If you’ve ever tried this refreshing bowl of springy rice noodles, savory beef, and fresh herbs and vegetables at a Vietnamese restaurant, then you probably know how satisfying and addicting it is! Today I’m going to show you how you can make this delicious and authentic Vietnamese beef noodle salad recipe quick and easy at home.
The easiest Vietnamese noodle bowl recipe
Not only is Bún Bò Xào delicious and healthy, it’s also extremely quick and easy to make. The whole process of making this Vietnamese noodle bowl is just stir-frying the beef, cooking the vermicelli noodles, then assembling everything together in a bowl with vegetables and herbs. It’s even easier if you already have a jar of my Nước Chấm recipe in the fridge, too – it goes on everything!
This Vietnamese noodle bowl recipe makes a wonderful quick lunch or dinner thanks to its easy preparation and accessible ingredients. Besides making a batch of Nước Chấm, I also recommend making a jar of my Vietnamese pickled vegetables to make assembling this beef noodle bowl even more of a breeze. They’re a staple side dish that you’ll want to pair with many Vietnamese and Asian dishes.
How to perfectly cook vermicelli noodles
Since this is a Vietnamese vermicelli recipe, the vermicelli rice noodles play a very important role in the dish. They make the recipe more filling and also carry most of the delicious Nước Chấm sauce and flavors from the stir-fried beef.
To give my vermicelli noodles the best texture and keep them from overcooking, I like to use a more “passive” cooking method.
First, I add my dried noodles to a pot of boiling water and separate them a little. Then, I cover the pot with a lid and turn off the heat. I let the noodles cook in the residual heat for 8 minutes then rinse them in hot water.
This method ensures you’ll never overcook the noodles and also keeps them from sticking together when they cool! This is the best way to cook vermicelli noodles that I’ve found. It’s a foolproof method that you can use in any Vietnamese vermicelli recipe.
Herbs for Bún Bò Xào
Vegetables and herbs are a central part of Vietnamese cuisine. They make Vietnamese dishes all the more refreshing, appetizing, and healthy! Layering herbs adds even more complexity to the flavors of the recipes and this is what makes food like this Vietnamese noodle bowl truly unique.
For my Bún Bò Xào recipe, I recommend starting with a bed of fresh lettuce, sliced or julienned cucumbers, and a variety of herbs. The most commonly used Vietnamese herbs are cilantro, mint, basil, and perilla leaves. You can use any herbs you have available, but I strongly recommend adding fresh mint for this recipe.
After the noodles and stir-fried beef comes the Vietnamese pickled vegetables and a side of Nước Chấm. Some people also like adding fresh bean sprouts and crushed peanuts to their Bún Bò Xào. These can add a crisp texture and nutty flavor that complement the savory beef and fresh herbs. Feel free to experiment and see what works best for you.
Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad | Bún Bò Xào
- 2 lbs. Sliced Beef
- 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1.5 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 medium size Onions
- 1 lbs. Rice Noodles / Vermicelli Noodles
- 2 tbsp Sugar (I prefer Palm Sugar)
- 2 tbsp Lime Juice
- 2 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 2 gloves Garlic
- 1 Hot Thai Chili Pepper (more or less to your liking)
- Vietnamese Pickled Vegetables (see my recipe how to make your own)
- Fresh Vietnamese Herbs
- Add all marinating ingredients to sliced beef.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes but if you have time, 1-2 hours or marinating time would be best.
Cook Rice Noodles – EASIEST METHOD
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add noodles and separate the noodles a little.
- Put ON the lid.
- Turn OFF the heat.
- Set timer for 8 minutes.
- Noodles will cook perfectly in the residual heat.
- After 8 minutes, drain and rinse with HOT water. Usually, people rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking. But since we using a “passive” cooking method, there is really no risk of over-cooking the noodles. Instead, rinsing it in hot water will prevent the noodles from sticking to each other once cooled. Make sure to rinse generously with water to wash out any starch the noodles released during the cooking process.
Cooking the Beef
- Add some oil to your Pan/Wok.
- Add the onions – I prefer using sweet onions but any type of onions will work. I wouldn’t recommend red onions just cause their color turns kinda grey and it doesn’t look as appetizing.
- Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the onions and nice and caramelized.
- Add beef and stir fry for another 4-5 minutes. You want to do this over medium heat so the beef cooks fast without drying out.
Assemble your Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl
- Start with a bed of lettuce, cucumbers and fresh Vietnamese herbs. This dish is not the same without fresh vegetables and herbs. At the very least I would recommend using fresh mint if you have it.
- Next comes the rice / vermicelli noodles.
- Then add the beef.
- Garnish with some more herbs and Vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots. Click here to get the recipe to make Vietnamese pickled veggies.
- Serve bowl with the sauce on the side so whoever eats it, can add as much or as little sauce as they want.