Vietnamese ricenoodle salad with marinated beef

ricenoodle salad

…inspired by Bun Bo Xao Sa

Spring is in the air… making me realize that the countdown to getting in shape for the summer season has seriously started. I must admit that I’m really behind with my new years resolution of “more sports, less food”…. but longer days and the first warming sun-rays reignite the motivation that has hidden deep, deep in my subconsciousness…

I decided to look for some lighter food, without going totally green. I just need some “substance”, and also at least one warm meal a day. When flipping through one of my cooking books, I stumbled over a recipe for a Vietnamese ricenoodle salad with marinated beef, and immediately added it to my list of “light foods” to try. I also searched online for similar recipes and found various different ones, and realized that there does not to seem one single way of preparing “Bun Bo Xao Sa” ricenoodle salad. Especially the key ingredient, the dressing based on fish sauce (Nuoc Cham) seems to be a question of personal preferences, family recipes and “trial & error”. Interesting, and for sure worth a try.

The salad was an absolute success! The taste made me remember my Vietnam vacation, I had never expected that the result would be so authentic! Not comparable with various attempts of preparing a Thai curry for example, which always turned out very “European”…

I realized that the recipe needs a fair amount of sugar (especially the Nuoc Cham) – but given that almost no fat is needed except a little to fry the meat, I decided to still classify it as “light”.

Vietnamese Ricenoodle & Beef Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
  • Salad:
  • 100g Rice Noodles (I used vermicelli)
  • white wine vinegar
  • 1 small romaine lettuce
  • a hand full of bean sprouts
  • thai basil
  • fresh mint
  • coriander leaves
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 red onion
  • 300g beef (fillet)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 shallots
  • 50g unsalted peanuts
  • rapeseed oil
  • Marinade:
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 red hot chili pepper
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Fish Sauce (Nuoc Cham):
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 red hot chili pepper
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 1 lime
  1. Cut the meat into very fine slices. You might want to put it into the freezer for a while upfront, it makes it easier to cut it evenly.
  2. For the marinade, chop the chili pepper and the garlic finely, as well as the inner, soft parts of the lemongrass. Add sugar and the fish sauce and mix well. Add the meat and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the Nuoc Cham. Mix fish sauce, water, sugar and the freshly pressed juice of the lime and add chopped garlic and red hot chili pepper. Season to taste - you might need to add more sugar or water.
  4. Roast the peanuts and chop them coarsely. Cut the shallots into fine rings and fry them in a good amount of rapeseed oil until golden brown and crisp. Put them on some kitchen towel to cool off.
  5. Cut the carrot into fine "julienne" stripes, and the lettuce in stripes. Wash the herbs and pluck the leaves off the stems.
  6. Pour boiling water over the rice noodles, add a shot of vinegar and let them soak for 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water afterwards.
  7. Cut the red onion into half and slice it finely. Chop the remaining garlic and fry both in a pan at high temperature.
  8. Add half the meat and stir-fry for about 1 minute, take everything out of the pan and fry the remaining meat.
  9. Arrange the ricenoodles, the salad, carrots, bean sprouts and the meat in a bowl, and sprinkle the roasted peanuts and fried shallots on top. Eventually some chili pepper if you like it hot.
  10. Generously pour Nuoc Cham over it and serve.
  11. Mix the ricenoodle salad well before eating and enjoy!

ricenoodle salad

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