Bún Thịt Nướng is a Vietnamese rice noodle bowl with vegetables, herbs, grilled pork, and a nuoc cham (seasoned fish sauce) dipping sauce. It is one of the go-to dishes I order when we go to the local Vietnamese restaurant. I have always been a little intimidated to try it myself since the ingredient list seemed so long, but it actually doesn’t take too long to assemble. Most of the work can be done while the pork is marinating. As long as you keep all the components separate until ready to eat, this dish is also perfect for leftovers.
If you have any Cha Gio (Vietnamese Egg Rolls) around, slice them into 3-4 pieces and place on top of the Bun Thit Nuong to make Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio. I have been ordering this more often in restaurants to share with Evan. He has become quite the picky eater recently, but still goes crazy for lumpia/cha gio/egg rolls.
Bun are rice vermicelli similar in shape to spaghetti. I was able to find them at the Asian food market. I cooked them ahead of time in boiling water, drained well, and refrigerated to cool until ready to use.
Lemongrass is a tall perennial herb native to Southeast Asia. It has a light citrus flavor. I have been able to find it in the vegetable or herb section of larger grocery stores and Asian food markets. If you absolutely can’t find it fresh, it is also often available frozen or in jars. Cut away the fibrous parts of the stalk, the top third if not already trimmed, and the woody root tip before mincing. I usually freeze extra lemongrass in about 2 inch pieces for future use.
I avoid bean sprouts during pregnancy, so they are not in the photographs.
Nước chấm is a dipping sauce made by seasoning fish sauce with lime/lemon/vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, and Thai (bird’s eye) chilies. It will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days if lemon or lime juice are added, but closer to a week with the use of distilled white vinegar. You can pour the sauce over the Bun Thit Nuong or keep it on the side as a dipping sauce.
I didn’t use an outdoor grill since it is a bit cold outside, but a large grill basket set on the grill works well to cook the pork since it is so thin.
Thit Nuong (Pork):
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons finely minced lemongrass
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pork shoulder, thinly sliced into 2-3 inch strips
Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers:
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
1 large cucumber, peeled and julienned
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Nuoc Cham (Seasoned Fish Sauce):
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, lemon, or lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 red Thai chiles, stem removed and minced
Mo Hanh (Scallion Oil):
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions
8 ounces Bun rice noodles, cooked and refrigerated
2 cups lettuce, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
To prepare the pork marinade: In a large bowl or large ziploc bag, combine soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, and brown sugar. Mix in shallots, lemongrass, cilantro, garlic, green onions, and black pepper. Add the pork, tossing to coat thoroughly.Refrigerate 30-45 minutes.
To prepare the carrots and cucumber: Toss the julienned carrots and cucumber in a medium bowl. Add enough rice wine vinegar to cover. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To prepare the Nuoc Cham: In a medium bowl, whisk together fish sauce, water, sugar, and vinegar until sugar dissolves. Whisk in garlic and chiles. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
To make the scallion oil: In a small skillet, drizzle canola oil over low heat. Once heated, add the chopped scallions and cook just until the green parts begin to wilt, but are still bright, 2-3 minutes.
Place a grill, grill pan, or large skillet over medium high heat. Lightly grease with oil. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature 5-10 minutes. Once the grill/skillet is heated, grill the meat in a single layer in batches until browned, 1-2 minutes. Flip to brown the other side, another 1-2 minutes. Repeat with remaining pork.
Divide cooked rice noodles among serving bowls. Top with lettuce, cilantro, and bean sprouts, then carrots/cucumber and grilled pork. Brush the pork with the green onion oil. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve immediately with nuoc cham.