Bun Thit Nuong (Rice Noodle with Grilled Pork)

A dish of Bun Thit Nuong (rice vermicelli noodle with grilled pork) in Ho Chi Minh City (may appear frantic at first glance. A bed of noodles is topped with a sprinkle of garnishes and grilled meat, with some greens peeping through underneath. However, it is the way that each of these things works together that makes this one of the most popular dishes in Southern Vietnam. It's incredibly easy to make, one of the loveliest to look at, and one of the most flavorful.


The elements are separated by layers. Greens such as broken leaf lettuce, banana flower curlicues, sliced pickled carrots and daikon, and chopped herbs like basil and mint, as well as a generous dose of bean sprouts, make up the bottom of the bowl. The rice vermicelli noodles form the second layer, which serves as the dish's binder. When chewing down, a competent seller will prepare their bread to an Italian al dente, giving the noodles a strong bite. Thit nuong is sliced pork butt marinated in lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and the traditional Vietnamese fish sauce. The pig is then roasted until it has a small sear on it, which adds a sense of bitterness to the meal. There's also a lot of variety in the types of meat that can be served. You can get nem nuong (grilled pork meatballs), gia gio (fried spring rolls), dau hu (fried tofu), tom nuong (grilled shrimp), and/or cha with your thit nuong (fried pork patty).


A sprinkling of chopped roasted peanuts, chopped scallions, and, if you're lucky, deep-fried pork chicharones complete the dish. The obligatory nuoc cham, a concoction of fish sauce, garlic, vinegar, and sugar, is served on the side. To consume, pour some nuoc cham into a mixing bowl and combine everything. Crunchy, meaty, slippery, sweet, savory—each mouthful should deliver all of these flavors.

Bun thit nuong can be found in almost every Vietnamese restaurant in town, but the dedicated sellers are the finest to visit. Bun thit nuong on the street might cost anywhere from 25,000 VND to 45,000 VND depending on the type of meat you choose.

Leading Bun Thit Nuong Eatery in Ho Chi Minh City: If you have a motorcycle and want to go for a ride, head to Tung Thien Vuong Road, Ward 12, District 8, where Mrs. Phuong has been serving up a delicious bun called "Thit Nuong" for the past 38 years. Make sure to try her nem nuong, which has an umami-like flavor. Head to Ben Thanh Market and the fantastic food court inside for something a little more central.

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