Bun Bo Nam Bo can be one of the most misleading names in Vietnamese cuisine. Today’s Bun Bo Nam Bo recipe (English Translation: “Southern Beef Noodle”), doesn’t originate from the South of Vietnam but rather from Hanoi. Regardless of its origin, it’s still an interesting dish that you can prepare in just 20-30 minutes at home. Let me show you this simple recipe.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

What is Bun Bo Nam Bo?

Bun Bo Nam Bo, listed as one of the 40 delicious Vietnamese dishes by CNN, is a combination of stir-fried thin beef slices with rice vermicelli and vegetables. This combination might have been common across the country for a very long time, as every Vietnamese person is familiar with stir-fry and rice vermicelli. However, the today’s name “Bun Bo Nam Bo” (Bun Bo = Beef Noodle, Nam Bo = Southern) doesn’t mean “Southern Beef Noodle”, or Beef Noodle from the South of Vietnam. The story behind it is that the first street food stall that sold this dish was located on a street named “Nam Bo” in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. The dish was widely accepted there and gradually became named after the street where it was sold, becoming “Bun Bo Nam Bo”.

Therefore, in English, it is better to call it “Beef and Noodle Salad”. Lemongrass Beef and Noodle Salad is a very popular variation of Bun Bo Nam Bo; however, it seems that the original Bun Bo Nam Bo didn’t use lemongrass to marinate the beef.

Another type of Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Salad is Pho Tron (Phở bò trộn). The difference from Bun Bo Nam Bo (also known as “Beef and Noodle Salad”) is the dressing sauce made of soy sauce, and the type of noodle, Pho Noodle instead of Rice Vermicelli. Bun Bo Nam Bo is also totally different from Bun Bo Hue, another unique Vietnamese noodle with the broth made from beef bones, shrimp paste, lemongrass…

Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

With a simple recipe, the taste of Bun Bo Nam Bo is the harmony of soft and slightly chewy rice vermicelli, natural sweetness, and aromatic stir-fried beef, pickles, and fresh vegetables. The dressing sauce is usually fish sauce, adding a unique savory flavor to Vietnamese cuisine. Combined with roasted peanuts and fried shallots, the dish offers a variety of textures (chewy, soft, crunchy) and flavors (sweet, savory, spicy, sour) in one.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Ingredients

The Bun Bo Nam Bo recipe is quite simple, requiring rice vermicelli, lean beef, vegetables such as lettuce and mint leaves, and pickled items like carrot & daikon pickle or green papaya pickle. Finally, you’ll prepare fish sauce with some condiments like garlic, lemon juice, and chili as a dressing sauce for the dish. Here are the quantities of ingredients for 4 bowls of Bun Bo Nam Bo:

  • 400g (14oz) Lean Beef
  • Beef marinating: 2 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp minced shallot, 2 lemongrasses (optional), 1 tsp salt/2 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sugar
  • 200g (7oz) cucumber
  • 200g (7oz) dried vermicelli (to make 400g boiled vermicelli)
  • 200g (7oz) lettuce
  • (Optional) 1 cup pickled daikon & carrot
  • 4 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 4 tbsp fried shallots
  • The sauce: 4 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 4 tbsp sugar, 4 tbsp lemon juice/vinegar (5%), 8 tbsp hot water

Note: If you are not familiar with fish sauce, replace it with vegan fish sauce.

How to Make Bun Bo Nam Bo

Step 1. Preparing

  • With the lean beef, slice it thinly. To achieve thin beef slices and make slicing easier, you should chill the beef in the freezer for 30 minutes or until it’s firm. Then, marinate the beef with garlic, shallot, salt/fish sauce, a bit of sugar, and lemongrass (if using).
  • Wash the lettuce, slice the cucumber, and prepare the pickles (refer to my carrot & daikon pickle recipe here).
Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Step 2. Stir-frying Beef & Boiling Vermicelli

