May 11 2011
Confused as to what to eat next in Saigon? Take a deep breath; if you smell what you think to be barbecue and see smoke rising from a grill you have hit the jackpot! You’ve found bun thit nuong, a dish that is not too hot and not too cold but, as Goldilocks and I would say, “just right”. It is a perfect option for any time of the day and is one of my personal favourites. Whether you find it down a side alley, or on a busy footpath, sit down on your plastic stool and watch as these masters of the grill pull out their strips of pork and cook them to perfection.
Bun thit nuong (pronounced: boon-tit-nun) is a delicious staple of southern Vietnamese cuisine and their answer to the north’s bun cha. Bun, a cold, thin white rice noodle, also known as vermicelli, is placed in a bowl. Thit nuong, grilled strips of pork, are then placed on top and, unlike bun cha, served as a single dish. Often you have the option of adding cha gio (pronounced: cha zo) or small, crispy spring rolls, which are also placed on top. In the south, this dish is commonly served with pickled daikon and carrot and garnished with roasted peanuts. And of course no Vietnamese dish would be complete without pouring on some nuoc mam, or fish sauce.
Bun thit nuong is generally served over lettuce and cucumber, with herbs and bean sprouts. Depending on the street stall you attend they may have more or less of these extra ingredients. Luckily, unlike bun cha, which is generally served only for lunch, bun thit nuong is served all day. A breakfast stall commonly runs around 06:30-10:30, a lunch stall will go from 10:30-14:30 and a dinner stall will be open from 18:00-22:00 or until food runs out. Be sure to get there early as these popular stalls can sell out fast.
You can find this dish at most Vietnamese restaurants and many street stalls around the city. A breakfast street stall will charge around 15,000 VND and a dinner street stall will cost slightly more at 20,000 VND. Depending on the restaurant expect to pay between 30,000 and 100,000 VND per serving.
Where to get it:
Wrap ‘N Roll
62 Hai Ba Trung
T: (08) 823 4030
Open daily, 07:30-22:30
Quan An Ngon
138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia District 1
T: (08) 3825 7179
Open daily, 06:30-23:00
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