Friday 30 September 2011


It has been unseasonably warm and sunny the past few days. Thank God for that. Of course, when the weather is like this, the first thing that comes to mind is firing up the barbie. Before you say not again, may I say that this is actually a comforting bowl of hot noodle soup. This is my take on the much loved Vietnamese noodle soup with flat rice noodles and aromatic chargrilled pork. 

I've recently seen Luke Nguyen's travel and cooking series on Veitnam and was so smitten by the whole country. Not only is the place endowed with natural beauty, they are also blessed with an abundant source of delicious, wholesome food. I was amazed at how they put so much love in their cooking. They treat their cooking as a true art form. Even street vendors cook each dish in the proper traditional way. Their food is so untouched by commercialism. 

I know that my dish would not stand up to the real Vietnamese noodle soup because their stock cooks for hours and hours. The stock has to be rich and well seasoned. I used pork neck bones and beef tendons and simmered them for a couple of hours to make a very tasty soup. Both can be bought frozen at the Oriental supermarket. I would have used beef bones but that is very difficult to find here. Onions and ginger were included to flavour the stock. After a long simmer, I was rewarded with the best soup ever.

I have used pork shoulder steaks for this recipe because that has a marbling of fat which makes the meat succulent and tender after grilling. A handful of herbs and crispy onions makes this dish to die for. Trust me.

The grilled pork can also be eaten on cold rice noodles  as bún thịt nướng. Follow my bun cha recipe but replace the pork patties with the chargrilled pork. This will also be nice in baguettes, banh mi style, with carrot and radish pickles. Of course, it can also be simply eaten with rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients for the chargrilled pork:

4 pork shoulder steaks
1 stalk lemon grass, chopped 
3 slices of ginger, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red finger chilli, chopped
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
2 tbsps. fish sauce
3 tbsps. brown sugar
juice of half a lime or lemon

For the noodle soup:

300 gms. flat rice noodles
6 c. rich stock
coriander (cilantro)
spring onions
crispy onions
lime or lemon wedges


Pound the chopped lemon grass in a mortar and pestle. Mix with the rest of the marinade ingredients for the chargrilled pork. Cut diagonal slashes on the surface of the pork steaks. Cut diagonal slashes on the other side going the opposite direction. Lay on a glass or plastic container and pour in the marinade. Leave for at least an hour. Chargrill on medium low heat for ten minutes on each side or until done. Let rest for ten minutes before cutting into strips.

To assemble the noodle soup:

Cook the rice noodles until al dente. This will cook further when you pour in the soup. Divide into four bowls. Pour in some of the soup (about 1 1/2 cups per person). Top with chargrilled pork, spring onions, mint and coriander. Tuck in a wedge of lime or lemon and sprinkle with the crispy onions. Serve at once with the dipping sauce.

Ingredients for the dipping sauce:

1/4 c. white wine vinegar
juice of 2 limes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red finger chilli, chopped
1/4 c. of sugar
1/4 c. fish sauce

Combine all the ingredients together and serve with the noodle soup.

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  1. Oh this looks mouthwatering.I love dishes like this:)) Great job:)

  2. Oo! This looks very delicious! Thanks for sharing and I will definitely try this out one of these days! :)

  3. It wasn't till I started making my own stocks that I realized how much difference there was in flavor between homemade and store bought. Like night and day! It makes all the difference in a soup...

  4. Wow what a great recipe, this looks so amazing! :)

  5. That looks delicious!! I highly recommend Luke's cookbook "My Vietnam" - in the UK it was published as "Songs of Sapa", and it happens to be one of my favorite books on my shelf.

  6. This looks amazing Adora. And your photos are drool worthy as usual. Now I want soup :-D

  7. This is one of my favorite dish when we got for viet food. Great recipe.

  8. Summer time is in your next of the woods eh? It can be downright storming, snow, blizzard, I would use any excuse to have something from the barbi, meat, grilled veggies, the grilled smell/taste is everything, it's sublime.

  9. Looks so delicious, our kind of food is one of these noodles but without the pork

  10. This looks good! I didn’t notice it was served in a soup at first. I think it would be great just with “dry” noodles and some fish dipping sauce as well =)
    If beef bone are difficult to find you might want to consider making the broth with just the cheapest beef cuts you can find. I normally do a combo of beef bone and pieces of beef. Make it today…eat it tomorrow style.

  11. This looks absolutely incredible! I would love to have some of this right now!!!

  12. That is one tasty looking bowl of soup!

  13. I love rice noodles and have been looking around for some new recipes to add to the meal rotation, I think this one fit the bill nicely! Yummy!


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