Thursday, July 30, 2009

Toppings for Bún (Rice Vermicelli)

After posting on how to prepare bún thịt nướng (grilled meat with rice vermicelli), I thought I should write a better post on how to dress this dish. Of course, you don't have to add all of these components to bún but I think this is the case where putting it all together is greater than the sum of its parts.

Hành Mỡ (Scallion Oil)
I already wrote a post on hành mỡ. I think it's like the equivalent of butter in Vietnamese food. So start by spreading some scallion oil onto your bún.

Roasted Crushed Peanuts
Many Vietnamese dishes will be topped with peanuts including salads, soups and bún of course! You just need roasted peanuts that you quickly process or crush with a mortar and pestle. So scatter a spoonful or two on top of your bún.

Pickled Carrots
I love pickled carrots. Vietnamese pickles are usually sweet. You can make this a few hours ahead; it does not take long. This adds a sour and sweet taste to the bún.

* 3 carrots, grated
* 1 cup vinegar
* ¼ cup sugar

Mix all ingredients together.
The mixture should be sour but also sweet. Adjust to taste.
Let it sit for a few hours.

Fresh vegetables
What makes Vietnamese food great is the addition of fresh vegetables. I like to slice lettuce, cucumber and mint thinly. Add a handful of what you like. This assure your dish is healthy!

Finally, you have to top your bún with nước chấm (Vietnamese Dipping Fish Sauce) and enjoy it with some protein, like thịt nướng (grilled meat). On this occasion, I made nem nướng (grilled pork meatballs) and kalbi, Korean short ribs.

BBQ-ing the meatballs added a nice tint of pink! I forgot to soak my skewers so take it from me, it's worth not having your skewers crumble on the BBQ!

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