Bun Bo Nam Bo - Vietnamese Warm Beef Salad

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

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The Vietnamese dish of Bún Bò Nam Bộ translated 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 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 of Bún Bò Nam Bộ or the Vietnamese Warm Beef Salad:

  • Beef – The beef used in Bún Bò Nam Bộ is very thinly sliced beef. The beef is marinated and then cooked with garlic and oil on very high heat. This allows the beef to not only cook quickly but also to be full of flavor.
  • Rice Noodle – Rice noodles are a staple in Vietnam. In Vietnam, we purchase fresh rice noodles the day we use them. But when you make your Bún Bò Nam Bộ if you cannot purchase fresh rice noodles, you can buy dried rice noodles 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 rice noodle brands, such as Annie Chun’s, Three Ladies, and 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 many 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 include lettuce, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, and fresh bean sprouts.

A Culinary Ode to ‘Bun Bo Nam Bo’: My All-Time Favourite Vietnamese Dish

Whenever someone pops the question—“What’s your favorite Vietnamese dish?”—without hesitation, my answer is always ‘Bun Bo Nam Bo’. The name might evoke a few raised eyebrows or curious looks, but for me, it’s more than just a dish; it’s a delightful dance of flavors that tantalizes my taste buds every single time.

There’s something inexplicably magical about ‘Bun Bo Nam Bo’. Perhaps it’s the harmonious amalgamation of its ingredients or its associated memories. But for some unexplained reason, it’s a dish I’ve been drawn to, time and again.

The beef, succulent and tender, forms the heart of the dish. It’s cooked to perfection, ensuring every bite melts in the mouth, releasing a burst of rich, meaty goodness. Complementing the beef is the salad—a refreshing ensemble that adds a crisp and crunchy dimension to the dish.

However, the sweet-and-sour Vietnamese sauce truly elevates ‘Bun Bo Nam Bo’ to a culinary masterpiece. This sauce encapsulates the essence of Vietnamese cuisine for me—balanced, flavourful, and with an uncanny ability to enhance the dish’s other components.

The tangy sweetness combined with a hint of sourness creates a symphony of flavors that is both refreshing and comforting.

And when you think the dish has showcased all its wonders, the peanuts make their entrance. Their earthy crunch introduces a beautiful contrast in terms of texture and flavor, completing the dish with finesse.

Bun Bo Nam Bo isn’t just food; it’s an experience—a journey through Vietnam’s rich culinary landscape. Every ingredient tells a story, and every bite is a testament to the dish’s brilliance. It is this melange of textures, flavors, and memories that make ‘Bun Bo Nam Bo” not just my favorite Vietnamese dish but also a cherished gastronomic treasure.

Watch our video on producing 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
Vietnamese Bun Bo Nam Bo – The Warm Beef Noodle Salad

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 finely cut-up or pressed garlic.  This is about six 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


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time






  • 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 the fish sauce taste)

  • 2 heaping teaspoons of 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 of 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 of 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 of 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 and 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, 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 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 sauce. Mix it all up and eat it with the sauce.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bun Bo Nam Bo?

Bun Bo Nam Bo is a popular Vietnamese dish that consists of rice vermicelli noodles topped with grilled beef, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, vegetables, peanuts, and a flavorful dressing.

How is Bun Bo Nam Bo pronounced?

Bun Bo Nam Bo is pronounced as u0022boon-baw-nam-bawu0022 with the emphasis on the first syllables of each word.

What does Bun Bo Nam Bo mean?

“Bunu0022 refers to rice vermicelli noodles, u0022Bou0022 means beef, and u0022Nam Bou0022 refers to the southern region of Vietnam where this dish originated.

Is Bun Bo Nam Bo a spicy dish?

The level of spiciness in Bun Bo Nam Bo can vary depending on personal preference. The dressing usually contains chili, but you can adjust the amount according to your taste.

Is Bun Bo Nam Bo a complete meal?

Yes, Bun Bo Nam Bo is considered a complete and satisfying meal as it combines protein, vegetables, noodles, and herbs in one dish

Is Bun Bo Nam Bo a common street food in Vietnam?

Yes, Bun Bo Nam Bo is a popular street food dish in Vietnam, particularly in the southern region. It is commonly found in street stalls and local eateries.

Can I find Bun Bo Nam Bo outside of Vietnam?

While Bun Bo Nam Bo is most commonly found in Vietnam, you may be able to find variations of it in Vietnamese restaurants or establishments that serve Vietnamese cuisine in other countries.

Can I customize the toppings and ingredients in Bun Bo Nam Bo?

Absolutely! Bun Bo Nam Bo is a versatile dish, and you can customize the toppings and ingredients based on your preferences. Feel free to add or omit certain elements according to your taste.

Anita L Hummel
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