An’s Bun Thit Nuong (Cha Gio)

For those of you who aren’t fluent in Vietnamese bun thit nuong cha gio translates to vermicelli rice noodles with grilled pork and fried spring rolls. Okay, I’m going to come clean. I actually didn’t know the full Vietnamese name for this dish or more precisely, how to pronounce it. So, I always referred to it as #6 or #8 on the menu. But I’ve been a long time fan of this dish ever since I first tasted it at Khanh’s Garden, in San Jose when I was just a kid (a long, long time ago). As I recall – the memories associated with food often being the sharpest and most vivid – this dish kind of rocked my world with it’s combination of textures, tastes and temperatures. The chewy, room temperature rice noodles serve as the foundation for the salty, charred pork and crispy, hot, deep-fried spring roll. In addition, you have the accents of pickled carrots and daikon, cool cucumbers and aromatic mint and basi. And it’s all brought together by the sweet, sour and spicy sauce that’s poured over everything. It’s basically an example of a perfect dish – or bowl. Ever since then, I’ve ordered bun thit nuong when I’ve wanted something comforting and reliably delicious and it’s often my gauge for measuring whether a Vietnamese restaurant is good or not.

So, it was with great pleasure that I visited An Nguyen Xuan at his pop up restaurant in Williamsburg, called Bep where he showed me how easy bun thit nuong is to prepare – provided you have all the main ingredients already prepped. And once again it was confirmed to me how delicious it is to eat (or in my case, to inhale). An is married to Janis, who’s a friend of Shefali (a.k.a. my wife) so while we’ve known about Bep for a while, it was only recently that I went to visit because I’m often too lazy to make the trek to Williamsburg (the G train just doesn’t cut it). Man, laziness blows because after tasting An’s food, I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on tasting his food earlier and more regularly. He’s a great cook – drawing on his Vietnamese roots, French heritage and experiences in the USA to create his own style of homey and delicious Vietnamese food. Alright, enough reading. Watch this video to get a sense of what I’m talking about and maybe you’ll learn how to make bun thit nuong cha gio – or at least know how to order it the next time you’re at Bep!

Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio: the perfect bowl

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2 thoughts on “An’s Bun Thit Nuong (Cha Gio)

  1. Hi, could you tell me in the pork marinade how much of the items i need to mix it together? Like do i need 3 garlic cloves? 1 tsb oyster sauce? how much pepper surgar, and salt. And what part of the pork is that? neck, butt? shoulder etc.

    and same also for the fish sauce. I know what i need but i dont know how much of it i need.
    Thanks!

  2. Hey Randy,
    Sorry it’s taken so long to get back. As for quantities in the marinade, you know it’s my friend An’s recipe and not mine, but I would say, the amount of marinade depends on the amount of pork you’re planning on marinading. I would start with less and add more according to taste of all the ingrediants. Rely on the smell coming out of the marinade and do periodic taste tests to see if you’ve got the proportions right. As for the cut of pork, you can use a chop or pork but, but just make sure it’s very thinly sliced so it’ll cook quickly and get that char. Good luck!

    -ct

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