Bun thit nuong, a beloved Vietnamese dish, is a vibrant and flavorful combination of grilled pork, rice vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and a delightful balance of sweet and sour flavors. It is a dish that encapsulates the essence of Vietnamese cuisine and has gained popularity both within Vietnam and internationally.
Origin of the name
The name “bún thịt nướng” translates to “grilled meat with noodles,” highlighting the two key components of the dish. Thịt nướng refers to the tender, marinated pork that is traditionally barbecued to perfection, resulting in a caramelized and smoky flavor. The meat is often sliced into thin, succulent pieces, offering a delightful texture and taste.
The bún in bún thịt nướng refers to rice vermicelli noodles, which are delicate and translucent strands made from rice flour. These noodles provide a light and refreshing base for the dish, allowing the other ingredients to shine through. They are typically served cold or at room temperature, creating a contrast to the warm grilled pork.
Accompanying the grilled pork and rice vermicelli noodles are an array of vibrant ingredients that add depth and complexity to the dish. Aromatic herbs such as mint, cilantro, and Thai basil are commonly included, providing a fresh and fragrant element. Additionally, sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts, and pickled carrots and daikon radishes contribute a satisfying crunch and a touch of acidity.
To elevate the flavors of bún thịt nướng, a prepared fish sauce called nước chấm is commonly served alongside the dish. This sauce combines savory fish sauce, tangy lime juice, sweet sugar, and a hint of chili for a delightful balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors. The nước chấm acts as a dipping sauce and is drizzled over the noodles and pork, tying all the elements together.
Bún thịt nướng is not only a delicious and satisfying meal but also a representation of Vietnamese culinary artistry. Its colorful presentation, diverse textures, and harmonious blend of flavors make it a standout dish in Vietnamese cuisine. Whether enjoyed at a street food stall in Vietnam or a Vietnamese restaurant abroad, bún thịt nướng is sure to captivate your taste buds and leave a lasting impression.
Why does this recipe work?
There are several reasons why you’ll fall in love with this Vietnamese Grilled Pork & Noodles recipe:
- Bursting with Flavor: The marinade used for the pork infuses it with a delightful combination of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors. This creates a mouthwatering taste that will leave you craving more.
- Versatile Cooking Methods: Whether you have access to a grill, oven, or stovetop grill pan, you can easily prepare this dish using your preferred method. This flexibility allows you to enjoy the dish regardless of the season or available cooking equipment.
- Year-Round Enjoyment: Unlike traditional grilling methods that may be limited to certain seasons, baking the skewers in the oven ensures you can savor this dish throughout the year. No need to wait for barbecue season to indulge in the deliciousness of Vietnamese grilled pork.
- Easy and Hands-Off Preparation: The recipe is straightforward and requires minimal effort. Once the pork is marinated and skewered, it can be baked or grilled while you attend to other tasks. The simplicity of the preparation allows you to enjoy a flavorful meal without spending too much time in the kitchen.
- Quick Completion: While the pork is cooking, you can boil the rice noodles, which takes just a few minutes. With the main components of the dish ready, assembling the final bowl becomes a breeze. This means you can have a satisfying and delicious meal on the table in no time.
- Customizable Toppings: This recipe offers versatility when it comes to toppings and garnishes. You can add your favorite herbs, such as mint, cilantro, or Thai basil, to enhance the freshness and aroma of the dish. Additionally, you can personalize your bowl by including sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts, and pickled vegetables for added texture and flavor.
Bún thịt nướng Recipe
Cooking notes for bún thịt nướng
- Yield: The recipe typically yields 4 servings.
- Prep Time: Approximately 30 minutes
- Cook Time: Varies depending on the cooking method (grilling, baking, stovetop).
- Total Time: Approximately 1 hour (including marinating time)
- Course: Main dish
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
- Equipment: Grill, oven, or grill pan; mixing bowl; skewers
For the Grilled Pork:
- 1 pound (450g) pork belly or pork shoulder, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Noodles and Toppings:
- 8 ounces (225g) rice vermicelli noodles
- Lettuce leaves
- Fresh herbs (Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, peppermint, Vietnamese perilla)
- Cucumber, thinly sliced
- Bean sprouts
- Pickled carrots and daikon radish
- Roasted peanuts, crushed
For the Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham):
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-2 Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced (optional)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, honey (or sugar), vegetable oil, minced garlic, minced shallot, and black pepper. Mix well to create the marinade.
