry powder, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, and fish meal. Then the chef puts this mixture into a pot of fish broth, adds seasoning and coconut milk and boils on a fire.
The broth has a sweetish taste from the coconut milk.
It is served with dried shrimp, fish paste, bean sprouts and cucumber on top. Foodies can also add lemon, chili and fish sauce to fit their taste. A bowl costs VND20,000 (US$0.86).