Bún Bò Nam Bộ Recipe

Lastest Updated April 19, 2024
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Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad, or Bun Bun Nam Bo, is an exotic version of Vietnamese noodle dishes without a broth. This Southern specialty is a combination of well-marinated beef with lovely fresh vegetables.

With this article, you will be able to find out the history behind Bun Bo Nam Bo. Additionally, I will guide you on how to create this tasty Vietnamese noodle dish at home. If you’re looking to learn about Vietnamese cuisine, Bun Bun Nam Bo is a new addition to try.

What Is Bun Bo Nam Bo?

Bun Bo Nam Bo was invented in the 1980s and is not a dish many know when discussing Vietnamese cuisine. This traditional recipe is a beloved specialty in the southern region of the country.

However, some say the Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad traces back to Ha Noi. Originally named Bun Bo Tron, meaning “mixed beef noodle,” locals eventually renamed it after Nam Bo Street, where it first emerged. The dish even earned a spot on CNN’s list of 40 Vietnamese dishes.

Made of stir-fried beef slices served over a bed of rice vermicelli noodles and fresh vegetables, this combination is even better when accompanied by a diluted fish sauce mix.

How To Differentiate Bun Bo Nam Bo From Bun Bo Hue?

Though Bun Bo Hue and Bun Bo Nam Bo are confusing even for the locals who haven’t heard about the dish, you can easily identify these two specialties by the serving.

The most obvious is the broth, with Bun Bo having a savory and oily broth, while Bun Bo Nam Bo uses a mixture of fish sauce. Another feature is in the noodles, with the regular Bun Bo having thicker strands of rice vermicelli than Bun Bo Nam Bo.

What Utensils Are Needed For Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad?

This Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad only needs a few simple tools. All you need is a skillet, knife, chopping board, and grater before starting to handle all the ingredients in the dish. Once you have the tools, the cooking process should be easy to comprehend.

  • Non-stick skillet: Pick a sizable skillet so you can easily stir-fry the beef slices.
  • Wooden spoon: For working the beef slices in the skillet. Other spoons or spatulas can also work.
  • Knife: Pick a sharp one so you can cut the beef into thin slices.
  • Chopping board: Provides a flat surface for chopping ingredients.
  • Grater: For slicing vegetables into thin strips before assembling over the dish.
  • Mixing bowl or zip lock bag: Any container able to contain the beef and the marinade mixture will work.
Bun Bo Nam Bo Tools

What Ingredients Does Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad Have?

In terms of ingredients, you want to put a lot of effort into the marinating elements for the beef to form the highlight of Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad. Plus, accompaniments are essential to bring multiple flavor layers to the recipe.

For the Beef:

  • Beef: Use the meaty section of the beef like the filet. You want to slice the beef thinly so the seasonings can easily penetrate.
  • Garlic powder and pepper: For adding an atomic taste to the beef.
  • Soup powder: Any soup powder should work as a great flavor enhancer.
  • Chili powder: Adds beautiful color and a spicy kick to the beef slices.
  • Brown sugar: For balancing the flavor of the other spices.
  • Roasted sesame seeds: Add a lovely smoky profile when cooking.
  • Dark soy sauce and oyster sauce: Infuse the beef with a complicated savory taste and a dark color.
  • Olive oil: For stir-frying the beef slices.
  • Minced garlic, shallot, and lemongrass: Add a lovely aromatic base to the beef slices.

For the Noodles and Accompaniments:

  • Roasted peanuts: You can crush the peanuts slightly or leave them whole for a crunchy texture.
  • Fried shallot: You can make this at home by deep frying sliced shallot until golden brown.
  • Bean sprouts, lettuce, Thai basils, carrot, cucumber, and spearmint: Enjoying various vegetables adds diversity to the dish.
  • Fresh rice noodles: These rice noodles are usually thin and not transparent and form the base for other toppings.

