Napa Cabbage, Rice Vermicelli & Meatball Soup

Victoria Fu

"Napa Cabbage, Rice Vermicelli & Meatball Soup" was published in Active Cultures’ Digest, Issue 03, February 2020.

Image: Apron collaboration by Victoria Fu and Matthew Rich, 2020. Courtesy of the artists.


Victoria Fu was born in Santa Monica, California, and lives and works in San Diego and Los Angeles. She is an artist engaged in film and photography and has recently expanded her practice to include installation, performance, and sculpture. Her ongoing exploration of the ways in which light creates a sense of space, whether printed, digital, or projected, addresses our haptic relationship with images. Learn more about the artist here.

This is a recipe passed down from my mother. It's a favorite staple that the whole family enjoys (including the toddler!), and a relatively simple recipe that can be tweaked towards individual taste. One can sub out the pork for turkey meatballs; mustard greens or other minced greens for a certain flavor or texture.


Soak 2 bundles of rice vermicelli in warm water for 20 minutes and place aside.

Wash an entire Napa cabbage by peeling and washing each leaf, and cut each leaf in quarters. In a wok, stir fry the cabbage on medium heat until soft. Add bouillon to taste.

Prepare 1 package of ground pork by adding 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1-2 tablespoons of white wine, soy sauce, salt and black pepper to taste, a handful of minced ginger, diced onion, roughly chopped cilantro, chives or any greens of preference, bouillon—all to taste. Roll into meatballs, around 2 inches diameter, and place meatballs in boiling water until floating and set aside.

Place meatballs on top of cabbage in the wok. Add 1/2 carton of chicken stock and bring to boil. Put the lid on and then lower heat to a low boil. Drain and add vermicelli and add stock as desired as long as vermicelli remains submerged. Simmer for 10-15 more minutes. Serve hot.

Active Cultures is a cultural organization that explores the convergence of food and art in contemporary life.