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My favorite Vietnamese dish is easier than I thought

Posted by Sheryl Julian  September 13, 2011 03:43 PM

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I would walk a mile for bun, the Vietnamese dish of lettuce, rice noodles, sprouts, and lots of crispy vegetables, with a gingery sauce. I rubbed chicken breasts with rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sriracha, which made a wonderful golden skin under the broiler, then removed the meat and sliced it for the top.

When I went shopping, the Asian sprouts in the market didn't look good, so I bought other sprouts. In this bowl, the rice noodles are buried, but they're on the bottom and a wonderful surprise when you get there.

Vietnamese bun

Serves 4



1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1 cup Asian fish sauce

1 piece (3 inches) fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped


1. In a bowl, combine the sugar and vinegar. Stir well until the sugar dissolves.

 2. Add the fish sauce, ginger, and garlic; set aside.



8 ounces rice vermicelli

4 chicken breasts halves, on the bone

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sriracha or other hot sauce

1/2 head red or green leaf  lettuce, cored and coarsely chopped

4 carrots, grated

3 cups fresh sprouts

6 Armenian or pickling cukes, thinly sliced

1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths

1/2 cup dry roasted peanut, chopped


1. Turn on the broiler. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.

2.  In a bowl, combine the noodles with 3 cups hot tap water. Add enough boiling water to submerge to cover the noodles. Set aside for 15 minutes. Drain the noodles and transfer to a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and toss well.

3. Set the chicken, skin side up, in a rimmed pan that can withstand the heat of the broiler element.

4. In a bowl, combine the oil, soy sauce, and sriracha or hot sauce. With your hands, rub the mixture over the chicken skin. Broil about 10-inches from the element for 5 minutes or until starting to brown. Turn the oven temperature down to 400 degrees. Continue cooking for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

5. Set the chicken aside to cool. Remove the meat from the bones in one large piece. Halve the meat lengthwise, then cut crosswise into slices.

6. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Add lettuce to each one. Top with carrots, sprouts, and cucumbers. Spoon some of the dressing over the vegetables.

7. Add chicken and spoon more dressing on top. Garnish with scallions and peanuts. Sheryl Julian



About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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If you want to contribute a recipe to The Recipe Box Project, please write it below. Also tell us where you got it (package box, cookbook, mom, friend -- include the name). We're looking for the kinds of dishes that people grew up on, that were served at family suppers, that tell a story, that are typically New England, or that you brought with you from a far away place to New England. We will print one of the recipes in the Food section once a month. To ask any questions, write to Debra Samuels, who is overseeing this project, at To discuss your recipes, click here.