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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bun Bo Nam Bo - Hanoian Rice Noodles with Beef

Dry beef noodles, Hanoi style
Though  Vietnam may lie in my  backyard,  due to unknown reasons it  was out of our travel radar.

Vietnam as a possible  destination  only came into our consciousness because of girlgirl's Vietnamese classmates.  I finally yielded to Hanoi's waving   because of 1) Jetstar's  $300 all in  ticket 2) the cool weather  in December  and 3)  its authentic food  due to its distance from the commercial south.

As a prelude to our  Hanoi trip, I have whipped up a couple of  Viet Hanoian  dishes to tantalize the other 2 intrepid travelers . Even as I foresee the language  to be beyond me, there is always the love of food that would endear us to the place and her people.

The first attempt of  my  cuisine lineup  is  this dry beef noodles. Girlgirl is not a meat eater but lemon grass with beef met her total approval, which speaks lots. Fish sauce is to Vietnamese as brie cheese is to the French, an acquired taste. For us growing up with durian and  sambal belachan, Viet fish sauce barely caused us to bat an eye lid. I find that to minimize the 'impact' of the sauce, it is best to go with herbs ,such as parsley or basil. Alternatively, bring the sauce to a minimum by cooking  until it caramelizes.

For more reading, check out 'Hanoi street food-cooking and traveling in Vietnam' by  Tom Vandenberghe and Luk Thys

Here's my version of Bun Bo Nam Bo.

For 4.

Ingredients :
2 lemon grass stalk - white tender part only
2 cloves of garlic
3 portions of beef, sukiyaki grade,thinly sliced

Ground peanut
1 tsp red chilli flakes
Fried shallots

500g noodles
1 TBSP Vietnamese or Thai fermented fish sauce ( substitute : light soy sauce )
3 cups bean sprouts
5 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
3 cups kailan

Method :
Cut the white part of the lemon grass stalks into slivers.
Mince garlic.
Toss the sliced beef with lemon grass and garlic. Stir in fish sauce and toss well.
Marinate for 30 minutes.
In a hot pot, heat canola oil. Fry the beef until beef is just cooked.
Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
Parboil the noodles and vegetables , about 30 seconds.

Distribute the noodles into  4 separate portions.
Top the noodles with the beef, garnish with ground peanuts, chilli flakes , parsley and shallots.
(optional) drizzle some fish sauce over the condiments.
Eat  hot.


  1. yum! i always love vietnamese beef noodle :)

  2. Hanoi always hold a special place in my heart.

    1. You have a beautiful heart. Vietnam will be your pride and joy.

  3. Nice to meet you today at E's home....

    1. The pleasure's all mine. Thank you for the to-die-for cupcakes!

  4. Your beef noodles are stirring up my imagination! I must cook this too :)