Bún Thịt Nướng Recipe (Vietnamese Grilled Pork & Rice Noodles)

This is love in a bowl. If you’ve had bún thịt nướng you know what I’m talking about.

You have your sweet bits, sour bits, caramelization, some crunch, and aromatic herbs in a single, colorful arrangement. Depending in which restaurant you order your grilled pork with noodles (bún thịt nướng), you’ll find that it’s presented in different ways. For the most part, ingredients are the same, and they’re both eaten with prepared fish sauce (nước chấm).

Thịt nướng litererally means baked or barbecued meat and in this case it’s traditionally barbecued, and the meat is always pork. Bún means noodles, and for this dish it’s a rice vermicelli noodle which is sold in small packages as dried rice sticks.

step-by-step-bun-thit-nuong

The presentation of bún thịt nướng in the pictorial above follows the Southern Vietnamese. You usually eat it by mixing everything including the fish sauce. I like to keep the dipping sauce separate, so there isn’t a pool of the sauce at the bottom. It helps to control the amount of sauce per bite, cuz ya know, I’m crazy like that. The bowl is finally garnished with onions in oil (mở hành) and chopped peanuts I like mine with egg rolls (chả giò) on top. I also like adding cucumbers, which is a Southern ingredient.

In the North, the presentation is slightly different. The rice noodles and vegetables each arrive on their own plate. The meat is put in a small bowl, swimming in prepared fish sauce. The meat is additionally paired with a pork sausage, called cha (the dish is called bun cha instead). Đồ chua is added on top of the bowl of meat. Northerners eat this by building each bite in their personal bowl.

Thịt nướng in Huế is a whole other beast.

However you decide to serve yours, you’re in for a treat!

Some differences in the marinade also really affect the flavor of the meat. Only Northerners use lemon grass in the marinade. Some recipes for this dish also call for sesame oil, or sesame seeds, but those do not follow Northern or Southern tradition (it’s possibly influenced from the central region).

bun-thit-nuong

Chop and prep all of your ingredients and combine in a bowl before adding the meat. This makes sure it mixes more evenly.
bun-thit-nuong1

Add the pork to the mixture and mix. Pork shoulder has a nice balance of fat for this–pork butt is a bit too lean. Marinate for at least 1 hour, but for better results–marinate overnight.
bun-thit-nuong22

Thịt nướng is usually barbecued, with a wire grilling basket like this one. If you want to make it traditionally, grill it over charcoals. I made this in the oven because it’s a lot easier and it is still delicious. If you have time, barbecuing it is worth the extra effort.

Boil the dried rice vermicelli (bún) according to the package instructions. This usually comes in small, medium, and large noodle thickness for about $1.50 per pack. I prefer small and medium thickness for this dish–thinner ones also cook much faster.
bun-thit-nuong3

Now that you’ve had an earful of information, time to eat!

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Bún Thịt Nướng Recipe (Vietnamese Grilled Pork & Rice Noodles)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs pork, sliced
  • 1 package rice vermicelli (small or medium thickness)
  • 4-6 egg rolls if you wish (chả giò)
Marinade
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 shallots, minced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ tbs thick soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp neutral cooking oil
Vegetables
  • mint – (rau thơm)
  • Vietnamese perilla – tiá tô
  • Vietnamese balm – kinh giới
  • cucumbers, sliced – (dua leo)
Garnish
Dipping Sauce
Instructions
  1. Freeze the pork slightly so you can slice it thinly. About ⅛" or slightly thicker works well.
  2. Mince garlic and shallots. Mix in a bowl with sugar, fish sauce, thick soy sauce, pepper, and oil until sugar dissolves.
  3. Marinate the meat for at least 1 hour, or overnight for better results.
  4. Bake the pork for 10-15 minutes or until almost done. Finish cooking by broiling in the oven until a nice golden brown develops.

 

Comments

  1. OMG I’m dying for this. Will try your way of marinating :)

  2. Toàn là thịt không thấy cọng bún nào. Hihi. Cám ơn anh Huy đã chia sẻ ^^

  3. Briana E. says:

    This is the dish of my dream. I have most of these ingredients, I am going to run off to the store and pick up the rest right away so I can make this and no longer have to go out to eat it! I am so happy I found your site, everything you make is a favorite for me.

  4. That looks so nice and fresh and tasty!

  5. As always, you do not disappoint. Another recipe to bookmark.

  6. At what temperature to bake the pork?

    • Ah sorry I missed that! You can bake around 375 and check the meat for doneness as it cooks. You just want to cook it almost all the way through before broiling it.

  7. Ah, just came back from the gym and these photos are making me hungry. The marinade sounds delicious. Your knowledge about the different regions is really impressive too. I think I’d like it with lemongrass—does that make me more of a Northerner? ;-)

  8. How many servings for this recipe?

  9. Hi, Huy- about how large are your shallots? In the pic, it looks about the size of a quarter cup. Shallots from my Asian market are huge, whereas the ones at my American markets are just about the size of 2-3 garlic cloves.

    • Hey Ellen, the one used here is almost the size of a full bulb of garlic, so more likely the Asian variety. I wouldn’t be too afraid of over-shalloting though.

  10. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Huy! What part of the pig you use? Perhaps the shoulder?

  11. Sorry, I’m not familiar with “thick soy sauce.” Is that like the Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce tuong gia vi?

  12. Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know that I tried your recipe as well as the recipe for nước chấm and it was…DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  13. Semimoonman says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This recipe solves two problems for me: 1) where to get good bun in rural Vermont and 2) what to do with all those “fresh ham steaks” from our pig. I’ve tried a few other recipes and nothing has worked close to this well.

    This is delicious. I ended up skewering and grilling these over low heat. I’ll be making more soon.

  14. Can you use dark soy sauce to replace the thick soy sauce? Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Hi Michelle! I think dark soy sauce is a denser, deeper colored sauce with sodium. You’d probably have to adjust the recipe slightly to use this as a substitute (I’ve never tried).

      Thick soy sauce is for color. If you don’t have it you can follow my caramel color recipe to replace it. Hope that helps!

  15. Great recipe! One of my favorite dishes. One question, will Indonesian kecap manis work for the soy sauce? Thanks!

    • I’m not familiar with kecap manis, so I’m not sure, sorry! It sounds like a thick, sugar-added soy sauce though so may be able to adjust the recipe to use it.

  16. great blog! can’t wait to try this one out!

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