A traditional Vietnamese noodle bowl served with seared slices of beef seasoned with fragrant lemongrass.
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Total Time:
It has been a couple of weeks since my last post and I don’t even have a good reason as to why I’ve been away. I was still cooking and eating lots. However, no new recipes were really lighting me up which is very frustrating (and a little bit scary) when you write a food blog. Fortunately, a good friend convinced me to check out a local Vietnamese restaurant he had been raving about and things started to turn around.
I ordered their basil lemongrass beef spring rolls and was immediately smitten. The beautifully seared beef generously seasoned with finely minced flecks of fresh lemongrass was enough to pull me out of my food funk. Surprisingly, I did not have a good Vietnamese lemongrass beef recipe in my repertoire and decided I needed to rectify that ASAP. A couple of attempts and many dirty dishes later, I now have a recipe I’m totally excited about. The lemongrass flavor is definitely present without being overbearing and a little fish sauce and honey adds the typical sweet-sour-salty Vietnamese flair.
The Vietnamese lemongrass beef is fabulous in spring rolls but for a weeknight dinner, I take the slightly easier route and serve them with rice vermicelli noodles. If you’ve never cooked rice vermicelli noodles before, visit my post for Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Vermicelli Noodles for some helpful hints.
Garlic hoisin sauce vs Vietnamese dipping sauce (nước chấm)
The garlic hoisin sauce is a very non-traditional sauce for vermicelli bowls but if you love hoisin sauce, it’s a great change of pace. It’s actually the sauce my mother always made to eat with soft spring rolls. Since a vermicelli bowl is essentially a deconstructed spring roll, I decided to try the garlic hoisin sauce with this dish and really liked the flavor it added.
If you’re not wild about hoisin sauce or you really love the traditional fish sauce based dipping sauce (nước chấm), then definitely stay with the traditional sauce. I tasted both versions and really liked them both. Just don’t try both sauces together in the same bowl.
The garlic hoisin sauce is a bold flavored sauce and a little goes a long way. If you’re used to pouring lots of fish sauce in your vermicelli bowls, you’ll want to dial back the amount of sauce you use by quite a bit. My advice is to start with a conservative amount of sauce (about what you see in the photo above) then give everything a good toss so the noodles get evenly coated. Then taste to see if you want to add more sauce.