Southern Vietnam: Bún Thịt Nướng Chả Giò

Restaurant: Vung Tau II Restaurant
City: Milpitas, CA

South Vietnam’s weather is typically hot and humid all year round, so it’s no surprise that they have plenty of no-soup dishes that are suitable for hot days!

I had the vermicelli (bún) with grilled pork (thịt nướng) and egg roll (chả giò). The food inside the vermicelli bowl is typically put in layers; the top is the meats, the middle is the vermicelli, and a salad at the bottom composed of lettuce, mung bean sprouts, pickled carrots and daikon, green onion, and basil and/or mint. There were also peanuts in this dish, so if you’re allergic to peanuts, remember to order this dish without peanuts! This dish is typically eaten after mixing the noodle and salad with the fish sauce (nuoc mam), as shown in the second photo. I usually put the meats and egg roll aside prior to mixing, so it’s easier to mix and the egg roll won’t get soggy from the fish sauce.

bun thit nuong cha gio - 1bun thit nuong cha gio - 2

Bún thịt nướng is very popular in the southern region of Vietnam. In the North, a similar dish of rice vermicelli and grilled meat is called bún chả. (Wikipedia)

Travelfish.org has a good explanation of the dish, while comparing it to a similar dish from the North (bún chả):

Bun thit nuong (pronounced: boon-tit-nun) is a delicious staple of southern Vietnamese cuisine and their answer to the north’s bun cha. Bun, a cold, thin white rice noodle, also known as vermicelli, is placed in a bowl. Thit nuong, grilled strips of pork, are then placed on top and, unlike bun cha, served as a single dish. Often you have the option of adding cha gio (pronounced: cha zo) or small, crispy spring rolls, which are also placed on top. In the south, this dish is commonly served with pickled daikon and carrot and garnished with roasted peanuts. And of course no Vietnamese dish would be complete without pouring on some nuoc mam, or fish sauce.

Bun thit nuong is generally served over lettuce and cucumber, with herbs and bean sprouts. Depending on the street stall you attend (in Vietnam) they may have more or less of these extra ingredients. Luckily, unlike bun cha, which is generally served only for lunch, bun thit nuong is served all day. A breakfast stall commonly runs around 06:30-10:30, a lunch stall will go from 10:30-14:30 and a dinner stall will be open from 18:00-22:00 or until food runs out.

Bun thit nuong is a dish that is not too hot and not too cold but, as Goldilocks and I would say, “just right”. It is a perfect option for any time of the day.

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