Mouth-Watering Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs Recipe

Oh, hear me out! I come bearing the recipe that is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting for more. This recipe is for none other than the classic Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl – a delicious and comforting meal that is perfect year-round.

Picture this – succulent grilled pork meatballs, bursting with flavors of shallots, garlic, and fish sauce, served atop tender rice vermicelli noodles, fresh lettuce and cucumbers, and a load of fragrant herbs for that delightful crunch. To top it all off, it’s drizzled with a sweet and savory nuoc cham sauce made with lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and hot water.

I adore Vietnamese cuisine for its simplicity, bold flavors and fresh ingredients. Cooking this recipe takes me back to the streets of Hanoi where bun cha stalls line up every corner with charcoal grills sending out mouthwatering aromas of grilled pork.

This recipe is an absolute hit among my family and friends – it’s hearty yet light, flavorful yet not overpowering. And the best part? It’s incredibly easy to make! Trust me when I say this will become one of your go-to dishes in no time.

So get ready to indulge in a bowl full of flavors. Follow my lead as I guide you through this recipe on how to make the perfect Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl
Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl

Pray, hear me out! This recipe for Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs and Noodle Bowl is a dish you are bound to fall in love with! Have you ever tried the famous bun cha Vietnamese dish? Well, I’ll tell thee that these grilled pork meatballs are the star of the show – tender, juicy, lightly charred and perfectly seasoned to bring this dish alive.

What’s more, this heavenly dish is versatile enough to be served all year round – whether it is as a refreshing summer salad or warm winter comforting soup. The perfect balance of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy flavors combined with the crunch of fresh vegetables will leave thee craving more!

Think about it – each bite of these savory meatballs pairs perfectly with noodles or rice vermicelli, topped with fresh cilantro and mint leaves, thinly sliced cucumber and crunchy lettuce. Oh, what joy it brings to your taste buds!

Be it a family dinner or just a cozy meal for oneself, this recipe will undoubtedly become your new treasure. The aroma of lemongrass and garlic when combined with fish sauce and sugar will transport you directly to Vietnam – in other words, one bite of those perfectly grilled pork meatballs will have you hooked for good!

So trust me – take the leap of faith and give this Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs and Noodle Bowl a try – it might just become your new favorite go-to meal!

Ingredient List

 Freshly chopped herbs add vibrant colors and flavors to this Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs and Noodle Bowl.
Freshly chopped herbs add vibrant colors and flavors to this Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs and Noodle Bowl.

Before we start cooking, let’s gather all the necessary ingredients. This Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl Recipe has an array of flavorful ingredients that will leave your taste buds bursting with satisfaction.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound Ground Pork
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Fish Sauce (Vietnamese/Filipino)
  • 1 Shallot (minced)
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons Fish Sauce (Vietnamese/Filipino)
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2/3 cup hot Water
  • juice of half a Lime
  • 1 Garlic clove (minced)
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • English Cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • Boston Lettuce (washed and dried)
  • Grilled Pork Meatballs (Bun Cha)
    • 1 pound Ground Pork Shoulder
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon Sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce (Vietnamese/Filipino)
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • Oil for brushing the grill grates
  • Noodle salad:
    • Cooked Rice Noodles or Vermicelli Noodles
    • Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

The Recipe How-To

 These meatballs are the perfect combination of juicy and crispy, thanks to the grill and the high-fat content in the pork.
These meatballs are the perfect combination of juicy and crispy, thanks to the grill and the high-fat content in the pork.

Step 1: Prepare the Pork Meatballs

  • In a mixing bowl, combine 1 lb of ground pork, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of minced shallot, and 1 minced garlic clove.
  • Add in 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce. Mix well.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • With wet hands, form the pork mixture into small meatballs, about the size of a ping pong ball. You should have around 20 meatballs.
  • Thread the meatballs onto bamboo or metal skewers. Set aside.

Step 2: Grill the Pork Meatballs

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • Grill the pork meatballs until they are golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total.
  • Alternatively, you can cook them in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Step 3: Prepare the Noodles and Vegetables

  • Soak rice vermicelli noodles in hot water for about 5 minutes or until they are soft. Drain well and set aside.
  • Wash and dry some fresh mint leaves, fresh cilantro leaves, Boston lettuce, and thinly sliced English cucumber.