- Add the thinly sliced pork to the marinade, ensuring that each piece is well coated. Allow the pork to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably up to 2 hours, in the refrigerator.
- While the pork is marinating, prepare the dipping sauce (nuoc cham) by combining fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, water, minced garlic, and sliced chili peppers (if using) in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Cook the rice vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Preheat your grill, oven, or grill pan to medium-high heat. If using skewers, thread the marinated pork onto them.
- Grill or cook the pork until it is well-charred and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the slices.
- Once the pork is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it into bite-sized pieces.
- To assemble the bún thịt nướng bowls, divide the cooked rice vermicelli noodles among serving bowls. Arrange the lettuce leaves, fresh herbs, cucumber slices, bean sprouts, pickled carrots and daikon radish, and sliced grilled pork on top of the noodles.
- Sprinkle crushed roasted peanuts over the bowls.
- Serve the bowls with the prepared dipping sauce (nuoc cham) on the side.
- To enjoy, mix all the ingredients in the bowl together, ensuring that everything is well combined with the dipping sauce.
- Calories: 500-600
- Fat: 25-30g
- Carbohydrates: 45-55g
- Protein: 25-30g
- Fiber: 2-3g
Best tips for grilling meat
When it comes to grilling meat for bún thịt nướng, here are some helpful tips to achieve the best results:
- Use a Charcoal Grill: For an authentic bún thịt nướng experience, opt for a charcoal grill. The smoky flavors from the charcoal will enhance the taste of the grilled meat.
- Bring Meat to Room Temperature: Before grilling, take the marinated pork out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. This allows for more even cooking from edge to center.
- Set Up Two-Zone Grilling: Place the charcoal or coals on one side of the grill, creating two heat zones. This setup allows for searing the meat over direct heat and then moving it to the cooler side for indirect heat cooking.
- Preheat the Grill: Let the grill temperature rise to around 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit (190-205 degrees Celsius) before placing the meat on it. This ensures a proper sear and caramelization of the sugars in the marinade.
- Start with Direct Heat: Begin grilling the marinated pork on the hot side of the grill. The initial direct heat will sear the meat, creating a flavorful crust and locking in the juices.
- Move to Indirect Heat: After searing the meat, move it to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking. This indirect heat allows for gentle and even cooking, resulting in tender meat without excessive charring.
- Watch for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork and ensure it reaches a safe level. The specific temperature may vary depending on the type of meat and desired doneness.
- Rest the Meat: Once the pork is cooked to your desired doneness, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in a juicier and more flavorful final product.
- Don’t Forget to Share: While it may be tempting to eat all the grilled pork as it comes off the grill, remember to share the deliciousness with others and enjoy the bún thịt nướng as a complete and satisfying dish.
What to serve with bun thit nuong?
Lettuce: Crisp lettuce leaves, such as iceberg or butter lettuce, provide a refreshing and crunchy base for the dish. They can be used to wrap the grilled pork and noodles or simply added to the bowl for added texture.
Fresh Herbs: Traditional Vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowls are often adorned with an array of aromatic herbs, which add a burst of flavor. Popular herb choices include Vietnamese mint (rau răm), Thai basil (húng quế), peppermint (húng lui), and Vietnamese perilla (tiá tô). These herbs can be torn or thinly sliced and scattered over the bowl.
Cucumber: Sliced cucumbers offer a cool and crisp element to balance the flavors. They add a refreshing crunch and provide a refreshing contrast to the warm grilled pork and noodles.
Bean Sprouts: Fresh bean sprouts contribute a satisfying texture and a subtle nuttiness. They are commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine to add a crisp and fresh element to various dishes, including bún thịt nướng.
Pickled Carrot and Daikon: Thinly sliced or julienned pickled carrot and daikon radish are often included to add a tangy and slightly sweet flavor. The pickled vegetables provide a delightful contrast to the rich and savory grilled pork.
Roasted Peanuts: Crushed or chopped roasted peanuts offer a wonderful nutty flavor and a pleasant crunch. They are a common topping in Vietnamese cuisine and add a delicious textural contrast to the dish.
Nuoc Cham: A sweet and tangy dipping sauce called nuoc cham is a staple accompaniment to bún thịt nướng. This sauce typically combines fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, water, and chili for a well-balanced flavor. Drizzle it over the bowl to enhance the taste of the grilled pork, noodles, and other ingredients.
How to store Vietnamese rice noodles with grilled pork?
