Bun Thit Nuong Vietnamese Grilled Pork is one of our favourite summer barbecue meal ideas.
The dish is also known around the world as Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork and Vietnamese BBQ Pork.
Our step by step recipe shows you how to make a quick & easy traditional Thit Nuong marinade featuring flavourful fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic and sesame oil.
Once the meat has marinated, enjoy the smoky perfume at your barbecue as plump Vietnamese Grilled Pork sizzle to perfection!
Slice the crispy and caramelized barbecued meat and serve over a rice noodle bowl with fresh herbs, pickled vegetables and egg rolls. You’ll love our quick & easy Bun Thit Nuong recipe!
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Travel to Vietnam by Cooking Bun Thit Nuong
I spent over a month traveling by bus through Vietnam. I started in the south, spending a few days in Saigon before exploring the floating markets in the nearby Mekong Delta. I then took a series of night buses north making stops in Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay and Hanoi.
What I found most fascinating is Vietnam’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in France, Germany, Italy or Spain, each town in Vietnam had its own local speciality.
Where To Eat Vietnamese Grilled Pork
Haven’t traveled to Vietnam before? It may be helpful to first sample Bun Thit Nuong at a local Vietnamese restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can assess the texture of the Vietnamese Grilled Pork and get creative ideas on what toppings to serve with your vermicelli noodle bowl.
What Is Bun Thit Nuong?
Bun Thit Nuong is a traditional Vietnamese dish of grilled lemongrass pork and rice noodles.
Bun Thit Nuong is traditionally served with barbecued pork meat (thit nuong) over a bowl of rice noodles (bun) and topped with fresh herbs, chopped vegetables and Vietnamese nuoc cha dipping sauce.
The dish is one of Vietnam’s most popular street food items, typically served with spring rolls or egg rolls. Bun Thit Nuong is popular all over Vietnam, except for Hanoi, where a related dish, Bun Cha, is preferred.
Other variations of the simple dish can include chopped peanuts, pickled carrots, grilled sausage or grilled prawns.
Best Pork Cut For Authentic Thit Nuong
Our favourite meat to purchase at the butcher is pork. We’re amazed at how many textures and flavours one animal can provide; from crispy bacon, sweet ham, tender pulled pork and crunchy grilled pork chops.
If it’s your first time cooking homemade Bun Thit Nuong you might be wondering what cut of pork to purchase in the meat section at your grocery store.
In our recipe for Vietnamese Grilled Pork we’ve used bone-in and boneless pork chops. We love grilling bone-in pork chops on the barbecue as the bone imparts flavour, adds smokiness to the meat and is aesthetically pleasing on the plate.
Pork shoulder is also another popular cut of meat when preparing Bun Thit Nuong.
How Do You Eat Vietnamese Grilled Pork?
Bun Thit Nuong is a Vietnamese street food dish typically served in a large pho soup bowl with chopsticks.
Thin rice noodles are tossed in fresh herbs like mint and cilantro and then topped with crispy Vietnamese grilled pork and chopped pickled vegetables like carrot and daikon radish.
Traditionally locals eat Bun Thit Nuong alongside crunchy spring rolls or egg rolls. You’ll also find a dish of nuoc cham at the table, Vietnam’s signature condiment. The spicy sauce is made up of salty fish sauce, tart lime juice, sugar and red chili peppers.
If you’ve never had nuoc cham before we suggest drizzling a small amount over the Bun Thit Nuong noodle bowl. Mix the noodles with your chopsticks and have a taste. Add more nuoc cham if you are looking for more spicy heat and acid.
If you don’t want your entire dish to be smothered in nuoc cham you can also chose to grab each slice of Vietnamese lemongrass pork with chopsticks and simply dip in the sauce to add a splash of spicy acid. You’ll love how the nuoc cham contrasts with the crispy and caramelized barbecued pork.
Our Bun Thit Nuong recipe is truly refreshing, featuring tender barbecued pork, crunchy pickled vegetables, slippery rice noodles and spicy sauce.
Bun Thit Nuong Recipe Tips
Ready to cook our homemade Vietnamese Grilled Pork recipe? We suggest reading the recipe directions in detail to ensure you understand the step by step process.
Before you even start barbecuing the Vietnamese grilled pork chops we suggest setting the table with a large plate filled with fresh lettuce and herbs as well as a bottle of sweet chili sauce and nuoc cham.
Bun Thit Nuong are traditionally made with pork shoulder or pork chops but if you don’t eat pork you could always substitute with beef steak, chicken thighs or turkey breast.
It’s important to use chopped lemongrass in the Bun Thit Nuong marinade but you can also add additional flavourings like chopped chives or scallions.
While our Vietnamese Grilled Pork recipe features thinly sliced carrot and daikon radish, you can also use pickled or fermented vegetables like fermented carrots. Fermented vegetables are healthy for your gut and offer a tangy taste and enjoyable crunch.
