The weather has been warm enough lately for an early Barbecue event. Well, not quite yet at certain places on the globe, but we have been very blessed for living in Southern California with gorgeous weather of early Spring. So I have to take advantage of our new barbecue grill and the weather to make this delicious Northern Vietnamese noodle dish.
To me, this dish resemblances more of a salad than a noodle entree. Mostly, because I love to add a lot of vegetables with the smallest amount of noodle possible to my bowl whenever I eat this. Also, the fish sauce serves as a dressing and ultimately brings everything together in this dish like a salad. That is why to me, making the fish sauce dressing is just as important as marinating and grilling the meats. The lightness of the minty vegetables and the smokey fragrance of the barbecued meats make you feel delighted and guilt-free when enjoying this noodle "salad".
For the noodle:
- 2 lbs of pork shoulder meat (slice into 1/4 inch thick slices)
- 2 lbs of ground pork
- 1 bag of vermicelli noodle (cook accordingly to the bag's instruction, drain and rinse with cold water)
- pickled shredded carrot and daikon radish (carrot + daikon + vinegar + water + sugar + salt)
- Vietnamese mint leaves (several different varieties), shredded green leave lettuces
- Scallion oil (chopped scallion + 3 tbsp oil + a pinch of salt, microwave for 35 seconds)
- chopped peanuts (optional)
For the marinade:
- 6 tsp of sugar
- 5 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp of sweet soy sauce
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp of oyster sauce
- 1 tsp of oil
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of mushroom seasoning
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Minced garlic (4-5 cloves), minced shallots (about 6), minced white part of green onion (about 10)
Combine all the marinade ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Divide it into 2 equal portions. Mix one portion with the pork shoulder slices and the other portion with the ground pork. Mix well to combine and let them sit for at least several hours or overnight for best result.
For the ground pork, make it into lemon-size balls and flatten them to form the patties.
Prepare the grill and grill the meat and patties until fragrant and golden brown.
Fish sauce dressing:
- 1 part of sugar
- 3/4 part of fish sauce
- 2/3 part of white vinegar
- 2 parts of water
- minced garlic and red thai chili peppers
Bring everything, except the garlic and chilies, to boil in a small sauce pan. Turn off heat and let it cool to room temperature before add in garlic and red chilies.
To serve, add the hot, grilled meat in a small bowl, pour the fish sauce over to submerge most of the meats, add pickled carrot and daikon radish on top. In a large serving plate, arrange the minty vegetables and lettuce on one side, the vermicelli on the other side of the plate with scallion oil for garnish. Or if you feel lazy like me, we can add all the noodle, vegetables and meat in one bowl, then pour the fish sauce dressing over. Mix and devour!:)