Any time I visit a Vietnamese restaurant, it’s hard for me to decide between a big steaming bowl of pho or crisp, refreshing bun. The latter provides inspiration for these lemongrass pork rice noodle bowls.
This recipe calls for pork tenderloin cut into thin slices. It’s marinated for just a short time in a super flavorful blend of Southeast Asian ingredients. While I love a fattier cut of pork that would likely be more authentic for this type of dish, the tenderloin cooks quickly and makes this meal possible in short time.
♥ Related: BBQ Chicken & Peach Salad
You will need to remember to marinate the pork, but you need just a couple of hours for the marinade to do its magic. Other than this step, this is a meal that comes together super fast.
If weather permits, grill the pork over charcoal to add an extra layer of char-grilled flavor that can’t be beat. But, if your only option is a grill pan on your stovetop, it’s still a delicious recipe worth making.
These bowls are great leftover. If you can keep the leftover ingredients separate until right before serving, that’s best. Freshen up the rice noodles by rinsing with warm tap water and draining before building bowls out of the leftovers.
Lemongrass Pork Rice Noodle Bowls
- 2 stalks lemongrass white and light green parts roughly chopped
- 2 inch chunk ginger root peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 medium shallot peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
Rice Noodle Bowl
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 lb rice noodles
- 2 medium carrots cut into matchsticks, ~2 cups
- 1 small daikon radish cut into matchsticks, ~1 cup
Nuoc Cham Sauce
- 1 cup hot water
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup lime juice freshly squeezed, ~4 limes
- ⅓ cup fish sauce
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated on a microplane grater
- 1 tsp sambal chili paste optional
- 1 ½ cups fresh herbs roughly chopped, your favorite combination of cilantro, green onions, Thai basil, and mint
- ½ cup salted peanuts roughly chopped
- ½ cup French fried onions
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the lemongrass, ginger, shallot, garlic, and brown sugar. Process until it becomes a smooth paste. You can also use a mortar and pestle for this. Remove from the food processor to a medium bowl. Whisk in the fish sauce and soy sauce.
- Cut the pork tenderloin into half inch wide slices. Then use a meat mallet to pound each slice out to about one quarter of an inch roughly doubling the size of each slice. This will add more surface area for the marinade to flavor each piece of pork.
- Add the pork to the marinade bowl and mix until all of the pieces are well coated in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
- Prep the other ingredients any time during the marination window. For the rice noodles, boil them in water until they are cooked through. Drain and rinse with cool water. Cut the carrot and daikon radish into matchstick sized pieces or use a julienne peeler to make this easy. Mix together all of the ingredients for the nuoc cham sauce in a sealable container and refrigerate until service. Chop your herbs and peanuts.
- After 2-4 hours, grill pork over high heat about 2-3 minutes per side. Grilling over charcoal will add an extra depth of flavor from the char, but a gas grill or grill pan on the stove will also work.
- To serve, mix rice noodles, carrots, and daikon radish together in each bowl. Top with herbs, sliced grilled pork, peanuts, and French fried onions. Drizzle with nuoc cham sauce.
- I use my handy julienne peeler for the carrots and daikon radish which makes this job quick and easy.
- I love keeping nuoc cham sauce on hand for this recipe but also it’s great on salads or for a dipping sauce for dumplings and spring rolls.
- If you like them, bean sprouts are a great additional garnish for this bowl. I don’t, but know that they would add an extra crunch and texture!
Things You Might Need For This Recipe
Sambal Chili Paste
This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission on qualified purchases from affiliate links that you click. Affiliate commissions help support this site so that I can keep bringing you great recipes, kitchen hacks, and product reviews.