For the Sauce:

  • Fish sauce: The backbone of the sauce with a yellow color and salty taste.
  • Warm water: For diluting the fish sauce, make sure to adjust the amount based on your taste buds.
  • Sugar, lime juice, minced garlic, and chili: Adds a sour, spicy, and aromatic profile to the sauce.

How To Make Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad?

To make Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad, you need to go through 5 steps that revolve around preparing the ingredients, marinating the meat, making the sauce, and stir-frying the beef. Your Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad should materialize in no time.

Step 1: Prepare The Ingredients

Wash all the vegetables and let them drain.

Grate the cucumber and carrot into thin strips.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 1 Prepare the Ingredients

Then, use a sharp knife to slice the beef. Ideally, you don’t want the slices to be too thin, as the meat can be crumbled when stir-fried. Note that thick beef slices can also be chewy when overcooked.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 1 Prepare the Ingredients1

Step 2: Marinate The Beef

After slicing the beef, marinate them with ground pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, sugar, salt, sesame seeds, dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce.

Mix the beef and let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes so the spices can penetrate the meat.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 2 Marinate the Beef

Step 3: Make The Sauce

Dissolve the sugar in a blend of warm water and fish sauce. Proceed to add minced garlic, chili, and lime juice, depending on your preference.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 3 Make the Sauce

Step 4: Stir-fry The Beef

In a non-stick skillet, heat up your olive oil with minced lemongrass, garlic, and shallot until you get an aromatic taste. Transfer the marinated beef to the skillet and stir-fry for around 2 – 3 minutes until the meat is rare.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 4 Stir Fry the Beef
Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 4 Stir Fry the Beef1

Step 5: Assemble The Noodle Salad

Place the noodle at the base of the bowl and top the surface with lettuce, bean sprouts, grated cucumber, and carrot. Next, place the stir-fried beef over the vegetables with sprinkles of peanuts and fried shallots.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 5 Assemble the Noodle Salad

To enjoy Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad, pour a sufficient amount of fish sauce mixture over the bowl and mix it all together before eating.

What Are Tips And Tricks For Making Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad?

Bun Bo Nam Bo3

There are some tips and tricks you can try while making Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad. For example, while mixing the marinating mixture, make sure to follow the recipe closely, especially the seasoning step, so you can balance the flavor.

Furthermore, the sauce mixture shouldn’t be too salty as the beef is already seasoned with many savory elements. You should taste the sauce to ensure a nice harmony of sweet, sour, and salty flavors.

In this segment, I also include the best accompaniments for the Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad, as well as other tantalizing Vietnamese noodle dishes that are well worth a try.

What To Serve With Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad?

Bun Bo Nam Bo2

Typically, locals tend to customize the Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad bowl with a variety of toppings. Instead of a side dish, you can try using different vegetables with different textures and flavors to create new combos.

Additionally, some versions may alter the fish sauce recipe a bit by adding vinegar for a bit more sourness to the mixture. Note that you can always experience different ingredients with the sauce to create a flavor that suits your taste bud.

What Are Other Vietnamese Noodle Dishes To Try?

Rice noodles are rather popular in Vietnamese cooking, especially when their popularity is right behind cooked rice. For that, I’d like to give you some of Vietnam’s most popular noodle dishes to experiment with at home:

  • Spicy Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Bun Bo Hue): a traditional Vietnamese soup from the city of Hue. This spicy and aromatic dish features rice vermicelli noodles, tender slices of beef and pork, and a rich and flavorful broth infused with lemongrass, shrimp paste, and chili oil.
  • Vietnamese Grilled Pork Noodle Salad (Bun Thit Nuong): a popular Vietnamese dish combining grilled meat with rice vermicelli noodles. The dish typically features grilled pork and various fresh herbs, pickled vegetables, and roasted peanuts. It is often served with a fish sauce-based dipping sauce.
  • Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup (Bun Rieu): Vietnamese noodle soup is known for its unique and tangy flavors. The soup base is made from a combination of tomatoes, crab or shrimp paste, and tamarind, creating a savory and slightly sour broth with the rice vermicelli noodles.
  • Vietnamese Pork Ball Noodle Soup (Bun Moc): A Vietnamese soup that features flavorful pork and mushroom meatballs. The meatballs combine ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, and various seasonings, giving them a unique texture and taste.

