Bún thịt nướng or Vietnamese grilled pork vermicelli is a refreshing rice noodle dish perfect for the hot weather! The vermicelli is topped with a sweet and savory lemongrass grilled pork, fresh vegetables, herbs, Vietnamese egg rolls if you want, and dressed with Vietnamese dipping sauce (nước chấm).
What is your favorite Vietnamese dish?
One of our favorite is of course a good classic pho, but bún thịt nướng (aka Vietnamese grilled pork vermicelli) always have a special place in my heart.
The lemongrass grilled pork is so juicy and flavorful! It's got the perfect balance between sweet and savory with a touch of lemony citrus. Then, mix this grilled work with cool rice noodles, fresh vegetables, and some mixed fish sauce...mmmm. It's just out of this world!
If you're looking for more easy dishes to make for the summer, try our bibim guksu for an easy meal with some sweet, heat, and tang. These fresh tofu spring rolls are great for picnics or light meal. And our mango coconut sago is perfect for dessert or snack!
What is bún thịt nướng?
Bún thịt nướng or Vietnamese grilled pork vermicelli is one of the most popular dishes offered at Vietnamese restaurants. Its highlights are the super flavorful marinated lemongrass grilled pork, vermicelli, and the prepared fish sauce that gives the whole dish some sweet, tang, and sometimes heat.
Depending on where you've had bún thịt nướng, you'll also see the variations in the veggie and garnish options. Most commonly, you'll see the vermicelli assembled with lettuce, herbs like mint and/or basil, đồ chua (Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon), crushed peanuts, and scallion oil.
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
For the marinated pork:
- Pork shoulder - We highly recommend using pork shoulder as it has a good ratio of fat to meat. It's also pretty cheap. So, win-win!
- Shallot and garlic - Both are classic marinade combos and adds so much flavor to the pork marinade.
- Lemongrass - This adds a bit of citrusy, lemony flavor to the marinade, which is a very nice, subtle depth of flavor. You can use either fresh or frozen lemongrass.
- Sugar - To add sweetness to the marinade. We like to use regular granulated sugar so that it dissolves better.
- Fish sauce - This will add extra umami to the marinaded pork! Plus, fish sauce will add some needed savory flavors.
- Soy sauce - We like to use light sodium soy sauce. If you are using regular soy sauce, you may want to use a little less. Soy sauce not only add saltiness to the marinade, it also adds color, flavor, and acts as a mild tenderizer.
- Oil - You've got to add oil to meat that you want to grill, baking, or cook in general. It'll prevent sticking and lock in the juices to keep the meat moist. Any neutral oil will do.
- Black pepper - Just to add some mild kick.
For the vermicelli bowl:
- Rice vermicelli - We recommend using these medium thickness, round rice vermicelli. They are our favorites for bún thịt nướng. But if you prefer, you can use thin rice vermicelli as well.
- Chả giò - Also known as Vietnamese egg rolls. We like to make a large batch and freeze for later. They're such a treat in vermicelli bowls!
- Nước chấm - This is the sauce that brings this grilled pork vermicelli bowl together! It's also known as Vietnamese dipping sauce. It's kind of sweet, savory, and a little funky.
- Đồ chua - Aka Vietnamese pickled carrots and daikon. This adds a different crunch to the vermicelli bowl, along with some sweet and tang.
- Vegetables and herbs - Green leaf lettuce, sliced cucumbers, perilla leaves, and mint are our favorites. You could also use your preferred lettuce, basil, cilantro, and mung bean sprouts.
- Crushed peanuts (optional garnish)
- Scallion oil (optional garnish) - A very popular garnish in Vietnamese cuisine that also doubles as a flavored oil. It adds a nice, subtle green onion flavor to your dishes.
How to make this Vietnamese grilled pork vermicelli bowl
Prepare and marinade the pork:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shallot, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, oil, and black pepper. Mix well.
2. Add the sliced pork. Using your hand or gloved hand, mix until the pork is evenly coated with the marinate. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes or best overnight.
3. 30 minutes before cooking, soak six skewers (at least 8 inches long) in warm water and preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack positioned second from the top heating element. Also, prepare a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil.
🌟 Pro tip: If you have a convection oven, you can keep your rack at the center possible. You can also just cook the pork over medium heat in pan, on the stovetop, or even cook them in your grill for extra flavor!