Once your pork is finished marinating and you’re ready to grill on the barbecue you’ll find plenty of leftover lemongrass, sesame seed and shallot mixture.
We suggest tapping the pork chops on the side of the bowl so you’re just grilling the marinated meat. If you place the pork chops covered in the marinade bits they’ll quickly burn on the grill or will fall below the flames, a sad waste!
Instead, scrape the remaining marinade mixture into a skillet and cook over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes. You’ll find the sesames seeds, lemongrass and shallots caramelize and get crunchy. The crunchy mixture is full of flavour so we suggest sprinkling it on top of each Bun Thit Nuong bowl before serving.
Can You Make Grilled Vietnamese Pork in Advance?
You can easily prepare portions of this Bun Thit Nuong recipe in advance so assembly before you serve your meal is quick and easy.
If you’re hosting a dinner party and serving Vietnamese Grilled Pork noodle bowls to a crowd we suggest spending the morning preparing the nuoc cham. The pork marinade can be made up to 24 hours in advance. After tossing the raw meat in the marinade cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge over night.
An hour before you are planning on sitting down to dinner, remove the Thit Nuong from the fridge and grill them on both sides until golden brown on your barbecue. Store the cooked Vietnamese grilled pork on a baking sheet in a warm oven until ready to build your vermicelli bowls.
Building Vietnamese Grilled Pork Noodle Bowls
In Vietnam you’ll find locals assemble Bun Thit Nuong differently depending on the region you visit.
We’ve served our rice noodle bowl in the style of Southern Vietnam. Toss the rice noodles in nuoc cham and fresh herbs then top with pickled vegetables, Vietnamese grilled pork slices and egg rolls. We think this is the most beautiful way to present the dish.
We like to think of the presentation and process as similar to Korean Bibimbap. When your guests has the bowl placed in front of them they’ll have the opportunity to see all of the separate ingredients siting on top of the noodles. You can then encourage them to use their chopsticks to toss the ingredients together so they are fully combined.
In the North, the presentation is slightly different. The rice noodles and pickled vegetables arrive on their own separate plate. The meat arrives at the table in a small bowl, soaking up salty fish sauce. The grilled pork in Northern Vietnam is also traditionally paired with pork sausage, called bun cha.
How To Store Thit Nuong
Whenever we host a Vietnamese Grilled Pork noodle bowl party we never have leftovers as the dish is such a crowd pleaser!
But if you do find yourself with leftovers, feel free to store the cooked Vietnamese Grilled Pork in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days.
We often like to double our Bun Thit Nuong recipe and store the leftover grilled pork chops in the freezer. If you’re looking for a last minute dinner idea or are hosting an impromptu lunch it’s easy to grab them out of the freezer and thaw them before guests arrive.
You’ll just need to prepare the noodles, chopped vegetables and herbs and nuoc cham sauce. Simply place the leftover grilled pork on a baking sheet and reheat in the oven before serving.
While Vietnamese Grilled Pork are easy to freeze and reheat, we do not suggest storing leftover marinated rice noodles in the fridge or freezer as they get soggy.
What To Serve With Vietnamese Grilled Pork?
Our Bun Thit Nuong recipe is served as a hearty and healthy noodle bowl with Vietnamese pork & shrimp egg rolls. The bowls are large enough to fill you up at lunch or dinner.
Hosting a large dinner party and thinking of serving this recipe as an appetizer sized salad? You could also serve this grilled pork and noodle salad with Vietnamese Crepes, Indian Crepes, Chicken Korma, Shahi Paneer, Green Onion Cakes, Goi Ga Vietnamese Salad or Thai Beef & Pumpkin Coconut Curry.
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Best Thit Nuong Vietnamese Grilled Pork Recipe
Thit Nuong Vietnamese Grilled Pork
- mixing bowl
- French knife
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- 2 lb Pork Chops
- 2 Shallots minced
- 3 Garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup Lemongrass minced
- 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tbsp Dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Using your hands, massage the pork chops in the marinade until fully combined. Allow the meat to relax in the marinade overnight or up to 24 hours.
- You will have leftover marinade mix including sesame seeds, lemongrass and shallot. You don't want to waste these tasty bits as they'll fall through the barbecue when grilling. Save these for later as we'll fry them to make a crispy topping.
- Grill the meat on a barbecue on low to medium heat with the lid closed for most of the time in order to keep the meat moist. Flip the pork chops once the meat has developed a sear and is evenly caramelized on one side.
- Once the pork is cooked through, transfer the meat onto a serving platter.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the leftover marinade mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes until caramelized and crunchy. Sprinkle Thit Nuong with crunchy lemongrass and sesame seed mixture.
- Serve Vietnamese Grilled Pork with rice noodles, steamed jasmine rice, or inside a baguette along with all the fixings—fresh mint, shredded lettuce, sliced cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, toasted peanuts, scallion oil, fried shallots, and nuoc cham or Thai sweet chili sauce.
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