This Vietnamese beef vermicelli dish is savory, and full of freshness, flavor, and texture. It's a dish that you're sure to fall in love with! It takes a bit of planning and preparation, but it will be worth it once you taste the final result! It's a favorite in our house and is sure to be one in yours, too!
Back in 2016, my family and I visited Hoi An, Vietnam and while we were there, we attended a cooking class where we made this delicious noodle dish that made a huge impression on me.
They called it a Southern Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli, but I don't know enough about the different regions of Vietnam and what dishes come from where.
All I do know is that I still love this dish as much as I did back when I first tried it and I think you will, too! Let's get cooking!
Preparing the ingredients
Before you get to cooking the beef, all these ingredients should be ready to go. Once the beef is cooked, everything gets put together really quickly for eating!
Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. You can use any type of dried Asian rice noodle you can find, but I prefer to use ones that are slightly thicker and have more chew than ones that are very thin.
Rinse the noodles with cool water after boiling to stop the cooking process and set aside in a colander or strainer.
Note: The noodles will stick together if left sitting for a long time. All you need to do is give them a quick rinse with cool water or pour hot boiled water over them and then shake to loosen, draining out the excess water before transferring the noodles to your dishes.
I like using carrots, cucumber, and lettuce in this dish, but fresh bean sprouts is another option. The key with the vegetables is to prepare them so that they are "noodle-like", making them almost "at one" with the rice noodles when mixed together.
Carrots: You can julienne them or you can do like I do and use a peeler to create carrot ribbons. They are easier to eat and blend nicely with everything else in the dish.
Cucumbers: I julienne cucumbers thin enough so that they have some bend do them.
Lettuce: Cut them fine so they are like shreds.
Divide and arrange the veggies how ever you'd like among your dishes. Add the noodles the dishes.
In a measuring cup, combine the broth, soy sauce (tamari or liquid aminos for gluten-free), fish sauce, honey, tapioca starch, and pepper and stir well. Set it aside.
If you are a vegetarian, substitute the beef with shiitake or oyster mushrooms and use vegetable broth instead of beef or chicken broth for your sauce.
Cooking the Beef
In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the beef in a bit of oil, making sure to brown the beef so that you get some bits cooked onto the bottom of the pan, aka fond, aka FLAVOR that will add to the sauce you'll make at the end!
Once the beef is cooked, immediately divide and add them to the dishes already containing the veggies and noodles.
With the heat still on, pour in the sauce into the skillet where you cooked the beef to deglaze the pan. Scrape the bottom of the skillet with a spatula to get all the browned bits off.
Bring the sauce to a boil and then drizzle it over the beef and noodles.
How To Enjoy It
If desired, top your beef vermicelli with fried shallots, chopped scallions, or chopped peanuts. At the cooking class, they taught us to fry thinly sliced garlic and shallots in the oil that we would end up frying the beef in. But to make it simpler, I find using jarred fried shallots is way easier and there's less of a chance of me burning it!
If you like spice, sprinkle it with some sliced fresh chili peppers. Serve it with a wedge of lime to squeeze in some tang.
And then all you have to do is mix everything up and dig in! Fresh crisp vegetables, tender beef, oodles of noodles, tasty sauce...you're going to love it!
More Asian Noodle Recipes
I, personally, love noodle dishes, especially ones with Asian flavors like this Vietnamese beef vermicelli. If you're like me, check out these other Asian noodle recipes you're bound to like!
Vietnamese dishes can be somewhat complex and can sometimes require a lot of prep, but their dishes are also so flavorful and delicious that it's worth it...and this beef vermicelli is no exception! Learning how to make this in Vietnam was one of the best cooking experiences I've ever had and you are going to love that I've shared this with you!
Savory Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli
- 300 grams dry rice vermicelli noodles (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 lb. thin sliced beef (I use hot pot beef)
- 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil (or any neutral flavored oil)
- Carrots, use a peeler to make ribbons or julienne
- Cucumber, thinly sliced or julienned
- Lettuce, finely chopped
- Bean sprouts
- Fried shallots
- Chopped peanuts
- Mint leaves
- Chopped green onion
- Chopped fresh chili peppers
- Juice from a fresh lime
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup and mix well. Set aside.
- Arrange chopped lettuce, carrot ribbons, and finely sliced cucumber in your each serving dishes; set aside.
- Cook vermicelli noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process and drain well.
- Divide noodles evenly among dishes with the vegetables. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil.
- Add the thinly sliced beef to the hot skillet and brown.
- Divide cooked beef to each dish with the noodles and vegetables.
- Using the same skillet you cooked the beef, reduce the heat to medium. Stir the sauce ingredients and pour into the skillet, scraping any browned beef bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat once sauce bubbles.
- Spoon the sauce over the beef and vermicelli noodles.
- Top with fried garlic and shallots, chopped peanuts, and green onions, if desired.
- Serve immediately.
- The rice vermicelli noodles I use are about the diameter of a spaghetti noodle. They are not the angel hair ones as I find the slightly thicker noodles give a better chew and substance to the dish.
That being said, the thinner rice vermicelli noodles work just as well.
- Prepping all the fresh ingredients ahead of time will help tremendously in putting this dish together. Do all your fresh vegetable washing and cutting and plate them first so they are ready for the noodles and then the beef.
**This post was originally published June 18th 2018 and republished October, 9th, 2022 with an updated recipe, new photos, and new writing.