Radiant Crab Riêu – Vite Ramen

Radiant Crab Riêu

Peppery birdseye spice. An infusion of caramelized onions, scallions, and citrus. These were the ingredients picked to create the perfect ramen. But then, R&D head Philena purposefully added another ingredient to the concoction.

Succulently sweet crab.

Thus, Radiant Crab Riêu was born! Using a unique blend of tomatoes and shrimp to create a complex base, this Vietnamese comfort food fills your mouth with indulgent decadence.

But wait…that can’t be all there is to the story, right?

Let’s back up and start from the beginning.

Flavorful Beginnings

In September 2021, we tossed around ideas for creating a new Vite flavor. We were having trouble deciding between a hot and sour soup, or our very first all seafood experience. After getting requests for a seafood or creamy tomato variety across our socials, we knew what we had to do.

Pick a traditional recipe and completely rework it from scratch!

That’s how we ended up looking at Vietnamese Bún Riêu, or rather Mì Riêu as we weren’t going to use the usual Vermicelli noodles. It’s a rice noodle soup made with a base of tomato, fermented shrimp, and paddy crab paste that’s eaten alongside fresh veggies like split water spinach stems. The dish's name is inspired by the frothy, seafoam-like texture of the crab and egg inside the soup. Riêu refers to the crab paste “meatballs” inside the broth, which can break apart and start bobbing atop the other ingredients. For this reason, some speculate that the word Riêu is meant to express a type of “floatiness.” Many attribute the name Riêu to actually being seafoam, but this is a mistranslation.

(It's an interesting conversation about linguistics and cultural influences, but that’ll have to be another blog post. Don’t wanna shell ourselves into a tangent.)

Mì and Bún refer to the type of noodles the Riêu is paired with. Mì are yellow noodles made with wheat flour or egg, like the kind found in our ramen. The word Bún, however, is talking about the rice vermicelli noodles traditionally used in Riêu recipes. If you’ve ever ordered Vietnamese cuisine you’ll have surely seen these pale, moon-hued noodles before. Rice noodles come in a variety of thicknesses and shapes, from flat and wide to thin and tubular.

Depending on the Vietnam region you visit, Bun Riêu can be made with:

-Cha lua (Seasoned ground pork wrapped and boiled in a banana leaf)

-Pig’s feet

-Sea snails


-Blood pudding cubes

-Fried tofu


-Small shellfish

-Paddy Crabs (One-tenth the size of normal crabs, these crustaceans live abundantly in rice paddies in Vietnam.)

James and Philena (our Vietnamese Noodle Crew Members) had personal experience with the dish, so it felt like a good fit for us.

After getting approval from the team, Philena got to work.

She looked at numerous regional variants and online recipes. Most of what she found contained tiny Riêu meatballs made from prawns, crab, pork and shrimp. Other recipes called for purple perilla, also called the beefsteak plant, or fragrant spices like-

-Annatto seeds

-Black pepper (Used as a rub to flavor the meat directly)

-White pepper (Also rubbed onto the meat for direct seasoning)


-Thai chilis

-Thai Basil

-Pineapples (This counts as a spice right?)

-Rock sugar


-Banana blossoms (What's eaten with the soup is actually a banana blossom salad - everything in it is sliced very thinly and served with a light fish sauce mixture) 



-Lemon Balm

-Tamarind Powder

And many, many more. Obviously we couldn’t fit all that into an instant ramen because approaching a recipe with knowledge of what tastes delicious together and what can be obtained in powdered form are two different beasts. Everyone at Vite wanted to make a dish that reminded people of home and felt familiar. Our staff has family from both northern and southern regions, but they mainly lived in the south, so Philena wanted to understand the taste she knew as closely as she could. It’s one of the main reasons why she researched all these various ingredients to see how that familiarity could be recreated in our own style. We also took into account the ingredients that’d create the most balanced flavor so everyone’s introduction to Crab Riêu would be pleasantly smooth. Even at home their families have differences between what levels of fermented shrimp paste everyone prefers, so flavors like it and fish sauce could always be added in later.

Of course, each of these ingredients would need to be properly tested to see how well they taste alongside our nutrients...which might take quite a while depending on the flavor…

You know, sticking with things we already have and know how to work with sounds great doesn’t it?

That’s why we went with a recipe utilizing a crab powder base, with tomatoes, roasted onion and shrimp extracts.

(Can’t forget about our secret spice blends tossed into the mix for an extra kick.)

Where traditional Bún Riêu calls for simmering pork bones to create a rich broth, we wanted ours to be completely pescatarian friendly and focus completely on the seafood for a premium taste and feel. So we nixed the pork broth in favor of a pork flavoring mixture to keep the traditional taste in an innovative way.

We know that sounds kinda weird. Think of it like…a veggie burger. They use beans to replicate the taste, look, and feel of meat so you still get the juicy experience everyone else does. That’s basically what we’ve done with the pork flavorings in this Crab Rieu. So... a veggie burger... that replaces pork... in... a soup…but like not the texture, and not the taste and like uh...


Y'know what. Don't worry about it, it’s fine.

It also meant that our broth would be clear and thin rather than thick and creamy, which is what we wanted because the contrasting flavors would be rich enough as is. Especially when paired with our aroma oils. More importantly, that thin and clear broth is just how Vietnamese Bun Riêu is made, alongside most Vietnamese broths, in order to create food that is light, filling, and refreshing in the humid summer heat.

