This is my version of a popular take-out salad found only outside of Vietnam (like the chicken chow mein that you’ll never find in China).
A bowl of rice noodles is topped with strips of grilled beef, lettuce, peanuts, chili peppers, and served with a sweet and tangy fish sauce dressing. This recipe yields 4 to 5 large bowls, the spiciness adjusted to taste and best enjoyed with chopsticks.
For the beef
- 1 pound or 1/2 kilo of lomito. I recommend using lomito or tenderloin since other cuts might be tough.
- 5 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of finely sliced lemongrass, white part only (optional but so good)
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Marinate the beef for at least 4 hours or overnight. Grill the whole piece on all sides so that the center stays medium rare. Allow to cool and thinly slice.
For the bowls
- 1/2 pack or 200 grams of Asian rice vermicelli
- 1 large handful of loose leaves of cilantro, mint, and basil
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and finely sliced in half moons
- 1 cup of chopped peanuts
- 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced
- Crispy garlic chips (take a whole head of garlic and slice the cloves thinly, fry in hot oil and quickly strain when they begin to brown).
For the dressing
- 1 cup of Asian fish sauce
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 1/3 cup of lime juice
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 thinly sliced red pepper
- 1 teaspoon of roughly chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon of shredded carrot
Mix all of these ingredients and set aside
Start with the noodles at the bottom of each bowl, then place sliced beef on top, shredded carrots, sliced cucumber, herbs, peanuts, garlic chips. Finish with sliced chili pepper and pour 2 tablespoons of dressing on top of each bowl to serve immediately.