Bun Thit Nuong: Making Vietnamese Pork Noodle Bowls

Mar 25, 2024 / MIN READ

If you've been looking for an innovative dish to make at home, consider Vietnamese pork noodle bowls — perfect for family gatherings. Known as Bun Thit Nuong, this flavorful dish boasts traditional roots with a modern twist that everyone in your household is sure to love.

Read on for step-by-step instructions to recreate this culinary delight in your kitchen, including a few useful tips and tricks to make sure your grilled pork and rice noodles turn out just right.

What is bun thit nuong?

Bun thit nuong, or Vietnamese pork noodle bowls, are a delectable combination of grilled pork, rice noodles, fresh herbs and vegetables. And it's all brought together by a savory Vietnamese dipping sauce. Vibrant flavors and virtually limitless presentation options make this dish immensely popular.

In North Vietnam, it's often served with a mountain of fresh herbs and vegetables, while in the South, you're more likely to find this dish assembled into neat, compact bowls. The flexibility of a Vietnamese noodle bowl ensures everyone can enjoy it and easily customize it to their preferences. Whether you're drawn to its cultural richness or you're just looking to try something new, bun thit nuong is an ideal choice for a memorable family meal.

Preparing bún tht nng: Essential ingredients and step-by-step instructions

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 25 mins


  • 1 pack of Hatfield® Touch of Sea Salt Pork Loin Filet, cut into pieces.
  • 16 oz. vermicelli noodles.
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, minced.
  • 1 shallot, minced.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce.
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce.
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce.
  • ½ Tbsp. pepper.
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.
  • 1 Tbsp honey.
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar.
  • 2 cups lettuce (about 8 lettuce leaves).
  • ¼ cup pickled daikon.
  • ¼ cup pickled carrots.
  • ½ cup cucumbers, thinly sliced.
  • ¼ cup mint.
  • 2 Tbsp crushed peanuts, optional.
  • ½ cup Vietnamese dipping sauce, for serving.

Steps for mastering Vietnamese pork noodles at home

  • Step 1: Cut your pork loin into inch pieces.
  • Step 2: To prepare the marinade for your pork, combine lemongrass, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, pepper, vegetable oil, honey and light brown sugar in a large bowl. Stir the ingredients well and add your pork. For the best flavor, allow the pork to marinate for at least an hour, or ideally, leave it overnight.
  • Step 3: While the pork marinates, get the other ingredients ready. Cook your vermicelli noodles according to package instructions, pickle the daikon and carrots and cut your cucumbers into slices. If you're including peanuts, crush them in preparation.
  • Step 4: Preheat your grill to medium heat, then cook the pork pieces for 1-2 minutes on each side — or until they develop grill marks and are cooked all the way through.
  • Step 5: To assemble your vermicelli bowls, start by putting the cooked vermicelli noodles in a bowl. Then, add the lettuce, pickled daikon, pickled carrots, cucumbers and mint.
  • Step 6: Add your grilled pork to the vermicelli bowl and top it all off with crushed peanuts and a drizzle of Vietnamese dipping sauce. Finally, serve hot.
A plate of Vietnamese rice noodles and pork sits on a tableSteps for mastering Vietnamese pork noodles at home

Ready to get started? Head to your local grocery store to pick up your favorite Hatfield® pork products today!

Tips and tricks for the best culinary results

Here are some of the best practices to consider before getting started:

Grilling techniques to keep in mind

If you're a novice to the grill, don't worry — mastering this cooking technique is simpler than it seems. Start by giving your grill enough time to preheat for even cooking. Since you'll be grilling small pork pieces for this recipe, they'll cook quickly — usually, 1 to 2 minutes per side will do the trick. Don't forget to oil the grates beforehand to prevent sticking, and avoid pressing down on the food to retain its juices.

How to know when pork is fully cooked

Ensuring your pork is thoroughly cooked is vital for the health and safety of your family. The most reliable method is to use a meat thermometer and verify that the pork has reached 145. At this temperature, it's considered fully cooked and safe to consume.