To store bún thịt nướng, you can follow these guidelines:
- Cooked Pork: Place any leftover cooked pork in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It can be kept for up to 3-5 days. If you want to store it for a longer period, you can freeze the cooked pork. Wrap it tightly in freezer-safe packaging or seal it in a freezer bag. Frozen pork can be stored for up to 1 month.
- Rice Vermicelli Noodles: If you have leftover cooked rice vermicelli noodles, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. Rice noodles have a tendency to dry out when stored, so it’s best to sprinkle a little water on them before reheating to help moisten them.
- Pickled Daikon and Carrot: The pickled daikon and carrot can be stored in a glass jar or airtight container in the refrigerator. They should be submerged in the pickling liquid to maintain their quality. Stored properly, they can last for up to 1 month. Make sure to use clean utensils when scooping out the pickled vegetables to prevent contamination.
- Garlic Fish Sauce Dressing (Nuoc Cham): Store the prepared nuoc cham in a glass jar or airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be kept for up to 1 month. Give it a good stir before using it again to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed.
When you are ready to enjoy the bún thịt nướng leftovers, follow these steps:
- Cooked Pork: If the pork was frozen, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. To reheat, you can steam the pork on a steamer for about 10 minutes or microwave it until it is warmed through.
- Rice Vermicelli Noodles: To reheat the rice vermicelli noodles, you can place them in a microwave-safe dish and microwave them in short intervals, checking and stirring in between, until they are heated to your desired temperature.
- Pickled Daikon and Carrot: The pickled daikon and carrot can be used directly from the refrigerator without reheating.
- Nuoc Cham: The nuoc cham can be used as it is, straight from the refrigerator.
Assemble the bún thịt nướng by arranging the reheated or cold components in a bowl, including the pork, rice vermicelli noodles, pickled daikon and carrot, and any other desired toppings. Drizzle the garlic fish sauce dressing over the bowl, mix everything together, and enjoy!
Can I substitute chicken thigh or beef for thịt nướng?
Absolutely! While thịt nướng traditionally uses pork, you can definitely substitute chicken thigh or beef to create variations of the dish. Here’s how you can adapt the recipe:
- Chicken Thigh (Gà Nướng): Chicken thigh meat is a great alternative to pork. It has more fat and moisture compared to chicken breast, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful outcome. You can marinate the chicken thighs in the same marinade used for thịt nướng and grill or bake them until cooked through. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
- Beef (Bò Nướng): Beef can also be used for a delicious bò nướng version of the dish. Choose cuts like beef sirloin, tenderloin, or flank steak for grilling or broiling. Marinate the beef in the same marinade or customize it to your liking. Adjust the cooking time depending on the cut and desired doneness. It’s best to cook beef to a safe internal temperature, such as 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare or 160°F (71°C) for medium.
Is bun thit nuong served hot or cold?
Bún thịt nướng is typically served with a combination of warm and cold elements, making it a versatile and satisfying dish.
The grilled pork, which is the main component of bún thịt nướng, is served warm. It is traditionally grilled to perfection, resulting in tender and flavorful meat with a slightly caramelized exterior.
On the other hand, the noodles and vegetables in bún thịt nướng are served cold. Rice vermicelli noodles are cooked and then cooled down before being used as the base of the dish. This helps create a refreshing contrast to the warm grilled pork.
How do you eat a bun thit nuong?
To enjoy bún thịt nướng, pour the nuoc cham dipping sauce into the bowl and mix it with all the other ingredients. With each bite, you’ll experience a delightful combination of sweet, savory, meaty, crunchy, and slippery textures and flavors. The deliciousness of the bowl of bún thịt nướng will capture your interest from the very first taste.
Bun thit nuong is a Vietnamese dish that embodies the vibrant and diverse flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.
This warm salad of grilled pork served on cold rice vermicelli noodles creates a delightful contrast of temperatures and textures.
With each bite, you’ll experience a harmonious combination of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors, complemented by the freshness of the herbs, the crunchiness of the vegetables, and the satisfying texture of the grilled meat.
The addition of the nuoc cham dipping sauce brings all the elements together, adding a burst of flavor that enhances every bite.
Whether you enjoy it at a street food stall in Vietnam or in a Vietnamese restaurant abroad, bún thịt nướng is a dish that will captivate your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
Its balance of flavors, customizable toppings, and versatility make it a beloved and enticing choice for Vietnamese food enthusiasts and newcomers alike.