Vietnamese noodle salad with Marinated Pork - Bun Thit Nuong
Moderate - You'll be right
Watch me make this recipe on my YouTube channel here!
Grilled marinated pork served in a vermicelli noodle salad topped with vibrant pickled carrots, cucumber and Vietnamese herbs, all tied together with a tangy Vietnamese noodle salad dressing. If you’re game, add a few pork and spring rolls to take this noodle salad recipe to another level.
The fish sauce dressing is the key to flavouring this Vietnamese noodle salad recipe so using the right fish sauce is very important. It’s the fish sauce that will drive the seasoning and umami flavour into the pork, and form the base of the noodle salad dressing.
In this recipe I opted to use Son fish sauce which is a brand my mum would consider upmarket. Mum didn’t often experiment with fish sauce and simply sourced the most economical brand available.
After moving out of home, I realised that similar to pantry essentials like extra virgin olive oil and cultured butter, not all fish sauces are made the same! I became aware that some contained MSG, sugar, preservatives and many other additives.
Having the financial freedom to explore artisan fish sauce producers, I came across Son Fish Sauce who produce a natural fish sauce without additives and contains only two ingredients: anchovy and salt. Further, Son Fish Sauce harvest wild anchovies and naturally ferment them in wooden barrels using local sea salt and age it for one year.
I find Son fish sauce low on salt and high in umami. For this reason I am quite generous when using it to season my Vietnamese home cooking. The beauty is that the end product is rich in umami flavour whilst not being overly salty. It also minimises or eliminates the use of MSG.
If fish sauce features in your pantry, do yourself a favour and give this recipe a go with Son fish sauce to increase the level of umami flavour in your next Vietnamese noodle salad.
Buy Son fish sauce here!
Grilled pork marinade
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch spring onion stalks (white part only)
2 lemongrass stalks (white part only), finely chopped or 80 g lemongrass paste
600g pork scotch fillet (neck) or pork shoulder, finely sliced across the grain
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons Son Fish Sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
Spring onion oil
1 bunch spring onions green tops
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
50ml neutral cooking oil
Nước Mắm (Vietnamese fish sauce)
3 birds eye chillies, de-seeded
3 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons of sugar
150ml cold water
1 lime juiced
5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons of Son Fish Sauce
300g rice vermicelli noodles
1 bunch Mint
Vietnamese herbs of choice (Vietnamese mint, perilla leaves or fish herb)
2 Lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced
1 bag (250g) bean sprouts
Vietnamese pickled carrots (optional)
Roasted crushed peanuts (optional)
How to marinate pork:
1. In a mortar and pestle crush garlic and spring onion stalks, then remove and place into a large mixing bowl along with remaining marinade ingredients. Massage marinade into the pork, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 3 hours. Or for best results, leave overnight.
Duncan’s tip: Adding water lubricates the marinade and creates a brine that helps the meat become juicy and tasty.
How to make nuoc mam (noodle salad dressing):
1. In a mortar and pestle, crush and pound chillies and garlic into a paste, then add remaining ingredients and mix well until sugar dissolves.
How to make spring onion oil:
1. In a small saucepan bring cooking oil to smoking point. Meanwhile in a small bowl add the spring onions, sea salt and sugar and mix well. Pour hot oil into the bowl and mix well.
2. In the meantime place the vermicelli noodles in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water for 8–9 minutes or until just beyond al dente. Strain immediately and place in cold water to stop the cooking process. Separate the noodles in serving sizes and place in batches in a colander to avoid them sticking together in one large clump.
How to grill pork:
1. On a large griddle pan, grill the pork in batches for 3–5 mins or until charred and just cooked through, then remove and set aside.
Let’s make a bowl of bun thit nuong:
1. In a large bowl place a serve of noodles into a large bowl and add grilled pork then garnish with mint, Vietnamese herbs, cucumbers, bean sprouts, pickled carrots, 1 tablespoon of spring onion oil, 2 teaspoons of crushed peanuts and dress generously with 5–6 tablespoons of nước mắm chấm per bowl. Mix well and enjoy.
Optional: Add cha gio (pork and prawn spring rolls) to the bowl for pure gluttony.