Vietnamese Bun Bo Xao (Beef with Rice Noodle Salad)

Vietnamese Bun Bo Xao (Beef with Rice Noodle Salad)

Vietnamese Bun Bo Xao (Beef with Rice Noodle Salad)
Serve with sliced mangoes-Noodles are one of the two main staples in daily Vietnamese meals (rice being the other) with rice noodles more prevalent than wheat. A cool noodle salad, or bun, is one of the most traditional ways of eating rice noodles in Vietnam. It is an amazingly intricate dance of tastes, textures, and temperature. Although you will most likely find bun made with quickly cooked pork at any of the many bun stands in Saigon, my favorite way to order it is with sirloin beef. Here is my version, which earned 5 stars at my dinner table. Make this on a hot summer night with a side of sweet mango slices.
    Servings
    4people
    Cook Time
    30minutes
    Meal Plan
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    Servings
    4people
    Cook Time
    30minutes
    Meal Plan
    Add to Meal Plan:
    This recipe has been added to your Meal Plan
    Ingredients
    • 6ounces rice noodles (like vermicelli)
    • 1/2tablespoon canola or peanut oil
    • 1 1/2pounds sirloin steak, thinly sliced
    • 1/2cup rice vinegar
    • 2tablespoons fish sauce (found in Asian section of your grocery)
    • 3tablespoons brown sugar or agave syrup
    • 4cups napa cabbage, shredded
    • 2cups carrots, shredded
    • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into matchbox slices
    • 1cup bean sprouts
    • 1/4cup fresh basil, slivered
    • 1/4cup fresh mint, slivered
    • Crushed roasted peanuts, optional condiment
    • 3 mangoes, peeled, pit removed, and sliced
    Instructions
    1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add rice noodles. Cook for 5 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
    2. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and quickly fry for 2-3 minutes for medium rare. Remove from skillet and keep warm.
    3. Whisk rice vinegar, fish sauce and sugar in a large serving bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cabbage and next 5 ingredients (through mint) along with the noodles and steak to the bowl. Toss with your hands until all ingredients are combined and coated in the dressing. Divide the salad among wide bowls and serve with crushed peanuts, if using, and a side of mango slices.
    Recipe Notes

    Bun is traditionally served with the Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce) as a condiment to the noodles, vegetables and meat. I have simplified the noodle salad by choosing to make a mild Nuoc Cham that is tossed with the salad prior to serving. This version is also a bit more kid-friendly. Feel free, however, to toss salad ingredients (noodles and vegetables), divide among bowls, top with meat and have each person drizzle the Nuoc Cham themselves.

    Here is a traditional Nuoc Cham recipe if you are inclined to keep it truly authentic. This condiment will keep in the refrigerator for a month so you can make bun anytime!

    Nuoc Cham: Mix in a jar with a lid ¼ cup sugar and ½ cup warm water to dissolve sugar. Mix in ¼ cup fish sauce, ¼ cup white vinegar, ½ of a lime, juiced. Add 3-4 minced cloves of garlic and 2-3 minced red chili pepper, minced (or ½ teaspoon chili paste). Most of these ingredients can be found in your Asian section of the grocery store.

    I love the versatility of Vietnamese noodle salads. Try lettuces (think romaine, butter, red and green leaf) instead of cabbage, and pork, chicken, shrimp, or tofu instead of beef. You could even marinate the meat or tofu in a little Nuoc Cham prior to cooking. Bun is also served with the bean sprouts as a condiment and a little sweet red pepper would add beautiful color. Go with the vegetables and meats you and your family love best!

    My oldest daughter likes to top her bun with a sweet chili sauce and I have to admit this is a great, non traditional condiment.

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