Bun cha (Bun thit nuong) – Vietnamese grilled pork and meatball with rice vermicelli

Happy New Year 2013 everybody! Wish you all the best for a very happy new year ^^, and of course, wish you could enjoy lots of delicious food <3. For me, just wish that I could have more time to work harder to post so many more recipes and entries :D …

To make something fresh for a new year, today I made Bun cha or Bun thit nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork and meatball with rice vermicelli) and put some decoration. Look at this photo!

Bun cha (Bun thit nuong) – Grilled pork and meatball with rice vermicelli for New Year

I’m so excited to share my recipe of making Bun cha or Bun thit nuong and more importantly, three ways of making grilled pork and meatball. I know it sounds too much but I believe that sometime in somewhere you might need it. In Vietnam, the tradition way to make Bun cha is using charcoal to grill pork and meat ball. However, it’s not easy to have the same tools in a foreign countries and the weather is not always nice to have a BBQ meal outside, especially for winter time. Therefore, I’ve tried several ways to make it. Hope it would help you guys to be successful with this dish no matter what tools you have or during any kind of weather ;)

1. Ingredients: serves 4 – 6 people

  • For grilled pork:
    • 2.5 lbs ( around 1.13 kg) boneless pork shoulder (I prefer parts that have a little more fat because it would make the grilled pork more tender and taste better)
    • 3 ½ Tablespoons minced shallot
    • 3 ½ Tablespoons fish sauce
    • 1 teaspoons salt
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar (I prefer brown sugar ‘cause it makes the grilled pork look nicer)
    • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • For grilled meatball:
    • 1.5 lb (0.68 kg) ground pork
    • 2 ½  Tablespoon minced shallot
    • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 2-3 carrots
    • 1 kohlrabi
    • 1 lb dried rice vermicelli
    • 1 package of lettuce
    • 1 package of Asian herbs or I just use cilantro, which is fine.
  • For the sauce:
    • ¾ cup fish sauce (177.44 ml)
    • ½ cup granulated sugar (115 grams)
    • ½ cup rice vinegar (118 ml)
    • 2 liter water
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 teaspoon minced chili (or to taste)

2. Process:

  • For the pork: slide the pork into pieces with 0.5 cm thickness (like in the below photos). Then combine all other ingredients: minced shallot, fish sauce, salt, pepper, sugar and cooking oil in a big bow. Mix the meat well then refrigerate to marinate in about 4 hours (I usually marinate overnight).

How to slide pork in a right size

Marinate pork in the fridge for about 4 hours


  • For the meatball: combine all the ingredients and mix well. Marinate in the fridge for about 4 hours or overnight. Before grilling, just take it out and form the mixture to a small meatball.

Grind pork by food processor


Marinate the ground pork

  • 3 ways to grill pork and meatball: While you preheat your grill, take the pork and meat ball out for about 20 minutes to bring them to room temperature.
    • Way 1 – Using a frying pan (prefer non-stick pan): Preheat the pan to Med-hi heat. Spray cooking oil and spread piece by piece to the pan. Grill each side for about 1 minute or until golden brown. The meatball would take a little bit longer time. You don’t have to put a lot of oil; otherwise it would be come fried pork, not grilled pork lol.

Grill pork using pan

    • Way 2 – Using a conventional oven (Broiler): Preheat oven (broil) at 400 F (or 204 C). To make it faster, I usually use skewers with the pork. It would be easier to turn the side of the pork if you use skewers. Remember to put the skewers and meatball on the rack so that the heat will flow and we can achieve golden brown grilled pork and meatball. I broil each side for about 2 minutes (depends on your oven)

Grill pork using oven (broiler)

    • Way 3 – Using an Indoor electric Cha-B-Q: This way works best for me. Instead of using charcoal, this uses electric to grill. I use the traditional tool from Vietnam to grill pork and meatball (see below pictures). Just grill each side until the pork and meatball become golden brown.

This is the traditional tool we use in Vietnam to grill pork


Grill pork using electric Char-B-Q

  • For the sauce: The sauce should be light enough so that you can drink it (not too salty, not too sweet nor too sour). You might recognize that this is a very common sauce for Vietnamese food. You can use this sauce for Pho Cuon (Rolling Pho).
    • Slide carrots and kohlrabi thinly and put 1 teaspoon salt to soften them. Leave it aside for about 20 mins. After that rinse out with water and put in a bow. Put 1 Tablespoon sugar and ½ Tablespoon vinegar. Mix them well.

Make pickle from carrots and kohlrabi

    • In a small pot, put water, fish sauce, granulated sugar and bring to boil. Turn off the heat, and put vinegar, minced garlic and minced chill. Put the mixture of carrots and kohlrabi. Taste the sauce again. It should be somewhere salty but a little bit sour and also sweet.

Making the sauce

  • Follow the instruction to boil the rice vermicelli. Rinse in cold water when it’s done so that the vermicelli will not be sticky. If it’s too long, you can cut into half.
  • Clean and rinse the lettuce and herbs.

Alright! So now you are ready to serve. In Hanoi, we will serve the meat (including meatball), vermicelli and the salad separately. So everybody will get the own bow with the sauce, and then they can feel free to put meat, vermicelli and salad just how they like. This is just a small sample of how Hanoi people eat Bun cha.

A sample of how Vietnamese eat Bun cha (Bun thit nuong)

Once again, happy New Year to everyone!

Beautiful and Yummy – Bun cha ( Vietnamese grilled pork and meatball with rice vermicelli)

You might also like :

, , , , , ,


  1. Do chua - Vietnamese pickled Daikon (radish) and carrots | Candy Can Cook - November 11, 2014

    […] chua (Daikon pickles) is not only use for Banh my but for a lot of other Vietnamese dishes such as Bun cha/ Bun thit nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork and meatball with rice vermicelli); Bun thang (Hanoi Chicken Vermicelli) or even it could be a side dish to eat with rice in a normal […]

Leave a Reply