I’m having a moment with Vietnamese vermicelli bowls. Ever since we first made this Vietnamese Restaurant Style Lemongrass Grilled Pork I’ve been living the vermicelli bowl life. It’s a really perfect combination for summer. For one, it’s so little prep time. The pork takes all of 5 minutes of hands on prep time. If you put it to marinate a day before, then it’s really only about 10 minutes of cook time on the grill or stovetop. Use that time prepare the noodles, veggies, herbs and dressing, and you’ve got yourself a super tasty, fresh and exciting 15 minute meal.
It’s also just so fresh and flavourful. What says summer if not grilled meat and fresh herbs?
Just like the pork itself, these Vietnamese vermicelli bowls are easy enough for a weeknight but exciting enough for a weekend. Once the pork is marinated and the veggies are cut, it basically makes itself. For me a great bonus is that they make really good next day lunches. I took these to work 4 times in a two week period and they held up so well. They’re delicious when served immediately with the grilled pork still hot, but they’re also really good even with it cold. The flavours are so pronounced that they stand up to cold serving with no problem.
You can easily prepare these in advance. Put the pork to marinate up to 3 days before you want to serve. The day before you can make the dressing and cut up all of the vegetables.
Nuoc Cham – aka The Dressing The dressing for vermicelli bowls is nuoc cham, a sweet and sour mix of sugar, water, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and chili. It’s really easy to prepare and took us less than 5 minutes. The longer it can sit the more the flavours develop. We used the Serious Eats Nuom Cham recipe.
The Noodles The first time I made these vermicelli bowls I accidentally grabbed glass vermicelli noodles instead of rice vermicelli noodles. The glass noodles are made out of mung beans, are clear (hence the name) and have a firmer and more slippery texture. They’re still good but they don’t really absorb the dressing the same way that rice noodles do. If you’re looking to cut down on calories opting for a low calorie noodle is a good option. There’s so much flavour in the dish that it really doesn’t take away from the overall effect.
The Meat When making this I used lemongrass pork the first time and lemongrass pork as well as chili lime shrimp the second time. Both are great additions but you could also easily adapt the lemongrass marinade to chicken if you prefer.
Overall these Vietnamese vermicelli bowls are a great summer meal that’s big on flavour and ready in no time. Prepare in advance or make on the fly. Easy enough for weeknights but impressive enough for the weekend. Highly recommend.
Until next time,
A fresh, tasty, and super easy 15 minute meal with a ton of flavour. This Vietnamese vermicelli bowl is perfect for summer barbecues or weeknight meals.
- 1 kg / 2 lbs pork shoulder steaks
- 250 grams / 9 oz of raw peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 birds eye chilis
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice + 2 limes
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thin sticks
- 1/2 full size cucumber, thinly sliced
- 8 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 250 gram / 9 oz package of vermicelli rice noodles or glass noodles
- 1 cup each of fresh coriander, mint and basil
- Prepare the pork. Follow the recipe here. It will only take about 15 minutes but should marinade for at least 1 hour at room temp or up to 72 hours in the fridge. Cook on the grill or in a skillet.
- Prepare the shrimp. Combine the juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp brown sugar, and 1 diced birds eye chili. Use that to brush the shrimp and then cook in a skillet or skewered on the grill.
- Cook the noodles. Cook the noodles according to package instructions.
- Prepare the nuoc cham. Follow the recipe here.
- Prepare the vegetables and herbs. Cut the carrots into thin sticks and thinly slice the radishes and cucumber. Trim the stems from the herbs and set aside the leaves.
- Assemble the bowls. Slice the lemongrass pork thinly. Add the noodles, pork, vegetables, and shrimp to a bowl. Garnish with the fresh herbs and top with the nuoc cham just before serving.
- Category: Lunch, Dinner
- Method: Grill or Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vietnamese