The Vietnamese Bun Bo Nam Bo- A Warm Beef Noodle Salad Recipe

Bun Bo Nam Bo - Vietnamese Warm Beef Salad

The Vietnamese dish of Bún Bò Nam Bộ translates from Vietnamese into English to – The beef noodle dish from the southern region. What is interesting about Bún Bò Nam Bộ is that even though the North Vietnamese consider it to be from South Vietnam it is actually a more popular dish in North Vietnam than South Vietnam.

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Some people say that Bún Bò Nam Bộ was brought from South Vietnam to North Vietnam. Others say that it originated in North Vietnam but as the dish is considered to have a more southern Vietnamese style to it that is why they consider it to be from South Vietnam. The truth is that no one really knows for sure where Bún Bò Nam Bộ came from or how it became so popular in the Northern Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Bún Bò Nam Bộ is one of the top 10 dishes that CNN Travel says that everyone should try to eat in Vietnam. CNN Travel has said this about Bún Bò Nam Bộ:

“This bowl of vermicelli noodles — widely popular in Hanoi — comes sans broth, keeping the ingredients from becoming sodden and the various textures intact.”

cnn travel

About the Bun Bo Nam Bo Ingredients

Here are the different parts to Bún Bò Nam Bộ or the Vietnamese Warm Beef Salad:

  • Beef – The beef used in Bún Bò Nam Bộ is a very thinly sliced beef The beef is marinated and then cooked together with garlic and oil on very high heat. This allows the beef to not only cook quickly but to also be full of flavor.
  • Rice Noodle – Rice noodles are a staple in Vietnam. In Vietnam, we purchase the rice noodles fresh the day we are going to use them. But when you make your Bún Bò Nam Bộ if you are not able to purchase the rice noodles fresh you can buy rice noodles that are dried and then boil them as per the instructions on the rice noodle packet. Try to get a packet of Vietnamese rice noodles since not all rice noodles are exactly the same. Some of the Vietnamese brands such as Annie Chun’s, Three Ladies, or Caravelle have some good rice noodles. If you cannot find these brands and you live near a large Asian Grocery store you can go there and ask them what Vietnamese Rice Noodles they recommend. If you want you can try to make your own rice noodles, click here for a very easy recipe from Epicurious that you can try to make.
  • Vegetable Salad – One of the great things about Bún Bò Nam Bộ is that it is filled with a lot of fresh vegetables. If you live in a place like America you should be able to get most of these vegetables. The vegetables for Bún Bò Nam Bộ includes lettuce, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, and fresh bean sprouts.

Watch our video on how to produce Bun Bo Nam Bo, by clicking below.

In this video we will show you how we:

  • Marinate and cook the beef for the Bún Bò Nam Bộ
  • Make the Bún Bò Nam Bộ sauce
  • Prepare the vegetables for the salad
  • Prepare and serve your Bún Bò Nam Bộ

You can download a copy of our Bun Bo Nam Bo Recipe or Warm Beef Noodle Salad by clicking on the link below:

The Vietnamese Bun Bo Nam Bo- A Warm Beef Noodle Salad Recipe

Serves 6

For this recipe, you will need about 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of garlic that is finely cut up or pressed.  This is about 6 gloves of small size garlic.  You can feel free to add or take out the garlic as to your own preferred tastes. 

The Vietnamese Bun Bo Nam Bo- A Warm Beef Noodle Salad Recipe

Recipe by Anita L Hummel Course: Vietnamese Bun Bo Nam Bo, A Warm Beef Noodle SaladCuisine: Vietnamese, AsianDifficulty: Medium


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Cooking time


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  • 600 grams or 1.3 pounds of thinly sliced beef.

  • 2 Tablespoons sugar

  • 1 Teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 Teaspoon pepper

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce (feel free to add more if you like fish sauce taste)

  • 2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic

  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

  • Vegetable oil for cooking the meat

  • Extra garlic to fry the meat with.

  • 4 cups water

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar

  • (You can add or delete the sugar according to your taste. You can put in less sugar or more.)

  • 1/2 Cups Fish Sauce

  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 3 heaping teaspoons garlic

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 3 pieces fresh small red chill cut up in small pieces, or about 2 heaping red chili peppers cut up. (you can add more or less depending on how spicy you want it)

  • 225 grams or 1/2 pound peanuts (cut up in small pieces)

  • 400 grams or about .88 pounds of fresh bean sprouts

  • 1 kilo or 2.20 pounds rice noodles (cooked)

  • 2 large heads of lettuce or about 300 grams or .66 pounds of lettuce.

  • 67 grams or 2.35 ounces of cilantro (this is about one bunch cilantro)

  • 30 grams fresh mint or 1.05 ounces of fresh mint (about 1/2 bunch of fresh mint)

  • You should serve the following warm (they do not need to be hot) – noodles, beef, and bean sprouts. You can also heat up the Bun Bo Nam Bo sauce.


  • Mix the sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, fish sauce, and vegetable oil into the thinly sliced beef Let it marinate at least 1 hour. You can also prepare ahead of time and let it marinate overnight.
  • While the beef is marinating you can mix up the Bun Bo Nam Bo sauce. Just add the water. sugar and then stir until the sugar dissolves in the water. Then add the fish sauce, apple cider vinegar. Red chili peppers, garlic, and black pepper. You can allow this to sit but this sauce is usually best if used the same day you make it.
  • For the salad cut up all the salad in small bite-size pieces. For the fresh bean sprouts quickly steam or blanch them in water. You want them to be slightly crunchy. You can also do a quick fry on these if you prefer that.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in the pan until hot. Then put in about a tablespoon of garlic. Cook the garlic until it is brown then add the beef and let the beef cook. You may need to do this twice with the amount of beef you have. Cook the beef right before serving.
  • Boil the noodles so you can serve them hot.
  • Cilantro and mint cut up at the bottom
  • Put noodles on top of it.
  • Add the Lettuce, beef, peanuts, and more cilantro and mint on the top.
  • Pour in as much of the Bun Bo Nam Bo as you want. Some people like it dry but I prefer to use a lot of the sauce. Mix it all up and eat it with the sauce.

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Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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