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Friday, September 24, 2010

If Martha made Vietnamese-- Bún Thịt Nướng (Grilled Pork over Vermicelli Noodles)

This was one of the first dishes I had in a Viet restaurant that I fell in love with.  Papa and I tried to find the recipe for the marinade for years.  We tried several and asked a couple Viet chefs only to be told it was a "secrete" recipe.  We were SO SO happy to figure this one out, and now this dish is a staple in our home during the hot summer months.  To me, it is just the perfect summer dish, a little savory, but it has the coolness of a salad. It is light enough to eat on a warm summer day but will still satisfy your appetite for a lunch or dinner meal. 

This dish is a dichotomy with multi-layered flavors, something cuisine does so so well.  It's warm and cool.  It’s crunchy and soft.  It's sweet and savory all at the same time.  It is not difficult to make but it does take some time preparing.  

I hope y'all enjoy it as much as we do!
Bún Thịt Nướng or Vietnamese Grilled Pork over Vermicelli Noodles 

(Yes, I realize that is an extraordinarily large jug of honey.  Must have been on sale... 
or more likely Papa was doing the shopping!)
Marinade for the pork---
2 T brown sugar
4 T fish sauce
2 T honey
1 T soy sauce
1 t freshly ground black pepper
6 spring onions-white parts only, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
In a large bowl, combine marinade.  Add pork (1 - 1 1/2 lb Pork - shoulder, chops, pork neck...) and stir to coat all meat.  Cover are refrigerate at least 45 minutes (up to 24 hours to get more flavor)  
Stop for a brief moment and rub noses.
Sorry.  I got a little distracted there.  That happens.  Often.  

While pork is marinating, prepare lettuce, cucumber, nước chấm, and mint.  

3 c fresh lettuce shredded (iceberg or Romaine)
1 cucumber, halved seeded and sliced
4 sprigs of fresh mint
Roasted chopped peanuts for garnish

A quick note about the nước chấm.  It is SUPER easy and quick to make.  Don't let this scare you off from this recipe!  The recipe is here.  
To prepare cucumbers, peel, slice in half, and use a spoon to remove seeds.  Then slice.  Be sure to wear dark glittery nail polish.  It's part of the recipe, so you gotta do it!
Grill meat until a caramelized golden brown on each side (time depends on cut of meat, but don't overcook to avoid drying out the meat.  Slice thinly across the grain.  

To assemble-- In a bowl, place the cooked vermicelli noodles (cooled to room temp), about 3/4 c. lettuce, a small handful of cucumbers. Place the warm grilled pork on top of the bowl.  Individually, each person will dress with their preferred amount of nước chấm, usually a few tablespoons.  Garnish with roasted chopped peanuts.
PS-Does anyone think there is anything genetic about using chopsticks.  This boy has been bound and determined to figure it out when ever they're around.  And unlike us pasty white folk, he doesn't let hunger or failure tempt him into using a fork!  In the end, he usually picks up a piece of meat, sticks it on the end of the chopstick, then brings it up to his mouth.  Persistent little booger!


  1. Thank you for these great recipes! I will definitely try this one. We made fried egg rolls and chicken curry for Tet Trung Thu the other night and everything was incredibly delicious. I'm not a "dip" kind of gal, but the nuoc cham was incredible. Beatrice ended up drinking the leftovers of it in her small bowl.
    p.s I had to do a triple take on the rubbing noses photo...thought it was your oldest daughter at first!

  2. Michelle-
    SO glad you tried some and liked it. The nuoc cham is a staple on LOTS of stuff. And that is Sunny, the oldest.

  3. Oh my goodness. First I thought it was Livy, then you (with a highlight), then I was sure it was Sunny...your beauties sure look like their Mama!

  4. I want to eat at your house! How do you get your noodles to come out so well? Our always comes out a goopy, unappetizing mess.

  5. Cedar- DON'T over cook them! Very unlike Wheat/Italian Pasta, rice noodles cook very quickly. We soak ours in warm or hot water. Sometimes, if the water is very hot with thin noodles, that is enough. But for larger noodles, after soaking, we boil a big pot of water. Then turn the heat off and let the boil TOTALLY stop. then put in noodles for only about 1-2 minutes. Bigger/fatter noodles take a little longer. Smaller noodles are done in a flash.
    Hope that helps!

  6. Oh yum! I just had a thought - I think you should have a show on the Food Network. That would be fantastic! Maybe I will send them your link....:)

  7. Christina-Only if it's a teaching show, where I'm just the silly "learner bee" and some Viet grandma teaches me all she knows. Really, there's quite a few times folks have written me and made corrections. For which I'm thankful... and humbled!

  8. So cute about how persistent he is! Very determined. Why don't you get him the kiddie chopsticks and help him out some?


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