The first time I had Vietnamese seared beef and rice noodles (Bún thịt nướng bò), I was in love. This dish is commonly made with pork, chicken, or shrimp, however, my favorite is made with beef. Commonly served with vermicelli rice noodles, I opted for a thicker fresh rice noodle from the 99 Ranch Market. The number of ingredients may seem overwhelming, but this is actually a very easy dish to make.
Bún thịt nướng is a dish commonly served in many regions of Vietnam (except for Hanoi). Treated as a salad, the noodles and vegetables are typically served room temperature to cold, with the seared caramelized meat served on top and garnished with crushed peanuts. Served with a Vietnamese style dressing (Nuoc Cham), it is a great combination of sweet, salty, sour and delicious! There are many different ways to make this, as the ingredients differ slightly depending on the region. I have chosen to make it the way I like it, with a little influence from all the regions.
NOTE: Slice the beef very thin to ensure it sears quickly. Put in the freezer for about an hour before slicing it. It will be easier to cut into thin slices when the meat is partially frozen.
The most time consuming part of this recipe is the prep. Once you have all your ingredients together, it’s a piece of cake (not literally, that’s a whole different recipe!). Start by mixing the marinade ingredients together, adding the beef and letting it marinade for 24 hours in the fridge.
The fresh rice noodles come cooked, so the prep is really quite easy. Toss them in a strainer and rinse with hot water to warm them through and separate the noodles.
Drain excess liquid from the marinated beef. Heat oil in a wok, wok pan, or cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking. I use coconut oil for its high heat content, but peanut oil or avocado oil are also good choices. Cook beef in 2 batches to prevent heat from dropping too low. Stir fry for about 1-2 minutes and remove from heat.
Serve in bowls on a bed of rice noodles, lettuce, bean sprouts (optional), cucumber (optional) and mint leaves. Serve with nuoc cham dipping sauce and garnish with crushed peanuts (not pictured).
This Vietnamese seared beef is light and refreshing, but also deeply complex and flavorful. Quick and easy to make, perfect served as a meal on a hot summer day, or as an appetizer to a main course.
- 1 lbs. beef flap meat thinly sliced
- 16 oz. fresh rice noodles
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 4 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
- Fresh shredded lettuce
- Sliced cucumbers optional
- Shredded carrot optional
- Crushed peanuts for garnish optional
- Nuoc Cham
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 3 tbsp. fish sauce Sur La Table Red Boat 40°N Fish Sauce, 8.45 fl. oz.
- 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. lemon grass
- 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 tsp. white sugar
- 1 tsp. lime juice
Combine all ingredients for marinade and add the beef. Let marinade for 24 hours.
Place rice noodles in a strainer and rinse with hot water to warm them through.
Drain the beef of any excess liquid.
Heat coconut oil in a wok, wok pan, or cast iron skillet over high heat until it starts smoking.
Add the beef and quickly sear until caramelized. Cook in small batches to ensure the pan retains its heat.
Remove from heat and serve over lettuce and rice noodles. Add bean sprouts, sliced cucumbers, and/or carrots if desired. Garnish with mint leaves and crushed peanuts.
Serve with Nuoc Cham.
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