Can Bun Bo Nam Bo Make It To Your List Of Favorite Dishes?

Bun Bo Nam Bo is undoubtedly a new candidate you can try making at home if you think Pho and Bun Bo are too familiar. The dish is highly customizable, so you can always tweak the recipe to suit your needs.

That said, I hope you have fun cooking in the kitchen. Share this article with people around you, and show me some love by leaving your thoughts in the comment section. I hope to see you again in another tantalizing cooking recipe.

Bun Bo Nam Bo

Bun Bo Nam Bo

Get to know Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad or Bun Bo Nam Bo, a classic of Southern cuisine. This simple mix of proteins and vegetables can be the main highlight of any meal.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: Bun Bo Nam Bo, Southern Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 873kcal


For Marinating The Beef:

  • 1.1 pounds of beef
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of soup powder
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 ounce of minced lemongrass, shallot, and garlic

For The Noodles And Accompaniments:

  • Around 2.5 ounces of peanuts
  • 1.8 ounces of fried shallot
  • 3.5 ounces of bean sprouts
  • 3.5 ounces of basils, peppermint, and lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • 1.1 pounds of fresh rice noodles (or dried noodles cooked according to the package)

For The Fish Sauce Mixture:

  • 75 ml of fish sauce
  • 100 ml of warm water
  • 2.5 ounces of sugar
  • Minced garlic and chili
  • Lime juice


  • Wash the vegetables and drain them. Then, you want to grate the cucumber and carrot into thin strips using a grater.
    Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 1 Prepare the Ingredients
  • Cut the beef into slices. Don’t cut the beef too thin or thick, which can affect the meats texture after cooking.
    Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 1 Prepare the Ingredients1
  • Proceed to marinate the beef slices with ground pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, sugar, salt, sesame seeds, dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Mix the beef with the marinating and let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes.
    Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 2 Marinate the Beef
  • Make the fish sauce mixture with warm water, fish sauce, and sugar. You can add minced garlic, chili, and lime juice to adjust the flavor accordingly.
    Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 3 Make the Sauce
  • Next, stir-fry the beef in olive oil with minced lemongrass, garlic, and shallot to build up an aromatic profile. Ideally, you want to stir-fry the beef to a medium rare in 2 – 3 minutes.
    Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 4 Stir Fry the Beef
  • Place into your bowl with a base of rice noodles, followed by vegetables like bean sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, and carrot. Top the vegetables with beef alongside a few sprinkles of peanuts and fried shallots.
  • Enjoy the dish by pouring the fish sauce mixture over the ingredient and mixing all elements for the best flavors.
    Bun Bo Nam Bo Step 5 Assemble the Noodle Salad



  • The following recipe is based on 4 servings.
  • Make sure you follow the recipe to ensure a balance of flavor. Depending on your taste buds, you can adjust the amount of spices for a better experience.
  • For the sauce, you should adjust the flavor to be mildly salty, as the beef is already marinated with many salty elements.


Calories: 873kcal | Carbohydrates: 156g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 31824mg | Potassium: 920mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 2887IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 5mg


Content Writer


Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Food Styling, Food Photography, Cooking-video Maker, Beverage Evaluation Expert


Saigon Culinary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • Program: Diploma in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Vietnamese and Asian cuisines with intensive training and hands-on approach.

Vietnam Australia Vocational School (VAAC), Hanoi, Vietnam

  • Program: Bartender
  • Focus: Basic knowledge on how to store, preserve and select ingredients, and practice cocktails, mocktails, hot and cold drinks.

Richie, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is a dynamic Content Writer with a talent for capturing the essence of culinary art.

Richie specializes in creating visually appealing and tasty content, offering a new angle on Vietnamese and other culinary traditions. With a background in graphic design and a love for food styling and photography, he expertly combines beauty with food narratives, encouraging his audience to discover the culinary world through his imaginative perspective.

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