Use your chopsticks to grab some noodles and herbs, then dip them in the nuoc mam broth and slurp it down before digging back in for some meat. The results are super delicious.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced (ground) pork
  • 50 g (1 ¾ oz) minced (ground) pork fat
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork belly, thinly sliced
  • 100 g (3½ oz) thin bun (rice noodles)
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) chicken broth


  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) fish sauce
  • 100 g (3½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1–3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 shallots, minced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • pinch of ground white pepper


  • 200 g (7 oz) green papaya, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) white vinegar
  • 100 g (3½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar


  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 bunch Vietnamese mint
  • 1 bunch shiso (optional)

Nuoc mam dipping sauce

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 brid's eye chillies, finely chopped or sliced
  • 75 ml fish sauce
  • 50 ml white vinegar
  • 70 g caster (superfine) sugar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: 3 hours

1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Place the minced pork and pork fat in a large bowl and the pork belly in another bowl. Pour half the marinade over the pork mince and pork fat, and mix well to combine. Slap the mixture against the side of the bowl a few times to remove any air (this helps to prevent the mixture from falling apart when grilled). Set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least 3 hours or, preferably, overnight.

3. Pour the other half of the marinade over the pork belly. Mix well and set aside in the fridge.

4. To prepare the pickles, place the green papaya and carrot in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar and sugar and add 100 ml water, stiring until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the pickle liquid over the vegetables, ensuring the ingredients are fully submerged, and set aside for 2 hours.

5. Roll the minced pork mixture into golf ball–sized balls, then return to the fridge for 1–2 hours to firm up.

6. Make the dipping sauce by combining the ingredients and 200 ml water in a bowl and stiring through until the sugar has dissolved.

7. Prepare a charcoal grill. You can use a barbecue grill for this dish, but you won’t achieve that smoky flavour.

8. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain and rinse under cold running water, then drain again and set aside.

9. Warm the chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat.

10. When the charcoal grill is ready (the embers should be glowing red with a small flame on the charcoal), slightly flatten the meatballs using the palms of your hands, then transfer to the grill. Carefully add the pork belly, being careful of flare-ups from the fat dripping onto the charcoal, which will make the meat black and bitter-tasting. Cook the meatballs and pork belly, turning regularly, for 7–10 minutes until cooked through.

11. To serve, place the cooked noodles and salad ingredients on a large serving plate. Drain the pickles and evenly divide among small bowls. Add the meatballs and pork belly and evenly pour over the warmed chicken broth and nuoc mam.

12. Invite guests to dip a few noodles and herbs into their broth and eat, followed by mouthfuls of the meat and pickles. Enjoy!


Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99