bun thit nuong
Bun thit nuong is a refreshing Vietnamese grilled pork and rice noodle dish that contrasts warm pork with cool rice vermicelli. Perfect hot weather food.
The pork and marinade (thit nuong)
- 1.5 lbs pork shoulder sliced thinly
- 2 shallots finely diced
- 2 stalks lemongrass tender inside part only, diced
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp brown sugar or honey
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 8 oz rice vermicelli
- nuoc cham - see notes for recipe link
- carrots quick pickled- see notes for recipe link
- mint, coriander, thai basil, culantro, perilla leaves whatever you can get your hands on
- chopped peanuts
- spring rolls make them or grab some takeout and warm them up for dinner
Make the marinade
Cut up the lemongrass. Remove the tough outer pieces. You want the tender inside bits. If it's hard to push a sharp knife through it, it is not tender.
Combine all the marinade ingredients. That is everything except the pork in the pork and marinade section of the ingredients. Use a bowl that's big enough to hold all the pork. And give you enough room to mix it all up.
Stir to combine the marinade ingredients. Add the pork. Use your hands to mix it all up. You want the pork coated.
Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and marinate 1 to 12 hours. I usually go 3 or 4 hours. I've cut it back to one hour even. It works fine.
Do your prep
Make your nuoc cham. Prep your herbs. If you are making any quick pickled carrots do it now.
Soften your rice vermicelli. Bring a kettle to boil. Pick a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles. Let it sit for around 5 minutes and start checking it for tenderness. Different brands take different times but I've never seen it go over 10 minutes. Probably not even 8 minutes.
When the noodles are tender drain. Rinse under cold water until cool. Set aside.
Prep your noodle bowls
You want this done before you start grilling. Or somebody else can do it while you grill.
Place 1/4 of the noodles in 4 bowls. Add your choice of garnishes. Cut up some lime. Put out the nuoc cham. All that should be left to add is the pork.
Grill the pork
This is the hard part. Grilling thinly sliced pork shoulder is not trivial.
Set up your grill for medium hot direct fire. Find something that will keep the pork from falling through the grill. A fine grill like they sell at Asian shops works. A vegetable grill (the non-stick ones with the holes in them) will work but not as well. Find something though. Do not try to grill this on your regular grate. You will wind up angry. And hungry.
Health safety tip here. You are going to need two sets of tongs. One for cooking and one to remove the pork from the grill. Be careful. Don't mix them up.
Work in batches. Don't try to grill it all at once. Try to lay it as flat as you can using the tongs. As the pork starts going opaque flip it. It will bunch up. It will fight you. Don't worry. Pork shoulder is pretty forgiving. Make sure the bunched up areas are cooked. When the first batch is finished repeat until all the pork is cooked.
Finish the bun thit nuong
Divide the pork among the 4 bowls. Serve with nuoc cham and extra red chilies for your more adventurous guests.
There's a recipe for quick pickled carrots as part of the pork belly bahn mi recipe.
Nuoc cham is just about the easiest sauce in the world to make. Get the recipe here.
Serving: 4servings | Calories: 476kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1245mg | Potassium: 516mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin C: 2.3mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2.9mg