Whenever I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, I always have the same dilemma. Should I order pho, a rice plate, or a vermicelli salad? Equally delicious in their own way, I have fallen in love with all three dishes. With spring bringing warmer days, I decided to make my own Vietnamese caramelized pork and vermicelli salad at home, because, well, why not?

vietnamese caramelized pork and vermicelli salad
vietnamese caramelized pork and vermicelli salad


Serves 4


Vietnamese lemongrass pork and vermicelli salad

1 hr, 45 Total Time

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    Lemongrass pork
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 2-3 inch strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemongrass, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Pickled carrots
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 3 inch lengths, julienned (about 1 cup)
  • 1 3 inch daikon, julienned (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Nuoc cham
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Remaining ingredients
  • 8 ounces thin rice vermicelli noodles
  • 2 cups romaine, chopped
  • Fried egg rolls (optional)
  • 4 ounces shrimp, cooked
  • 3 sprigs Thai basil, leaves picked and cut chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts


  1. Whisk together all ingredients for pork marinade from garlic - black pepper. Add pork and turn to coat. Marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, pickle the carrots and daikon. Combine rice vinegar - salt in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and pour over the carrots and daikon. Let cool.
  3. Prepare the dressing (nuoc cham). Stir together fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and warm until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  4. Cook noodles according to directions on package. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
  5. Heat grill to high. Remove pork from marinade and cook on grill until grill marks appear. Flip and cook on the other side. Remove and keep warm.
  6. Assemble the bowls. Line each bowl with chopped romaine. Top with vermicelli noodles followed by pickled carrots and daikon, pork, egg roll, shrimp, herbs and crumbled peanuts. Drizzle nuoc cham, serving extra on the side.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Vietnamese vermicelli salads, also known as Bun Bo Xao, all have the same base ingredients but vary with toppings. Every salad comes with chopped greens, fresh herbs, thin rice vermicelli noodles and nuoc cham dressing on the side. However, you can mix it up with the proteins and enjoy the noodles with grilled pork, beef, and shrimp. Some restaurants even top the noodles with fried egg rolls, shrimp paste, and tofu.

This recipe has pork but you can substitute it for beef or chicken. I have tried preparing the pork on the stove, in the oven, and on the grill and have discovered that the grill is the best method. The high temperatures achieved by the grill allow the meat to caramelize in a way that other methods do not.

vietnamese caramelized pork and vermicelli salad

I decided to go extra fancy today and added the egg roll and some shrimp. You can choose to pair the salad with just noodles, greens, herbs, pickled carrots and daikon with the meat and it will be just as delicious. Don’t forget the finishing touch – the crumbled peanuts!

Just like all other Vietnamese dishes, this Vietnamese caramelized pork and vermicelli salad is a layer of flavors. Fresh ingredients are paired with savory pork and finished with a balanced sauce that brings together a lovely noodle salad. The best part? This dish is actually healthy!

For another favorite Vietnamese dish, check out my lemongrass steak banh mi with a fried egg!

vietnamese caramelized pork and vermicelli salad


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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