Vietnamese beef noodle salad is packed with fresh herbs, flavorful beef, and refreshing lime fish sauce dressing. It is easy to make, and you can enjoy it either as a main or side dish.
Overview of Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad (Bun Bo Xao)
Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad goes by “bun bo xao” or “bun bo Nam Bo” in Vietnamese. A bowl of this tasty noodle salad is usually substantial enough to be a full meal by itself. I think this dish says quite a lot about Vietnamese cuisine which values a fresh, pure and clean taste. If you visit Hanoi, it is quite easy to find a street food shop selling this dish. Bun Bo Xao and Bun Cha (Vietnamese grilled pork meatballs with noodles) are two popular noodle street food dishes in Hanoi.
It is super easy to replicate this noodle salad at home. Stir-fried beef and colorful vegetables and herbs are placed on a bed of soft vermicelli noodles. To make it even more delicious, we sprinkle it with crunchy fried shallots and roasted peanuts. We then drizzle Vietnamese signature fish sauce dressing over the salad and give it a good mix before eating. Simple as it may sound, it is a feast to the eyes and stomach.
Cooking Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad (Bun Bo Xao)
The main ingredients for this dish are beef, rice vermicelli noodles (bun), your choice of vegetables and fresh herbs. Fried shallots and roasted peanuts are somewhat optional, but their crunchiness and nuttiness do increase the deliciousness. You can buy fried shallots packed in a jar at Asian grocery stores.
My favorite beef cut for stir-frying is flank steak which is very flavorful. It becomes tender when marinated long enough. I recommend using flank steak, slice it against the grain as thinly as you can and marinate for about 25-30 minutes. You can certainly choose another cut you like. The key here is to slice it against the grain thinly, marinate, and stir-fry in small batches.
In terms of vegetables, there is an array from which you can choose. I usually use at least two types of vegetables from this list: lettuce, micro greens, bean sprouts, carrot, and cucumber. As for herbs, I often choose mint and cilantro for their refreshing flavor and not too strong aroma.
If you cook Vietnamese food frequently, it is always a good idea to have a pack of rice vermicelli noodles in the pantry. My favorite brand is Bamboo Tree (Ba cay tre). After trying several brands, I can conclude that their vermicelli noodles are the best.
It may be a matter of preference, but I like to eat my Vietnamese beef noodle salad warm. To do that, everything else must be ready before stir-frying the beef. The noodles can be warmed up by running them through hot water very briefly. To warm up the dressing, you can microwave it for about 30 seconds. Put the noodles, veggies and herbs in the serving bowls, and then stir-fry the beef.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here. I add new recipes every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates.