Bun bo xao, which literally translates as “noodles beef stir-fried,” is one of my favorite dishes and the perfect light lunch for a hot and sticky day.
Also called cold noodle salad, the dish provides the perfect contrast of hot and cold. Cool vermicelli rice noodles are topped with hot tenderloin beef sauteed in onion, lemongrass and garlic. I always add a lot of Vietnamese herbs which are usually served in a big bowl along with your meal. Fresh mint, basil and cilantro are my favorites along with crisp bean sprouts and peanuts. The best part is the side bowl of nuoc cham, the fish sauce based “salad dressing,” which gives the dish its tangy bite.
A variation of this dish, another winner, is bun thit nuong. Basically the same as bun bo xao, it is served with barbecued pork rather than beef and really hits the spot if you like char-grilled meat. Yum!