Bo Bun Recipe (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl)


I have to admit that since my husband Lulu is a vegetarian, I eat way less meat than I used to. So when I have a chance to share a meal with a fellow meat eater, I make the most of it. Bò bún is one of my favorite meat dishes, and I often find myself making it when there’s company. It’s a one-dish meal composed of hot beef served with cold salad and noodles.

It’s the perfect quick and easy meal that can be prepped in advance. Now if I could only get Lulu to eat it with me…

1. Info for Bo Bun Recipe (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl)

  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Servings: 6
  • Calories: 582 kcal

2. Ingredients for Bo Bun Recipe (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Bowl)

  • 3 (8-ounce) rump steaks, thinly sliced
  • ½ green papaya
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemongrass
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (optional), coarsely crushed
  • 1 (16-ounce) package fine vermicelli rice noodles (bún in Vietnamese), cooked and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 cups lettuce, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons rau răm (see tips), chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Vietnamese mint, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Thai Basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ English cucumber, seeded and cut into matchstick pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1½ cups bean sprouts, rinsed
  • ¼ cup củ kiệu (store-bought pickled spring onions), halved

3. Directions:

  1. For the ginger: Clean the ginger and peel it with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Finely chop. Set aside.
  2. For the papaya: Peel the papaya. Shred the papaya and grind about 2 tablespoons in a mortar and pestle. Reserve the remainder in the freezer for future use.
  3. Flavoring the beef: In a bowl, combine the ground papaya, ginger, garlic, sugar, 1½ tablespoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoon lemongrass, red chili powder and black pepper. Pat dry the beef using paper towels. Cover with the marinade. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon oil, chill and marinate for at least 15 minutes. Remove the beef from the refrigerator so it returns to room temperature. Sprinkle with salt on both sides.
  4. Cooking the beef: In the same wok, increase the heat. The oil should be really hot, almost to the smoking point. Using tongs (it’s important that you do not pierce the meat, so it remains moist and tender), add 1 teaspoon lemongrass, shallots, yellow and green onions. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes, then place the beef in the wok (over high heat) and cook for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Assembly time: In an individual serving bowl, place a mixture of cucumber, pickled spring onions, bean sprouts, shallots, lettuce, Thai basil, rau răm and mint. Cover with rice vermicelli noodles (called bún). Sprinkle with peanuts (if using). Top with the sliced beef. Drizzle with nước chấm.

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