Vietnamese Vermicelli With Chile Sauce and Pork

vietnamese vermecalli
Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD
Total Time: 100 min
Prep Time: 90 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Servings: 6

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

458 calories
20g fat
53g carbs
20g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving  
Calories 458
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 529mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 9g  
Includes 6g Added Sugars 12%
Protein 20g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 77mg 6%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 583mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

These noodle bowls are beautiful to behold, as well as a festival for the taste buds. They've got all the traditional southeast Asian flavors: sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. Even the temperatures of the ingredients are interesting.

Thai chili peppers, which vary in heat levels, are loaded with the chemical compound capsaicin. From helping with weight loss to boosting metabolism, capsaicin has been found to have many health benefits when incorporated into a balanced meal.

With vegetables, rice noodles, and protein, this dish has it all. The rice vermicelli are called "bun" in Vietnamese. Bun should be freshly cooked, yet cool, while the minced pork topping is warm.

The cooking techniques involved are actually very basic, making this special recipe within the reach of novice cooks, but do allow plenty of time for prepping the vegetables so you won't feel rushed. Recipes like this lend themselves to communal preparation—make it together with family or friends and then sit down to enjoy it together.


  • 10 tablespoons boiling water (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 1 large lime)
  • 2 small Thai chile peppers, fresh or dried
  • 10 ounces uncooked rice vermicelli (bun)
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, torn and lightly packed
  • 3 cups fresh herb of choice, coarsely chopped (one or more: cilantro, Thai basil, mint)
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 2 ounces daikon radish
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 4 medium scallions
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
  • 8 ounces lean ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped


  1. Before you make the salad, start by prepping the sweet chili sauce. Grab a small bowl and stir together the boiling water, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice until the sugar dissolves. Slice the chiles into paper-thin slices and stir them into the sauce.

  2. In a large, covered stockpot, bring about 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the vermicelli and return the water to a boil, stirring gently several times to separate the block of vermicelli into strands. Begin testing for doneness after noodles have boiled about 2 minutes. When the vermicelli is tender, pour it into a strainer and rinse with cool water. 

  3. Divide the lettuce and herbs into 6 dinner-plate-sized bowls. Julienne the unpeeled cucumber, radish, and carrot, and divide among the bowls.

  4. Slice the scallion greens and set them aside. Trim off the roots and cut the white part (bulb) of the scallions into large pieces.

  5. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the scallion bulbs and allow the oil to infuse with their flavor as they cook. Adjust the heat to prevent burning, and remove the scallions when they begin to brown.

  6. Add the ground pork and sugar and saute for 10 to 12 minutes, breaking it up into large pieces with a spatula, until browned.

  7. Add 1/4 cup of the prepared sweet chile sauce to the skillet and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, until it has evaporated. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with black pepper.

  8. If necessary, loosen the vermicelli in the strainer by rinsing it again with some cold water. Arrange the noodles on top of the vegetables in the prepared bowls. Top each bowl with a serving of the ground pork, scallion greens, and chopped peanuts. Stir the sauce briskly and drizzle another couple of tablespoons over each bowl. Serve immediately.

Variations and Substitutions

Vary the fresh herbs you use according to availability and your preferences. Fresh cilantro, Thai basil, and mint all pair well with the dish, either alone or in combination. Note, however, that the recipe calls for fresh, not dried herbs as they serve as part of the salad greens, not just as seasonings.

You can try substituting mung bean sprouts for an equal amount of radish or cucumber for added flavor and texture. While the recipe calls for pork, you could easily use ground chicken or turkey as well.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • Fish sauce is very salty. Read labels and choose the one with the least sodium.
  • Strain the lime juice for a clear sauce.
  • Large, shallow bowls are the most attractive way to serve this salad. This recipe nicely fills six 7-inch bowls.

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1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fattori V, Hohmann MSN, Rossaneis AC, Pinho-Ribeiro FA, Verri WA. Capsaicin: Current understanding of its mechanisms and therapy of pain and other pre-clinical and clinical uses. Molecules. 2016;21(7):844. doi:10.3390/molecules21070844

By Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD
Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, is a nutrition expert with expertise in GI disorders. She is a leader in using the FODMAP approach with IBS patients.