Vietnamese Cucumber Soup – Canh dua leo

Vietnamese cucumber soup / canh dua leo is a home-style soup that my mom used to cook for us when we were kids. Since my daughter loves eating the fuzzy squash soup, I thought this would be a good soup for her to try although she hated raw cucumbers. Thank goodness it is toddler and baby approved.

  • Serving: 6-quart pot
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 5 to 7 cucumbers
  • 1 to 1.5 lb pork neck bones (1.2 lb in this pictorial)
  • 1/4 lb shrimps with shell and red heads
  • 2.5 quarts of water
  • about 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp extra light virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Viet Huong fish sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Euro Maggi seasoning sauce (optional)

Notes: I like using pork neck bones to make the pork bone broth for this soup because I like to knaw on the bones. The meat is tender and not too lean nor too fatty and that’s what how my daughter likes it best. Little Grace picked out her narrowed choice of seasoning ingredients. I would normally use about 1.5 Tbsp Viet Huong fish sauce instead and omit the Euro Maggi seasoning sauce.


1. Put pork bones in the 6-quart pot and fill with water to cover bones. Parboil the bones for about 10 minutes and then strain the liquid.

2. While waiting the water to boil the bones, peel, devein, and smash the shrimp. The cucumber peels help hold the cucumber pieces together and is fibrous. It won’t taste good leaving the peel on but the cucumber will fall to pieces kinda like potatoes without the peel so mom would partially peel it and cut it into pieces at a diagonal slant cut from one end while turning the cucumbers around.

3. Mix the seasoning mixture together.

4. Heat up oil to sizzle the minced garlic and smashed shrimp together. Then take it out and set aside for later.

5. Pour in the 2.5 quarts of water, the strained parboiled pork neck bones. Bring the pork bone broth to a boil.

6. Once broth boils, set timer to 30 minutes. Add in the cucumbers, seasoning mixture, and precooked shrimp. Turn heat down to medium low (#4 on my GE Spectra stove) and simmer until the cucumbers look transparent.

6. Turn off heat, add scallion and serve with rice. Enjoy! I deboned the meat for my little ones.

It’s baby approved too!

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