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How to make bún thịt nướng
MasterChef Version

Imagine an amazing combination of sweet, sour, crunchy, and fragrant notes dancing in your palate. That’s the magic of bún thịt nướng - grilled pork with rice vermicelli, a widely-popular Vietnamese dish that has captivated hearts for generations. The dish consists of grilled pork, rice vermicelli noodles, fresh vegetables and herbs, as well as fish sauce. You will get some caramelized grilled meat, some tangy pickled carrots, and irresistable aroma from a bed of mint, basil, and coriander in this colorful arrangement. Originally originated from Southern Vietnam, bún thịt nướng has earned its well-deserved popularity across Vietnam. Each city or region will have its own distinct version of bún thịt nướng, adhering to the regional taste. Thanks to its versatility, the dish can be enjoyed basically anytime of the day, for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

So, whether you’re a bún thịt nướng enthusiast or simply curious about the allure of Vietnamese cuisine, this recipe is an invitation to experience a bit of Vietnam in your kitchen. Let’s start!

Sauce and marinade ingredients

  • Sour taste: kumquat/lime/lemon/rice or apple vinegar
  • Sweet taste: sugar/honey
  • Salty taste: fish sauce and soy sauce
  • Neutral taste: water
  • Spicy taste: chili sauce/chopped chili
  • Chopped garlic
  • Lemongrass
nuoc mam ingredients
bun thit nuong ingredients

Main dish ingredients

  • Thin rice – bún
  • Iceberg lettuce or other crunchy lettuce
  • A bouquet of Asian herbs: Perilla (tía tô – shiso), Thai basil (húng quế), Vietnamese coriander (rau răm)
  • Pork belly
  • Green papaya/green mango
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Optional: Crushed peanuts/cashews and roasted sesame seeds

Sauce preparation:

  • Mix kumquat juice, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and water one part each. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • If you want, you can use another sour/sweet/salty ingredient from the list above.
  • Add chopped chili and garlic to taste, remember that it is better to add chili in small amounts several times and test the spiciness of the sauce than to add a large amount of chili at once and get a sauce that is too spicy.
  • Set the sauce aside for use later.
nuoc mam preparation
bun thit nuong preparation

Dish preparation:

  • Briefly soak the rice noodles in boiling water - if you bought fresh ones. If you must use dry noodles, prepare them according to the instructions on the package - some only need to be soaked in warm water, while others need to be boiled for a few minutes. Drain the noodles and let them cool
  • Cut the bacon into medium-thick slices and place in a bowl.
  • Add fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a 1:1:1 ratio.
  • Cut off the lemongrass blades, keeping only the stem (approx. 10 cm). Remove the first one or two layers of the stem, chop the rest finely and add to the meat.
  • Chop the shallot and add to the meat, along with a little chili.
  • Mix thoroughly and set aside for 30 – 60 minutes. Note: If you have time, prepare and marinate the meat the night before. Put the meat into the refrigerator overnight. Better marinated meat is even tastier!
  • Cut the carrot, cucumber and green papaya into strips (Julienne cut) and put them into an empty bowl.
  • Add salad dressing and mix the ingredients
  • Cut the herbs and lettuce into strips, do not chop finely, as all the flavor and aroma will remain on the cutting board.You can also tear the herbs with your fingers.
  • If you have access to a grill, grill the meat.
  • If you don't have access to a grill, heat up a wok (preferably) or a frying pan and roast the meat in the pan in its own fat.
  • Set the meat aside to cool down.
  • Drain excess sauce from vegetables.
  • In bowls/portioning plates, arrange in the following order: herbs, rice noodles, vegetables, and meat.
  • If you want, sprinkle everything with roasted sesame seeds and crushed peanuts/cashews.
a bowl of bun thit nuong

There you have it! Your juicy bún thịt nướng is ready, time to eat! Don’t forget that these are just suggestions! Feel free to adjust the ingredients or flavors that reflects your own taste and style! For even more in-depth (and fun) instructions on how to re-create this dish, watch our Youtube video featuring MasterChef Poland's Magda Waś as she follows Adrian to a traditional market, shop for local ingredients, and guides you through every step of making this delicious dish.

Hopefully our bún thịt nướng recipe will inspire you to whip up your version of Vietnam food and bring its amazing flavors into your kitchen! If you're dreaming of having a bowl of bún thịt nướng in its home origin, check out our Vietnam tours here!

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