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Bun Cha – Vietnamese Meatballs with Vietnamese Noodle Salad

4.7 from 3 reviews

A tasty recipe for Bun Cha – grilled Vietnamese meatballs served with a Vietnamese noodle salad with fresh herbs and citrus dipping sauce (nuoc cham). A healthy and delicious dish, perfect for lunch or dinner.


For the pork meatballs

For the Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc cham)

For the noodle salad


For the pork meatballs

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the minced pork, fish sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, honey, spring onions, coriander (cilantro) and garlic.
  2. Set the mixture aside for 30-60 minutes in the fridge to let the flavours develop and to allow the mixture to firm.
  3. Form the pork mixture into small meatballs about the size of a golf ball, and then flatten them slightly.
  4. Heat a large frying pan with some vegetable oil and cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelised.

For the Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc cham)

  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice.
  2. Add the fish sauce, water, garlic and chilli (if using), and mix until well-combined.
  3. Set the sauce aside for about 10-15 minutes before tasting.
  4. You may need to add a bit more lemon juice, fish sauce, or even water, to get a good balance of sweet, sour and salty.

To serve

  1. Place some salad and vegetables on the bottom of each bowl or plate.
  2. Place a good handful of noodles on top of the salad.
  3. Top with however many meatballs you like.
  4. Garnish with some herbs, roughly torn.
  5. Generously drizzle some Vietnamese dipping sauce over the noodles and meatballs, and use chopsticks to mix everything together.
  6. Provide each person with a bowl of dipping sauce to drizzle over the noodles and also to dip the meatballs into.

Kitchen Notes

If you are feeding young children, I tend to omit the chillies from the sauce and either serve chopped chillies or pickled chillies on the side.

The Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc cham) keeps well in the fridge in a sealed jar for several weeks. I often double or triple the recipe so that I always have a bottle handy in the fridge.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.