Vietnamese: Grill Pork (Thit Nuong)

A few weeks ago, I made one of my favorite Vietnamese dish. It is light, refreshing, and full of flavor. It is called Bun Thit Nuong (Grill Pork Rice Vermicelli). For those who know me would think, wait this is grill pork. There is nothing saucy about it? The sauce comes from the special Lemon Fish Sauce you add in afterwards! In a large bowl, you would combine some leafy lettuce, mint leaves, rice vermicelli, grill pork, and a splash of lemon fish sauce. It is full of flavor and aroma. Plenty healthy and refreshing! If you want to kick it up a notch (as Emil would say), add some pickle veggie and roasted peanuts. Oh so yummy!

Ingredients - Grill Pork
Tip #1: If you have a food processor / chopper, you can combing garlic, shallots, and lemon grass together to chop / blend. Save time mincing them individually. 
  • 2 lbs pork butt or shoulder, thinly sliced just under 1/4 inch. You can ask the butcher to do the slicing for you to save time. 
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs ground pepper
  • 2 whole garlic, minced
  • 2-3 shallots, minced.
  • 3 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of veggie oil
  • 1 tbs thick soy sauce or caramel sauce for the color
  • 3 tbs roasted sesame
  • optional: 2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
  • optional / recommended: 8-10 green onions, thin slice long length, leaf only. It will give it nice aroma during the grilling process
  • optional: 1/4 cup lemongrass minced (i usually use it if the meat was beef, but will work well on pork too)

Ingredients - Tangy Fish Sauce (Nouc Cham)

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeeze lime
  • 1 cup luke warm water
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 thai chili pepper
  • optional: 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
Let's get started: 

Grill Pork

Tip #1: If you are planning to use bamboo sticks to skew the meat, soak the stick in ice cold water for a couple of hours prior to skewing. This will prevent the stick from burning too easy during grilling process. I personally would use the Flex Grill Basket

Tip #2: For best flavor, use charcoal. Slow grilling over amber charcoal allows the meat to cook to perfection without drying out the meat. Also, the juice dripping on the amber would create a nice smoke burnt around the edge of the meat for great flavoring. 

  • combine all the pork ingredients into a large stainless steel bowl and mix them with your hand. Let it marinate for at least 24 hours before grilling. 
  • Right before cooking, you can skew them in bamboo sticks or use grill basket

Tangy Fish Sauce
Tip #1 - There are many versions of this recipe out there. So hard to remember the "exact" portions. My mom came up with a simple portion formula to help me remember and adjust accordingly from there. The formula is 1-1-1-4. One part fish sauce, one part fresh lime juice, one part sugar, four part water. The other ingredients are optional. So if you are using tablespoon, or cup, the portions would be in equal part. Adjust to taste. 
  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir it until all the sugar dissolved
  • Adjust more or less sugar / fish sauce to your taste. For me, I prefer a bit on the sweet side. 
  • Chill in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.    
How To Eat 
There are many ways to use the grill pork to eat. 
  • Rice Vermicelli Bowl - Most common is to combine the meat in a bowl with rice vermicelli and some fresh leafy lettuce and a splash of tangy fish sauce. 
  • Rice Bowl - Another way is to serve it over broken rice and a splash of tangy fish sauce. 
  • Spring Roll - Similar to Vietnames Spring Roll, you can use rice paper and roll the grill pork with some fresh leafy lettuce. Dip it in the tangy fish sauce
No matter which way you eat it, it is all good. Let me know your version of this dish or how you decide to eat it. Would love to hear. 

Picture taken using Samsung Galaxy S Phone

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