Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Rice Noodles (Bun Cha Recipe)

  • Preparation: 30 mins
  • Cooking: 20 mins
  • Skill level: Medium
  • Servings: 4

Description Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Rice Noodles Recipe (Bún Chả)

The ingredients for Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Rice Noodles (Bun Cha) resemble those for rice noodle bowl with beef. But instead of having big assembled bowls, diners compose their own small bowls, soaking the tender, sweet, salty pork in sauce, tearing up lettuce and herbs, adding some noodles, and then nibbling on their creations. Traditionally, a meal of bún chả is unhurried and encourages long conversation. A famous Hanoi rendition of this northern Viet specialty combines sliced pork belly and pork patties made from chopped shoulder, but I prefer a less complicated and healthier version that uses marinated pork slices.
A grill best mimics the traditional brazier used in Vietnam, but the pork slices can also be roasted in the top third of a 475°F oven until nicely browned (about 9 minutes on each side).


  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2½ teaspoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Caramel Sauce or honey
  • 2½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • 2⅓ pounds boneless pork shoulder, well trimmed (about 2 pounds after trimming) and cut across the grain into strips about 3 inches long, 1 inch wide, and a scant ¼ inch thick
  • ⅔ pound small dried round rice noodles, cooked in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, drained, and flushed with cold water
  • 1½ cups Basic Dipping Sauce made without garlic
  • Vegetable Garnish Plate, preferably with the addition of red perilla and Vietnamese balm

Method Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Rice Noodles Recipe (Bún Chả)

1, To make the marinade, in a mortar, combine the shallot, sugar, and pepper and pound with a pestle until a rough paste forms that is slightly liquid. (Or, use an electric mini-chopper.) Transfer to a bowl and mix in the caramel sauce, fish sauce, and oil. Add the pork and coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
2, Thirty minutes before cooking the pork, remove it from the refrigerator. Arrange the noodles on 2 plates for serving. Place on the table with the dipping sauce and the vegetable garnish plate.
3, Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire (you can hold your hand over the rack for only 3 to 4 seconds) or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Grill the pork slices, turning once, for about 4 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned, a little charred, and sizzling. Transfer the pork to a plate and place on the table.
4, Each person needs 2 bowls, a small, shallow one and a larger, deeper one. In the small bowl, diners soak a few pieces of the grilled pork in some dipping sauce. They tear lettuce leaves and herbs into small pieces, put them in the large bowl, toss to distribute, and then top with a mound of noodles and the pieces of pork and some of the sauce they soaked in.

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