This is by far, one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes. I grew up eating it with my parents and when we actually went to Vietnam, we had this in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) as well as in Hai Phong. I preferred the latter – probably because my parents are from there. It was okay in Ho Chi Minh City, but I found their cuisine to be a little bit sweeter in taste (and I prefer sour).
My family usually prepares a large jar of Vietnamese vinegar, so we always have it on hand for when the mood strikes.
- Vietnamese rice vermicelli (they’re round, white rice noodles)
- Vietnamese vinegar
- 1/2 pound Beef – I usually use ground beef
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons dark mushroom soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon premium soy sauce (lmao, that’s what it says on the bottle. Mine is “Yummy House” brand. You could probably use the same type of soy sauce instead of all these variations, but my mom swears by this. And yes, we do have cupboard filled with various soy sauces)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 shallot
Toppings (you don’t need all of these to make a complete bowl):
- roasted peanuts
- raw beansprouts
- raw leaf lettuce, shredded
- raw herbs (Thai basil and mint are my favourite here! But I’ve also used lemon balm, Vietnamese coriander, and cilantro)
- fried red onion (optional, you should *probably* leave this out if you’re concerned about weight)
- Fill a pot with water and heat over stovetop.
- When it starts to boil, add vermicelli and cook according to package directions (usually about 5 minutes on medium-high heat).
- Then strain.
- Meanwhile, combine beef with marinade ingredients.
- Pan fry shallot and garlic over medium-high heat.
- Once shallot is softened, add beef. If you prefer saucier beef, add splashes of water as you go.
- Remove beef from heat when thoroughly cooked.
- While waiting for things to cook, clean veggies and shred lettuce
- When ready to eat, top vermicelli with beef and its sauce, peanuts, fried onion, various veggies and herbs and Vietnamese vinegar.