To help hone things down during development we tried many instant noodle varieties, creating two workable bases we could tweak as needed.

(Note: These are only some of the variations we tried during testing.)

Draft A was a bit too spicy. Draft B mystified Philena for a while, changing something in the tasting notes she couldn’t quite decipher.

Then she tried them with the oils. The initial thought was to pair the broth with yuzu, garlic, and onion. These flavors typically work well with acidic notes like tomato. They also brighten up the subtle sweetness of the crab, giving you a fresh bite every time.

…why does that sound like a toothpaste commercial

Yuzu was also specifically chosen because Bun Riêu is served with lime wedges, so we found the addition of the citrusy taste really helped drive home that flavor familiarity.

The more Philena tested the oils though, the more she realized the yuzu overtook the other two flavors. After getting the components lowered without much of a change, she considered upping the garlic or outright removing it to give a smoother flavor profile. Undeterred by the flavor gauntlet thrown her way, Philena kept adjusting the oil combinations and started writing down nutritional information, hoping the change would give her mind a break. One cool thing she noticed from all the testing was, despite the strong taste, the oil coated the noodles evenly even without the use of a neutral oil.

She started sending taste testing samples to her mother and our company President James to get a fresh perspective on the matter. They ended up loving it!

(Yeah even James loved it, and he has a notorious dislike for any and all spicy things! Tim did the only reasonable thing and launched an immediate investigation to ensure we had no imposters among us.)

A sigh of relief fell over the R&D department. Back when we were figuring out our Beef Pho flavor, Philena and her Mom hadn’t been too fond of it at first. The flavors never felt like they captured the true essence of the dish. With this dish though, everything felt closer to memories of home the way we wanted.

At last it was complete. Flavor wise at least.

It’s around this time we played around with naming the soup. We realized not everyone was gonna understand what Bún Riêu was, so we tried coming up with ideas that would adequately translate it without taking away the dish’s unique Vietnamese heritage.

James suggested Vietnamese Tomato Soup, but that would lead to way too much confusion about what the ramen actually tasted like. Names like Crab Mi Riêu were a bit too redundant, translating directly to crab noodle crab paste. Seafoam noodles were a good contender for a while! Unfortunately, we found out that seafoam also refers to a car detailing technique so…

We ended up going to a generic Crab Tomato Mi Riêu.

It still didn’t suit the flavor profiles we were aiming for in the marketing though. We needed a new direction, so we took a step back and focused hard on getting the packaging down.

Around early 2022 we began work on the packaging designs. Things were going smoothly, and we anticipated a release date of a few months later.


Cue April 2022 and the onslaught of never-ending supply chain issues. Everything we had in stock needed to be re-routed to our mainline flavors so we could keep things running as usual. While we waited on new ingredients to get delivered, we refined the packaging design, got those delivered to us in June, reworked and improved the recipe again, and sent test samples to our photographer for some sexy August food photo shoots.

Months passed in a smoky aether. The delays kept getting longer, floating ingredients into the wind. We went to Offkai, launched V-tuber packaging, and the crab slowly faded into the background.

Until the last ingredients tumbled from June 2023’s pocket into our warehouse. Everything convened. It was time.

Tim, Freya and our new graphic designer Liza worked back and forth for days trimming down the packaging-replacing every asset to better suit the new premium look we desired. An elegant neon crab embossed against black satin tantalizes the eyes.

(A cute little tidbit that didn’t fit anywhere else is that Liza loves using Meow as stand-in copy. So for a good chunk of time the crab package was dotted by entire paragraphs of just meowmeowmeow.)

Philena stared down governmental agency websites, rewriting the ingredients list as the marketing team worked on coming up with a name. To emulate a more summery feeling Tim suggested we go with radiant. The name Radiant invokes the passionate fires we use to constantly elevate the flavors we create. Plus, crabs are really adorable. Like an armored panda running capybara software.


Okay that one’s a lie, Tim suggested Radiant because a lot of us play Valorant and thought it’d be funny. It fits though, right?

(shameless shill if you’re a Valorant enjoyer-- check out when we played as the final bosses in the Thanatos Valorant Invitational and curb stomped the champions of that tournament: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N2UFIxV1Vg)

We smashed them together for the sake of making a billion Dota, Valorant, and Arknights jokes and bam! We had our newest flavor.

Thus, the true origin of our Radiant Crab Riêu is revealed!

All that was left to do was craft up tasting notes, make some last minute instruction changes, and get all the packages to production.

Oh and plan a social campaign, write emails, write follow-up emails and…

There are a ton of processes we’re still working on.

But, you can expect our Radiant Crab Riêu to come out next week!


  • I’m sorry that the subscription service is being abused. I know that in my case part of the difficulty is that I have a few favorite flavors which I cannot order together in a 9 or 18 pack (Spicy Seiso, Yuzu Shoyu and Japanese Curry). I am hoping the new flavor will be added to the list. Does the current system allow for a bit more flexibility in terms of variety/combination of flavors? I could easily see myself subscribing to receive 9 or 18 packs a month if I could choose the 3 flavors in them.

  • where is the crab rave song??

  • Can’t wait!

  • Thanks for writing this, I love all the details of the development process, and thank you for the pescatarian friendliness, it’s much appreciated!

    Elisabeth O'Sullivan

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