• Noodle salad (bun bo xao) (Benito Martin)Source: Benito Martin

 "Bun" is the vermicelli noodles, "bo" is the beef and "xao" means to stir-fry – the beef is quickly marinated and charred in a hot wok and served on top of cold noodles, cucumber, beansprouts and herbs.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (205 votes)

Luke Nguyen grew up on this very authentic southern Vietnamese recipe for noodle salad, which makes a perfect light lunch. Simply add nuoc cham and garnish to taste.


  • 500 g rump steak, finely sliced 
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, plus 1 tsp extra 
  • ½ tbsp crushed garlic 
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely sliced 
  • 500 g rice vermicelli, cooked and cooled 
  • handful of bean sprouts 
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced 
  • 10 perilla leaves, finely shredded 
  • 10 mint leaves, finely shredded 
  • 10 Vietnamese mint leaves, finely shredded 
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • pickled vegetables (from Asian food stores)
  • crushed roasted peanuts
  • fried shallots
  • nuoc cham sauce

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 10 minutes

Combine the beef with 2 tbsp of fish sauce, half the garlic and a little of the lemongrass. Marinate for 10 minutes.

Put the noodles into bowls and top with the bean sprouts, cucumber and most of the herbs.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and add the onion and remaining lemongrass. Stir briefly then throw in the beef, allowing it to char and develop a smoky flavour. Add the extra fish sauce and remove from the heat. Add the beef to the bowls and sprinkle with the remaining herbs. Garnish with pickled vegetables, peanuts and fried shallots and dress with nuoc cham.


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgina Larby. Creative concept by Belinda So.