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Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with meatballs

Vietnamese Meatball Noodle Bowl

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 45 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top/Grill
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


If you haven’t had a Vietnamese noodle bowl, it is time. This savory and fresh grilled pork meatball noodle bowl is my favorite anytime food!



Vietnamese Meatballs:

1 lb ground meat of choice

1/4 chopped fresh basil

4 minced garlic cloves

3 green onions, finely chopped

1 T fish sauce

1 T sriracha

1 T sugar

2 t cornstarch

1 t freshly ground black pepper

1 t kosher or coarse salt

For the Noodle Bowl:

Carrot Daikon Salad from here

1 c thinly sliced cucumber

6 cups sliced green leaf or romaine lettuce

1/2 c mint sprigs

1/2 c Thai basil sprigs

1/2 c cilantro

1 large jalapeno sliced

1 1/2 c fresh bean sprouts

Nuoc Cham (Dressing for the salad)

Rice Stick Noodles (Maifun) (1 package)

1/2 c chopped peanuts

Meatballs from above

Nuoc Cham Sauce:

1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice

1 finely chopped garlic clove

3 T fish sauce

4 T sugar

4 T water

1/4 t red chili flakes

1 T sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy)



Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Form each into about 2 inch meatballs. Chill.

Preheat grill, then place these on an oiled  grill tray and slowly grill at medium high heat while turning them as they brown.  Or you could skewer them like shish kebab and grill them slowly also or fry them in a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet on the stove.

Noodle Bowl:

Soak rice noodles in very hot or boiling water according to package directions.  Let soften for about 10 minutes. You may have to keep changing your water to get these soft enough. Texture and consistency  is important here. Not too soft, not too hard. And it is not an exact science! Drain well when they are ready.

Prepare all ingredients for the noodle bowl and set aside.

To prepare individual bowl:

Put a handful of noodles in a bowl. Top with lettuce. Top with mint, basil, cilantro, jalapenos, slices of cucumbers and bean sprouts.  Add some carrot daikon salad. Place meatballs on last. Garnish with peanuts. Serve with Nuoc Cham on the side so diners can add as needed.


After reading about fish sauce I realized that the reason it was so hard to get my nuoc cham tasting like the restaurants’, was clearly related to the quality of fish sauce used.

A preferred brand is Three Crabs fish sauce, also labeled Viet Huong. Red Boat is another. There are other more expensive brands that I would like to try, but this one worked out well. And this sauce is crucial to the taste of the noodle bowl. Another thing I discovered is to stick with products from the country of origin. In other words, using a Thai fish sauce might change the flavor profile of this dish- or it might not!

Meatballs:  from Bon Appetit January 2010