Bún thịt nướng: an elegant classic

Bún Thịt Nướng: An Elegant Classic

First Published May 2014 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

This post was last updated 10 years ago. Please check the comments section for possible updates, or read more on my Updates & Accuracy page.

Simple & elegant yet complex & mysterious

Bún thịt nướng is a cold noodle salad that can be found all over southern Vietnam. It’s a light, balanced and extremely ‘pretty’ dish. The main components are bún (white rice noodles) and thịt nướng (grilled marinated pork). But, as always, there’s a lot more going on in this beautiful bowl of noodles. Unlike most noodles-in-a-bowl that you find in Vietnam, bún thịt nướng is dry: instead of a broth, this dish is served with a generous side of nước mắm (sweet fish sauce), which is poured into the bowl and turned through the noodles using chopsticks. Mixed in with the noodles and grilled pork is a delicious combination of textures, colours and flavours: peanuts, roasted shallots, mint, perilla and lettuce leaves, bean sprouts, pickled carrots and daikon, crispy spring rolls cut into small pieces, and red chilli. The interplay between crunchy, crispy, soft, chewy, wet, dry, herby and spicy is deeply satisfying: an adventure playground for your taste buds and tongue. It’s cool and refreshing – the perfect antidote to the heat and humidity of the south. There’s something simple and elegant yet delicate and mysterious about bún thịt nướng, which reminds me of one of the classic postcard images of Vietnam: the schoolgirls riding bicycles in a group down a hot, sun-drenched street, their white áo dài school dresses billowing behind them in the breeze.

You’ll see signs outside local eateries advertising bún thịt nướng throughout southern Vietnam, but my favourite place for this dish is at Anh Vy Cafe. Address: 649/65 Điện Biên Phủ Street, Bình Thạnh District, Saigon [MAP]. Ms Hiền has lived and worked at the café here for over 30 years. Her bún thịt nướng is a recent addition to her main drinks business, but, judging by the superb quality of her recipe, it won’t be long before her food is as popular as her drinks. A bowl of bún thịt nướng at Anh Vy is 25,000VNĐ ($1). For a refreshing accompaniment to this equally refreshing dish, try Ms Hiền’s iced passion fruit juice (nước ếp chanh dây) for 15,000VNĐ ($0.75) a glass. Opening hours are 10am to 7pm Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday).

Images of my favourite bún thịt nướng in Saigon at Anh Vy Cafe:

RELATED CONTENT: The Best Phở in Saigon | Bún Mắm: the Mekong in a Bowl | Local Rice Eateries

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  1. An Le says:
    April 19, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    Hi Tom,
    There are 2 styles of bun thit nuong. Northern and Southern. The northern style they use slice pork, where in southern style is mince pork.

    1. Tom says:
      April 20, 2015 at 1:49 AM

      Yes, thanks, An.

  2. christian says:
    May 20, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    salut tom,

    un excellent bun thit nuong à essayer , sur mac dinh chi (en partant de dien bien phu), 1ère allée à gauche, au millieu de l’allée vers le 65 mac dinh chi.

    également très bon nem nuong à la saigonaise (nuoc mam, pas de sauce rouge sucrée comme dans le centre) street food style 120 tran hung dao, just before nguyen cu trinh

    tu m’en diras des nouvelles !

    bravo pour ton site très bien fait par ailleurs.


    1. Tom says:
      May 20, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      Merci, Christian.

      Courtesy of Google Translate I was able to read your comment 🙂 Thank you for the tips, I will try them out when I’m back in Saigon.


  3. Marion says:
    May 14, 2014 at 5:20 AM

    Hi Tom,
    going to try it right now 🙂 Close to work and looks amazing!
    thanks for the address 🙂

    Marion xx

    1. Tom says:
      May 14, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      Hi Marion,
      Great! Let me know what you think??