This light and fresh Bún chả recipe includes spicy and juicy pork balls accompanied by vermicelli and lots of herbs and vegetables. Bún chả is light but filling and can be assembled effortlessly in a few simple steps. Served with a homemade dip, this refreshing recipe is perfect for a hot summer day or as an appetizer.

What is BÚN chẢ?

Growing up, I didn’t know there was a name for these delicious juicy pork balls. It was just something my mom made for me because it was one of the five things I definitely wanted to eat. This is a recipe that you can easily make, you can scale it up or down and, above all, it is super tasty.

Bún chả, also known as Vietnamese pork dumplings with vermicelli, is a popular Vietnamese dish that is believed to have originated in Hanoi. You can find them anywhere, from street stalls to Restaurants in Hanoi. Although this is a popular lunch recipe, you can enjoy this recipe at any time of the day. I love how refreshing pasta, vegetables and herbs are on a hot summer day. You can even find Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama enjoying it in an episode of Parts not-known!

WHAT IS FISH SAUCE?

The fish sauce is the secret ingredient of this whole recipe. It goes both in the meatballs and in the dip (nưcc chmm) and is an absolute Umami Bomb. It is a liquid condiment made from fish that ferments over time. It adds a great salty, salty and general flavor to the general dish. You can find fish sauce in the international aisle of most grocery stores or at an Asian grocer.

WHAT IS LEMONGRASS?

Lemongrass is an aromatic herb with a complex fragrant, bright and lemony taste. You can buy fresh or frozen lemongrass. I usually find frozen lemongrass at Asian grocers and I like to fill my freezer with it. If you can’t find lemongrass, lemon zest and a little ginger could work in a pinch, but I highly recommend not replacing lemongrass because it’s the key to getting the authentic Vietnamese flavor profile.

When using fresh lemongrass, keep in mind that the lower woody section should be discarded. I’ve noticed that more and more grocery store chains are carrying fresh lemongrass, so you should find it relatively easy. If not, check where the ginger paste is kept and you might find lemongrass paste instead for an easy swap!

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVERS

This recipe is perfect for meal prep! Store the rice noodles, vegetables and herbs in one container and the pork balls in another container. This will greatly facilitate the warming up of meatballs, especially at work. Everything should stay fresh for up to 4 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tips for making BÚN chẢ

Do not overwrap the meatballs while you are shaping the meatballs, as you do not want them to be dense.
For meatballs in uniform, use a biscuit spoon. It also helps them to cook evenly. You don’t want to go bigger than the size of a golf ball.

For the nưcc chmm, feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste.

Although I use a non-stick frying pan, you can also use a grilling pan or a cast iron skillet.

When buying rice noodles, be sure to check the ingredients again. At first glance, they resemble cellophane pastes, but are not the same.

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