4. Assemble the marinated pork onto the skewers and arrange them on the prepared sheet pan. Try to keep them flat for even cooking.
5. Bake the marinated pork for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through.
🌟 Pro tip: If some char is desired, use the oven's broil setting. Do keep an eye out! The pork can go from perfect to burnt in seconds once the heating element is hot. You can also give the skewers a quick sear in a pan over medium high heat. It will be smokey so be prepared!*
Assemble the bowl:
1. Cook the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
2. In serving bowls, assemble with desired amount of vermicelli noodles, pickles, vegetables, garnishes, and the pork skewers. Top off the vermicelli bowl with some cut Vietnamese egg rolls and drizzle with as much of the prepared fish sauce as you'd like.
3. You can cut the skewered pork into smaller pieces with kitchen shears, eat it off the skewers, or just push the pork off the skewers. Stir it all up and enjoy!
- If you have time, let the pork marinate overnight for the best flavors!
- Use a mortar and pestle to grind fresh lemongrass to open up more flavor. If you don't have fresh lemongrass available in your area, frozen lemongrass is great as well!
- If you're boiling the pork for some char, do keep a careful eye on the pork! Once the heating element is hot, it can go from perfect to burnt! Personally, we prefer to sear the pork in a pan to control the char more.
- Most vermicelli noodles recommend soaking the noodles first. This helps to reduce the boiling time. You can start soaking the noodles around the same time when you soak the bamboo skewers.
Storage and Reheating
Bún thịt nướng is best enjoyed soon after assembling. That way, the pork and egg rolls are warm while the noodles and veggies are cool and refreshing.
The raw marinated pork will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. Once cooked, you can reheat the pork skewers in the oven at 350°F or the air fryer at 325°F for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. You can microwave them as well.
Bún thịt nướng is best enjoyed shortly after assembling, while the pork is still warm and the other ingredients are cool and crisp.
Skewering the pork is totally optional! But we thought it's fun and easier to cook, especially if you're grilling the pork. You can skip the skewering and just cook the pork in a pan or bake it until done if you prefer.
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Bún Thịt Nướng (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Vermicelli)
For the grilled pork:
- 1 pound pork shoulder cut into ¼ inch slices
- 1 cup shallot minced (usually 1 regular size shallot)
- 2 tablespoons lemongrass minced (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced (about 3 cloves)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce light sodium
- 2 tablespoons oil any neutral oil will do
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the the vermicelli bowl:
- Green leaf lettuce cut into bite size pieces (or your preferred lettuce)
- English cucumber sliced
- Perilla leaves
- Scallion in oil
- Crushed peanut
For the pork:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the shallot, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, oil, and black pepper. Mix well.
- Add the sliced pork. Using your hand or gloved hand, mix until the pork is evenly coated with the marinate. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes or best overnight.
- 30 minutes before cooking, soak six skewers (at least 8 inches long) in warm water and preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack positioned second from the top heating element. Also, prepare a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil.
- Assemble the marinated pork onto the skewers and arrange them on the prepared sheet pan. Try to keep them flat for even cooking.
- Bake the marinated pork for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through. *If some char is desired, use the oven's broil setting (keep an eye out!) or give the skewers a quick sear in a pan over medium high heat. It will be smokey!*
Assembled the vermicelli bowl:
- Cook the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
- In serving bowls, assemble with desired amount of vermicelli noodles, pickles, vegetables, garnishes, and the pork skewers. Top off the vermicelli bowl with some cut Vietnamese egg rolls and drizzle with as much of the prepared fish sauce as you'd like.
- Stir it all up and enjoy!
- You can also grill the skewers or just cook the marinated pork in a pan.
- Bún thịt nướng is a really flexible dish to make. You can use as much, as little, or change out the vegetables to your preference. The main star of the dish is the marinated pork, vermicelli, and prepared fish sauce. Although we do recommend some fresh vegetables to keep it extra fresh.
- If you wish to make some Vietnamese scallion oil (mở hành): Slice up 4-5 stalks of scallions (just the green parts). In a pan over medium heat, add ¼ cup of neutral and heat until hot. Add the sliced scallions and cook just until wilted and the scallion turn dark vibrant. Remove from heat and cool.
- The nutritional fact is an estimate. Depending on the amount of ingredients, toppings, and sauce added to your vermicelli bowl, the nutritional value will vary.