The best sides to serve with bun thit nuong

Here are a few sides that perfectly complement the flavors of this main dish:

  • Fresh spring rolls filled with crisp vegetables like lettuce, cucumber and bean sprouts to complement the richness of bun thit nuong.
  • Vietnamese egg rolls filled with a flavorful mixture of ground pork, mushrooms, and vegetables to provide a satisfying crunch.
  • Green papaya salad made with shredded green papaya, carrots, herbs and tangy dressing for a refreshing contrast.
  • A cool and crisp cucumber salad tossed with rice vinegar, sugar and chili, offering a refreshing palate cleanser.
  • A medley of pickled vegetables for a burst of acidity.

Addressing your kitchen FAQs

We're answering all of the most commonly asked questions you might run into along the way:

What is the difference between bun cha gio and bun thit nuong?

If you're not a connoisseur of Vietnamese food, you might be wondering what the difference is between bun cha gio and bun thit nuong. While both are popular noodle dishes, they offer distinct flavor profiles and ingredient combinations.

Bun cha gio includes crispy Vietnamese egg rolls (ch giò) while bun thit nuong features grilled pork slices and pickled vegetables. However, both are generally served atop a bed of vermicelli noodles and accompanied by fresh herbs, lettuce and a savory dipping sauce.

What recipe variations can I consider?

There are seemingly endless ways to change up a bun thit nuong recipe to suit your household's taste preferences and dietary needs. For a vegetarian option, you might substitute grilled tofu or tempeh for the pork, marinating them in a similar sauce for flavor. Alternatively, you can add grilled shrimp or chicken for a twist on your grilled protein. Or, experiment with different herbs, vegetables and sauces to create unique flavor profiles and personalize this main dish to your liking.

Can I make this dish without a grill?

Absolutely! While grilling adds a unique smoky flavor, you can still enjoy bun thit nuong at home without a grill. To replicate the Vietnamese grilled pork, you can use a stovetop grill pan or even broil the pork in the oven until cooked through and slightly charred. Pan-frying the pork slices is another delicious alternative you can try. However you decide to prepare the pork, ensure the grilled meat is cooked thoroughly and retains its tender texture before assembling your rice noodle bowls.

Can I use pork tenderloin for this recipe?

You're welcome to experiment with various pork options for this recipe based on your family's tastes, such as pork shoulder, pork butt or pork tenderloin. If you opt for a leaner choice like Hatfield® Tuscan Herb Pork Tenderloin, remember to adapt the cooking times to avoid dryness. Slicing the tenderloin thinly is also important to ensure even cooking and a tender texture.

Can I prepare this recipe ahead of time?

You can certainly prepare the components of this recipe ahead of time for an easier process later on. After making your marinade, you can marinate the pork overnight in the refrigerator until it's time to grill. Similarly, you can pickle the daikon and carrots then cook the vermicelli noodles and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. This makes it simple to quickly assemble your rice noodle bowls when ready to serve.

How long should I marinate the pork before grilling?

Marinating pork before grilling is important to give it a boost of flavor and tenderness, but the duration really depends on your personal preference and time constraints. Marinate the pork for at least one hour, and if time permits, marinate overnight in the refrigerator for the most flavorful results.

However, if you're in a pinch for time, you can also consider a pre-marinated option for an even simpler process. For a sweeter flavor profile, you can choose Hatfield® Savory Brown Sugar Pork Loin Filet. On the other hand, you might also go for something with a kick like Hatfield® Nashville Hot Pork Loin Filet.

How Hatfield pork enhances the flavor and safety of bun thit nuong

Bun thit nuong remains a beloved dish cherished for its ability to bring families together over a flavorful and satisfying meal. With its versatile nature, it appeals to a wide range of tastes and preferences, making it a favorite among households.

When it comes to making this Vietnamese delicacy at home, the quality of ingredients matters. High-quality pork products from Hatfield offer every chef the assurance of superior taste and texture — elevating your favorite recipes to new heights of deliciousness. Plus, Hatfield's commitment to food safety ensures peace of mind for families, so you can savor every bite without worry.

If you're ready for a delicious and safe dining experience, head to your local grocery store to pick up your favorite Hatfield® pork products today!