Step 4: Make The Nuoc Cham Dressing

  • In a small bowl mix together:
      2 tablespoons of fish sauce
      2 tablespoons of sugar
      juice from half a lime
      1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
      1/4 cup of hot water
  • Mix well until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Step 5: Assemble the Noodle Bowls

  • Divide the cooked rice noodles among 4 bowls.
  • Top each bowl with some grilled pork meatballs, a handful of fresh lettuce, cucumber slices, and herbs.
  • Drizzle the nuoc cham dressing over the top or serve it on the side.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

This recipe will soon become one of your Vietnamese favorites!

Substitutions and Variations

 A medley of crunchy vegetables, including carrots and cucumber, provide a refreshing complement to the bold flavors in this dish.
A medley of crunchy vegetables, including carrots and cucumber, provide a refreshing complement to the bold flavors in this dish.

In cooking, it’s all about experimentation and finding what works best for your palate. So, don’t be afraid to play around with the recipe and find substitutions or variations that suit your taste. Here are some substitution ideas to try out:

– Meat: If ground pork isn’t available, you can use ground chicken or turkey as a substitute.

– Vegetables: Add your favorite vegetables to the noodle bowl, such as shredded carrots or thinly sliced bell peppers to give it an extra crunch.

– Noodles: Instead of rice vermicelli noodles, you can use egg noodles or even soba noodles for a different twist.

– Sauce: Customize the dipping sauce to your preferences by adding more lime juice for acidity or extra spice with freshly grated ginger.

If you’re looking for variations on the classic Vietnamese grilled pork meatballs & noodle bowl recipe, try these:

– Bun Cha Hanoi: A classic Vietnamese dish that features grilled pork chops and patties served with rice vermicelli noodles and dipping sauce.

– Lemongrass Pork Bun: Substitute the meatballs with thinly sliced lemongrass-marinated pork shoulder for a twist on this tasty dish.

– Grilled Pork Noodle Salad: This refreshing variation omits the meatballs and instead features grilled pork strips served over a bed of mixed greens and vermicelli noodles.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to substitutions and variations. Be creative, experiment, and don’t be afraid to add your own unique twist to this recipe!

Serving and Pairing

 One of my favorite things about this dish is the irresistible aroma of the grilled pork marinade - it's guaranteed to make your mouth water.
One of my favorite things about this dish is the irresistible aroma of the grilled pork marinade – it’s guaranteed to make your mouth water.

Serving and Pairing this Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl Recipe is as important as the ingredients themselves. You want to make sure that you are fully capturing the true essence of this classic Vietnamese dish.

For serving, I recommend putting each of the components in separate bowls so people can build their own personalized noodle bowls. Start by laying down a bed of boston lettuce and vermicelli noodles on the bottom of the bowl. Then add a healthy serving of your juicy, savory grilled pork meatballs.

Next, add some English cucumber slices and fresh herbs like cilantro leaves and mint leaves over the meatballs. Finally, top with a generous spoonful of Nuoc Cham -a sweet and sour fish sauce that’s popular in Vietnam- for added flavor.

When it comes to pairing, I suggest serving this meal with a side of traditional Vietnamese condiments like pickled carrots and daikon or fiery chili garlic sauce for an extra kick that’ll make your taste buds dance in joy.

However, if you want to give it a modern twist, you can opt for a glass of white wine or light beer to balance out the spiciness of the dish.

This Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl Recipe is perfect for any occasion all year-round. Whether you are hosting a dinner party or looking for something quick and easy to make on lazy days, this recipe has got you covered!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The rice noodles in this bowl are the perfect vehicle for soaking up all the robust flavors of the savory broth and meatballs
The rice noodles in this bowl are the perfect vehicle for soaking up all the robust flavors of the savory broth and meatballs

Hark! A most pertinent concern that doth arise when engaging in the culinary arts, is whether one can indeed prepare a delectable meal in anticipation of future consumption. Let it be known that our Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl doth lend itself admirably to being made ahead of time, stored and reheated at a later hour.

To begin, once the grilled pork meatballs have been prepared and cooked, they may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. If thou art preparing the meatballs a day or two prior to serving, store them separately from the noodles and fresh ingredients.

As for the noodles and vegetables, place them in a separate container and store them likewise in the fridge. I would counsel assembling each noodle bowl only when it is about to be served so as not to compromise the crispness of the cabbage, cucumber or lettuce.

