Easy and juicy Grilled Vietnamese Pork over a Vietnamese Noodle Salad. So much flavour with minimal effort for a delicious meal.
There are certain moments at the dinner table that are pleasing to me, in possibly odd ways. Not creepy, just unusual. Hearing the slurping sound of my young daughters gobbling up slippery fragrant noodles in fish sauce has to be one of those times.
It’s as if the sauce acts as a grease to get the noodles moving as quickly as possible so that they can dig their tiny forks into more. Like dinner is a race to see how quickly the noodles disappear. Usually, that also means they thoroughly enjoy the dish as well.
These Vietnamese Bowls use vermicelli noodles which are a very thin rice noodles and they have the capacity to take on whichever flavours are poured over them, making them excellent for noodles bowls or for any kind of dipping in sauce.
This dish is light and Summery thanks to the cucumbers and fresh herbs. As you can see in the photo above, most of the bowl is actually cucumber chopped into a new shape (keeps the kids on board with all vegetables if I change the shape I serve them in on the regular).
I could eat this type of salad for days without getting sick of it. Due to the fish sauce, it’s balanced between acid and sweet, like a good vinaigrette, but without all the pretence of add ons (like garlic or mustard) that can mask what you’re eating.
This dish is kind of naked … everything shown in plain view and there’s no apologies for how salty sweet it is. It’s not crazy salty sweet, but rather the supple noodles, chewy pork and crunchy cucumbers keep the sauce in check.
No lie, I was nervous preparing a fish sauce based vinaigrette for my kids. It’s so strong that I thought it could polarize them the opposite way and result in them hating it and therefore hating dinner as well. Since I don’t make 2 dinners (ever) I was pretty nervous about serving this.
I have found that almost every time I’ve felt nervous in this fashion I’ve been incorrect. Kids usually take to stronger flavours, well my kids anyways. I also have kids that hated pizza until they were almost 3 years old and one who still won’t eat cheese so we could be an abnormal family that loves bold food. 🙂
Tools & Equipment (needed for this Vietnamese Pork dish):
- Wooden skewers that have been soaked in water (so they don’t catch on fire on the grill) OR metal ones.
- A basting brush for brushing oil onto raw meat (I think mine is a very old one from IKEA).
- Metal tongs for the grill.
- Whisk or fork to mix sauce.
Substitutions & Variations:
- Swap the pork chops out for this Lemongrass Chicken .
- Use steamed broccoli or thinly sliced carrots and bell peppers in lieu of cucumbers.
- Vermicelli noodles, rice noodles and rice will all work in this dish.
- Mint and/or cilantro go nicely with the basil in this dish.
- The pork chops can be grilled OR seared. Both methods of cooking result in a quick and delicious meal.
Other Noodle Bowl recipes we love:
- Garlicky Peanut Noodles with Roasted Broccoli
- “Instant” Miso Ramen with Eggs
- Coconut Red Curry Ramen Noodles with Prawns
- Peanut Tofu Noodle Bowl
- 2 1" thick boneless pork chops
- 2 tsp vegetable oil such as grapeseed oil or canola oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 400 grams vermicelli noodles or rice noodles
- 1 medium long English cucumber cut into matchsticks, spirals or small circles
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 4 tsp olive oil
- Optional garnishes: thinly sliced chile peppers, lime slices, sliced mint, etc.
Cook noodles as per package instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut each pork chop crosswise (horizontally) into 4 very thin pieces of pork, giving you 8 thin pieces total.
Preheat grill or a large skillet to high heat. Using skewers*, thread thin pork chops (do not use skewers if using skillet). Rub or brush chops with 2 tsp of vegetable oil and season very lightly with salt and pepper.
Place on grill or in skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 3-4 minutes and flip once grill marks/browning appears. Cook on second side for about 3 minutes until meat is browned and cooked through.
While meat is cooking, in a small bowl combine fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and vegetable oil. Whisk until complete combined. Set aside.
Place noodle and pork on a platter and top with sauce. Top dish with sliced basil leaves, sliced cucumber and any additional garnishes.
* Use pre-soaked wooden skewers (or sit the skewers in water for at least 20 minutes) or use metal skewers.