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Bon Bo Xao (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad)

I love the way the Vietnamese mix raw vegetables with cooked protein. On the Mississippi Gulf Coast restaurants follow the same concept by serving fried shrimp or oysters on top of a Ceaser salad. However, the Vietnamese version is lighter in that the protein is not fried and the salad dressing is not as rich.

2 4-ounce sirloin steaks

Canola oil for brushing

1 cup shredded lettuce

3 to 5 ounces rice sticks (noodles)

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

1/3 cup thin sliced cucumber

1/3 cup julienned carrot

Chopped fresh cilantro to taste

3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, crushed

Prepare the marinade and nuoc cham (recipes follows). Place the meat in a zip-top plastic bag with the marinade. Kneed to coat the meat, zip the bag almost closed, expel as much air as possible, and zip the bag closed. Let the meat marinate at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.

Place the rice sticks in a large bowl and cover with boiling water and let stand for up to 10 minutes or until tender. After 2 or 3 minutes begin testing them for doneness. Drain the rice sticks discarding the soaking water.

Prepare the grill for hot direct cooking. Divide the rice sticks, lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, carrots, between two bowls.

Drain the meat, discarding the marinade and brush with oil. Grill the meat directly over the fire for 3 minutes per side, lid closed.

Thin slice the meat. Top the salad with cilantro, sliced meat and peanuts. Pour Nuoc Cham over the salads.


1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons water

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 small yellow onion, diced

Combine all ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag and kneed to mix.

Nuoc Cham

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons hot water

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lime juice

Pinch red pepper flakes, or more to taste

Combine the water and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the fish sauce and vinegar. Let cool. When ready to serve add the lime juice and pepper.


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