When reheating the pork meatballs alongside the noodles, take care to use low heat and avoid overcooking. I have found that tossing them lightly with some hot water helps reheat them without drying them out too much.

In conclusion, fret not if thou art pressed for time for thou mayest prepare this dish ahead of schedule with great success.

Tips for Perfect Results

Mastering the art of Vietnamese grilled pork meatballs and noodle bowl requires some tips, tricks, and techniques. Here are helpful tips for ensuring perfect results every time you make it.

First, choose the right cut of pork. Pork shoulder is an excellent choice for this recipe as it has a good balance of fat content and meat. It makes melt-in-your-mouth meatballs with a juicy and flavorful taste that complements the ingredients well.

When making the meatballs, avoid overmixing the ingredients as it will create tough meatballs that are unpleasant to eat. Mix everything gently until they are just combined, forming tender and juicier meatballs.

Another essential tip is to use baking soda in your marinade mixture. The bicarbonate soda reduces the acidity levels in the marinade and breaks down muscle fibers of the meat resulting in a more tender texture.—It’s one technique used in classic Vietnamese dishes.

Moreover, marinating the meat overnight helps give it a tasty flavour note. It also increases the tenderness of the grilled pork meatballs, making them easier to enjoy.

When grilling your pork meatballs on skewers, make sure to oil them first or soak them in water to avoid the balls sticking. You can also add lemongrass stalk for a fragrant kick during grilling barbecue pork meats.

Lastly, take extra care when cooking rice vermicelli noodles—make sure to boil enough hot water ahead of time for easier handling. Rinse them with cold water immediately after boiling and drain well before mixing them into your noodle bowls. This step not only prevents overcooking but also stops its cooking process resulting in perfectly cooked noodles each time!

Incorporate these simple tips into your cooking routine, and soon you’ll be serving delicious Vietnamese grilled pork meatballs & noodle bowl recipe that will impress your guests or family!

Bottom Line

Hear me, good people! As a chef, I invite you to embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Vietnam with this recipe for Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs and Noodle Bowl. With its simple, yet flavorful ingredients like ground pork, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice, this dish is perfect for satisfying your taste buds and filling your belly.

This recipe is not only delicious but also highly versatile. You can substitute the ground pork with chicken or beef to create a dish that is uniquely yours. And if you are feeling adventurous, adding some lemon grass to the marinade will give it a zesty twist.

This dish is perfect for any occasion, whether you are hosting a summer BBQ or simply looking for a comforting meal year-round. The perfectly grilled pork meatballs pair excellently with the cool and crispy cucumber and lettuce making every bite enjoyable.

In conclusion, I implore you to try this recipe and create your own version of this classic Vietnamese dish. Your taste buds will thank you, as will your friends and family who will undoubtedly be impressed with your culinary prowess. So go forth, good people, and let us feast like kings!

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Meatballs & Noodle Bowl Recipe

America’s Test Kitchen
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 593 kcal



  • 8 ounces rice vermicelli
  • 1 head boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (8 ounces)
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin on bias
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large


  • 1 small Thai chile, stemmed and minced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)


  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb ground pork


  • For the noodles and salad: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Stir in noodles and cook until tender but not mushy, 4 to 12 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain noodles very well, spread on large plate, and let stand at room temperature to dry. Divide noodles, lettuce, cucumber, cilantro and mint separately into 4 bowls; refrigerate.
  • For the sauce: Using mortar and pestle (or on cutting board using flat side of chef's knife), mash Thai chile, 1 tablespoon sugar, and garlic to fine paste. Transfer to medium bowl and add hot water and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in fish sauce and lime juice. Set aside.
  • For the pork patties: Combine shallot, fish sauce, sugar, baking soda, and pepper in medium bowl. Add pork and mix until well combined. Shape pork mixture into 12 patties, each about 21/2 inches wide and 1/2 inch think.
  • For a CHARCOAL GRILL:  Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
  • For A GAS GRILl:  Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
  • Clean and oil cooking grate. Cook patties (directly over coals if using charcoal; covered if using gas) until well charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer grilled patties to bowl with sauce and gently toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer patties to serving plate. Serve patties with noodles, salad and reserved sauce.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 407gCalories: 593kcalCarbohydrates: 67.5gProtein: 24.3gFat: 24.7gSaturated Fat: 9.1gCholesterol: 81.8mgSodium: 2454.7mgFiber: 2.7gSugar: 14.5g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Asian, Vietnamese
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