bun bo xao – vietnamese beef noodle salad

Bun bo xao is a quick weeknight meal. Big tastes of lemongrass, beef, chili and fresh herbs hit all the right flavour notes. It’s the best kind of salad. Everything in balance.

I’m a omnivore with carnivore tendencies. There’s no doubt. Look around this blog. Probably five recipes that can qualify as vegan. Maybe less.

But Vietnamese works for me. Fascinates me really. The notion that meat is another ingredient. Not the star. Not the focus. Just another supporting voice.

It’s very different from the North American perspective. But it’s so good. We can learn something here.

A little help with translation. Bun are the noodles. Bo is beef and xao is stir fry. Bun bo xao. Stir fried beef with rice noodles. Now you know

Vietnamese beef noodle salad - perfect for summer.

Bun bo xao makes a great summer dish

These are summer flavours. Clean. Tasty. Not heavy at all. Little bits of meat. Some noodles. Vegetables. Chilies. And nuoc cham.

Nuoc cham is that clear drizzling sauce that comes with almost everything in Vietnamese restaurants. It’s great stuff. Just the perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty. I love it. 

It takes almost no time to make it. Just combine some ingredients. Heat it a bit to bring it together. Let cool. Ready. Nothing to it. So make it. Make it often. It is killer with fresh spring rolls. Any Vietnamese noodle salad. And with bun bo xao.

There’s not a lot to bun bo xao once you have your prep done. Cook some noodles, fry up some beef and drizzle that crazy tasty Vietnamese dipping sauce overtop. Eat. Enjoy. Feel good.



Bun bo xao makes a great weeknight dinner any time of year.

Bun bo xao makes a great weeknight dinner any time of year.
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes

bun bo xao

Bun bo xao comes together quickly so have all your prep done before you start cooking. Use rice vermicelli. The noodles in the picture were for effect only.
Course Main
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword bun bo xao, vietnamese noodle salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 824kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen



  • 10 oz top sirloin sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped lemongrass - tender inside part only
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sambal oelek or other asian chili sauce
  • 2 Tbsp oil

Nuoc cham dipping sauce

  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice about 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 tsp sambal oelek or other asian chili sauce
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • minced red chili to taste to taste


  • 8 oz rice noodles - the flat kind or vermicelli - whatever you prefer
  • 1 small cucumber julienned
  • 1 small carrot julienned
  • 1-2 green onions chopped
  • leaf lettuce

Garnishes - be heavy handed

  • cilantro
  • mint
  • basil
  • crushed peanuts


  • Combine the dipping ingredients in a small bowl and stir to dissolve sugar. You want hot water here to help the sugar along. You can do this ahead of time.
  • Mix the beef, lemongrass, sugar, fish sauce, garlic and sambal oelek and let stand 15-20 minutes (longer is fine).
  • Cook the rice noodles as per the package instructions. Alternately, pouring boiling water to fully submerge the noodles works well. Drain them as soon as they soften - about 5 minutes. Check them before draining. Let the noodles cool briefly.
  • Heat the oil over medium high heat and stir fry the beef.
  • To serve place a couple pieces of leaf lettuce in the serving bowl. Add the noodles. Top with carrot, cucumber, green onion and beef. Garnish with cilantro, basil, mint and peanuts. Pour the nuoc cham overtop.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 824kcal | Carbohydrates: 118g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 2497mg | Potassium: 954mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 5265IU | Vitamin C: 12.7mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 4mg


2 thoughts on “bun bo xao – vietnamese beef noodle salad”

  1. Growing up, my dad always made bun bo. Our bun bo had curry in it, though, which I find interesting since most of the recipes I saw didn’t contain curry. But the noodle bowls were always one of my favorite things to eat growing up. Vietnamese food is so light and refreshing with a mix of meat, herbs, and veggies.

    • It is that wonderful balance of meat, herbs and vegetables (and the flavours that go into preparing them) that makes me such a Vietnamese addict…

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.