In the summertime (okay, actually, really, all the time) I am all about the steaks. I think my steak-deprived childhood has turned me into a steak fiend. But really, it’s hard not to love steak, especially when there are so many delicious ways to eat it. One particularly delicious way is in bún, a Vietnamese bowl of grilled meat, vermicelli and dipping sauce.
This is by no means a traditional bowl, with the avocados and tomatoes, but it really, really works. The sweet acidity of the tomatoes goes well with the steak and the creaminess of the avocados pairs nicely with the texture of the vermicelli. Dump a boat load of fish sauce on top and you are on your way to deliciousness.
I didn’t marinate the steak at all, just because I think all a good piece of meat needs is salt and pepper. More traditional bún is usually made with thinly sliced meat that’s marinated, but steak was calling to me at the store.
If you’re looking to fire up the grill (or cast iron pan) this weekend but want something just a wee bit different, give this steak and vermicelli bowl a go. If you’re anything like me, you won’t be disappointed!
Vietnamese Steak and Vermicelli Bowl / Bún Thịt Nướng Bò Recipe
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 boneless rib eye steak (or steak of choice)
- 2-4 bundles of vermicelli
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 pint mini heirloom or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 mini cucumbers, shredded
- mixed fish sauce to taste, see below
An hour before you want to eat, bring your steak to room temperature. When ready to cook, pat your steak dry with paper towels and generously season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron pan on high until nearly smoking. Add a tiny slick of oil and place your steak in the middle of the pan and cook, without moving for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and let rest for 10 minutes while assembling your bowls.
Cook the vermicelli according to the package, rinse in cold water and drain well. Divide amongst two bowls. Top with tomatoes, avocado and shredded cucumbers. Cut the steak against the grain and arrange on the noodles. Serve with fish sauce, to taste.
Mixed Fish Sauce Vinaigrette / Nước mắm Pha Recipe
makes about 2 cups
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 red bird’s eye chili
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- juice of 1/2 lime (or to taste)
- 1 3/4 cups of water
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
Crush the garlic, chili and sugar together in a mortar and pestle until the garlic and chili are crushed to tiny pieces and the sugar is spicy and fragrant. Dissolve the sugar, garlic and chili mixture with the water then add the lime juice. Mix well then add the fish sauce. It’s best to let the fish sauce sit in the fridge for a day or so for the flavours to meld before using.
I think bánh mì, or Vietnamese sandwiches might be my favourite sandwich. Typically, they're made on light, crackly baguettes with fluffy, cloud-like insides – the perfect canvas for rich, savoury meats, sweet and sour pickled…