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.

How to assemble a bowl of Vietnamese grilled pork with noodles (bun thit nuong) | HungryHuy.com

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!

 

A bowl of Vietnamese grilled pork with vermicelli noodles, eggrolls with fresh and pickled veggies (bun thit nuong) | HungryHuy.com

5.0 from 7 reviews
Bún Thịt Nướng Recipe (Vietnamese Grilled Pork & Rice Noodles)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4-5 bowls
Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds pork, sliced
  • 1 package rice vermicelli (small or medium thickness)
  • 4-6 egg rolls if you wish (chả giò)
Marinade
  • 3 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ½ tablespoon thick soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
Vegetables
  • mint – (rau thơm)
  • Vietnamese perilla – tiá tô
  • Vietnamese balm – kinh giới
  • cucumbers, sliced
Garnish
Dipping Sauce
Instructions
  1. Slice the uncooked pork thinly, about ⅛". It helps to slightly freeze it (optional).
  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 1 hour, or overnight for better results.
  4. Bake the pork at 375F for 10-15 minutes or until about 80% cooked. Finish cooking by broiling in the oven until a nice golden brown color develops, flipping the pieces midway.
  5. Assemble your bowl with veggies, noodles, and garnish. Many like to mix the whole bowl up and pour the fish sauce on top, but I like to make individual bites and sauce it slowly.

 

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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!

  17. what type of lettuce did you use? (romaine ? butter? leaf?)

    • I use leaf lettuce since I’m used to the smell and combo with Vietnamese herbs and flavors. Haven’t tried it with romaine lettuce or butter lettuce though, it might work too!

  18. I am excited to try this recipe this weekend but am wondering about how to cook the pork in the oven. Review above mentioned 375 for 10-15 minutes but do i just lay it out on a baking pan? thank you!

    • Hey Stephanie, sorry it wasn’t made clearer! Yes 375 for 10-15 minutes on a baking pan but don’t cook it all the way–crank it to broil to take it to the finish line to get some nice color on it. All times will vary depending on how far your tray is from the top, your oven, meat thickness, etc. so I’d use the times as an estimate. Hope that helps!

  19. Lyndsey Myers says:

    This was AMAZING. I couldn’t get my hands on thick soy sauce, so I excluded it. I actually used a little bit of Kitchen Bouquet (unconventional, yes) to provide a darker, more caramel color to the pork. Otherwise, grilled the pork whole on a gas grill and sliced to service. It was absolutely delicious.

    • Lyndsey, I’m glad you liked it! Thanks for the tip too–I’m sure it’ll help folks out who don’t have thick soy sauce on hand. Just gotta make sure to adjust the rest of the seasoning to not make it too salty.

    • DC Matthews says:

      I have never had the meat with soy sauce. Seems all the restaurants in Little Saigon and surrounding ( California) just do the fish sauce and the rest . also some use mint and cilantro shredded leaf lettuce and julienned cucumber in the base w/ pickled veggies and peanuts on top. I love perilla/shiso so I am growing it now, but that is hard to come by. Basil can also add flavor as a sub.

      • Hello DC! The ‘thick soy sauce’ is basically just color for the marinade and not for dipping. It doesn’t add a soy sauce flavor. So yes! You are correct about how these shops typically serve it.

        Awesome solution for foods you don’t have access to–just grow it yourself :)

  20. I made it and it was like heaven in my mouth! The best meat I’ve ever had.
    Thank you:)

  21. Huy, This evening my wife and I went to my favorite restaurant and I ordered this dish for both of us. I explained I have this dish two to three times a week for lunch. As we had dinner she told me she loved this dish. We just arrived home and I found this recipe. Going shopping tomorrow so I can let the meat marinade overnight and have it for dinner the next night. Love the pictures and simple instructions. Thanks!!! Bryan

    • Wow Bryan, 2-3 times a week for lunch–you’re a fanatic! Thanks and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      You could probably make 1 batch large enough to eat for a whole week, hah! Even though eating out is fun too. Hope it turns out as good as your restaurant :)

  22. Hey, love the recipe. Would this also work with pork chop if it were thinly sliced?

    • Hey Ryan, thank you! I imagine it should be ok without mods. If it’s pretty thick, the marinade as formulated may need adjustment or more time to have the same effect. Hope that helps.

  23. What kind of pork works best?

    Thanks!

  24. When you call for “1 shallot” are you referring to the entire shallot, or one bulb from the shallot? I just wanted to make sure, because I’ve seen this presented both ways in recipes.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Tony sorry for the confusion, I’ve updated the recipe to be more accurate. It should be 3 tablespoons of minced shallots and 1.5 tablespoons of minced garlic. Hope that helps!

  25. Thank you for sharing this recipe. This recipe is authentic Vietnamese cuisine that was very easy for me to make. The flavor profile brought me right back home. All of my American friends also loved the dish :)

    • Awesome Ann! Yep its pretty easy to make, and it’s safe enough for Americans to hang with if they aren’t afraid of fish sauce :). Thank you for sharing

  26. Huy oi,lam on goi ve email cach lam thit nuong bang tien Viet. Cam on rat nhieu !

  27. love this recipe, know it since some time and need to rate it with 5* :) good to see you back on track with the blog. regards from zurich, marco

    • Marco–I appreciate the kind words and thanks for the rating! I fell off the posting wagon a bit but I’m back. Didn’t know anyone was missing these posts hehe ;). You have great food photos and styling!

  28. Kimberly Tran says:

    Thanks for the recipe! You noted using pork shoulder over pork butt, but I believe that those are the same thing, as the pork shoulder consists of the pork butt and picnic.

    Maybe I’m just crazy, but I always thought the thit was marinated in ginger as well. I always felt that there was a distinct aroma to it.

    • Kimberly Tran says:

      I forgot to ask– Is Hoisin sauce a suitable substitute for the thick soy sauce?

      • Hi Kimberly!

        Yep those cuts are the same. I went for one without any skin or bones. I’m not sure if others put ginger in this. I’ve seen lemongrass sometimes though.

        Don’t swap the thick soy sauce with hoisin. The thick soy sauce is just for adding color, so if you can’t buy it, substitute with homemade caramel color instead (which to me, tastes better than thick soy sauce).

      • Kimberly Tran says:

        I’m hesitant to try the caramel color because I am not a fan of sweet tasting foods (such as honey ham, sweet BBQ sauce, etc). Do you feel that it sweetens the meat?

      • Honey ham is pretty dang sweet to me, but I do like BBQ sauce. This recipe isn’t nearly as sweet as those.

        As you darken the caramel more it will taste slightly more bitter vs sweet. Also you can cut down the amount of caramel color in the marinade too. Hope that helps!

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