  • In a pan, add cooking oil and turn on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the beef slices and quickly stir-fry until they are cooked. Don’t overcook them as it can make them chewy.
Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe
  • While stirring the beef, you can also boil the rice vermicelli at the same time. Add the dried vermicelli and water to a saucepan or pot, and heat them up over high heat. As the vermicelli begins to soften, stir it occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan or pot. Finally, drain out the water and rinse the cooked vermicelli under cold water. This entire process usually takes 5-8 minutes.
Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Step 3. Making Dressing Sauce

  • For those who don’t like the smell of fish sauce, you can substitute it with vegan fish sauce. Mix sugar, vinegar/lemon juice, garlic, and vegan fish sauce together. Stir until dissolved, then add water. Adjust the flavor to your taste. You can also add a bit of carrot and daikon pickles into the sauce.
  • Regarding peanuts and shallots, if you don’t have roasted peanuts and fried shallots, you can make them yourself. It will take you around 15-30 minutes. However, I usually buy already roasted peanuts and fried shallots from the supermarket to save time.
Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Step 4. Mixing Altogether

  • In a bowl, start with boiled rice vermicelli, then add vegetables, pickles, and beef slices.
  • Garnish with roasted peanuts and fried shallots. Finally, drizzle the dressing sauce over it and enjoy.
Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Storing Bun Bo Nam Bo for Later Use

Like many other rice vermicelli dishes, you should store each cooked ingredient separately. Rice vermicelli can last for 2 days in the fridge, while stir-fried beef can last for 3 days. Fresh vegetables should be consumed within a week if you keep them in the fridge. Store roasted peanuts and fried shallots at room temperature; they will remain crispy for 2-3 months.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe is such an easy and basic recipe that’s suitable for all home chefs. Enjoy it and share your review with me!

Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Today’s Bun Bo Nam Bo recipe (English translation: “Southern Beef Noodle”), doesn’t come from the Southern of Vietnam, but from Hanoi.

Ingredients

Beef

Vegetables

Dressing Sauce

  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice/vinegar 5%
  • 8 tbsp hot water

Other Toppings

Instructions

Step 1. Preparing

  • With Lean Beef, slice the beef thinly. To achieve thin beef slices as well as to make slicing easier, you should chill your beef in freezer for 30 minutes or until it’s firm. Then, marinate the beef with garlic, shallot, salt/fish sauce, a bit of sugar and lemongrass (optional).Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe
  • Wash lettuce, slice cucumber and prepare pickles (refer to my carrot & daikon pickle recipe here)vietnamese-pickled-carrots-and-daikon Pickled Carrots & Daikon

Step 2. Stir-frying Beef & Boiling Vermicelli

  • In a pan, add cooking oil and turn on medium heat. Once the oil boils, add beef slices in and quickly stir-fry until they are cooked. Don’t stir fry for too long because it can become chewier.Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe
  • While stirring beef, you can boil rice vermicelli in parallel. Add dried vermicelli and water to a saucepan or a pot and start heating them up with high heat. When the vermicelli starts softening, stir it occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan/pot. Finally, drain out the water and rinse cooked vermicelli under cool water. The whole process is often in 5-8 minutes.Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe

Step 3. Making Dressing Sauce

  • For ones who don’t like the smell of fish sauce, you can substitute it for vegan fish sauce. Mix sugar, vinegar/lemon juice, garlic, and fish sauce together. Stir until dissolved, then add water. Adjust the flavor following your taste. You can add a bit of carrot & daikon pickles into the sauce as well.Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe
  • With peanut and shallot, if you haven’t had roasted peanuts and fried shallots, you can make them yourself. It would take you around 15-30 minutes. I usually buy already roasted peanuts and fried shallots from supermarket to save time.

Step 4. Mixing Altogether

  • In a bowl, add boiled rice vermicelli first, then vegetables, pickles, and beef slices.Bun Bo Nam Bo RecipeA set of Bun Bo Nam Bo: beef, vegetables, dressing sauce, toppings
  • Garnish with roasted peanuts and fried shallots. Finally, add dressing sauce in and enjoy.Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 220
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350

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