Vietnamese pork kebab (Nem Nuong) on noodles, salad and fresh herbs

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A lady who worked with me in the same company some years ago is also a mum at my little boy’s school.  She helped serving Asian food at the school fete and saw the mountain of food sold out in an hour or so.  ‘Next year’, she declared, ‘I will bring my husband and a grill to serve Vietnamese pork kebabs.’

At my work, I sit next to a young Korean lady, across from a Malay, a Vietnamese, an Irish and a Russian. So I took the advantage and asked about the pork kebabs. The best pork kebabs, I was told, was from an old lady at Cabramatta in Western Sydney who takes orders during the week and delivers the kebabs with a delicious peanut sauce via a fruit shop on Saturdays. She will be there for 2 hours each week, and she does not speak any English.  Now, that would be a problem, as I can’t speak Vietnamese.

So I went on continuing my research efforts. Weeks later my little boy had a play date with Ben. It so happens that Ben’s mum is the best friend of Sue whom I had crossed path at my work last year.   I caught up with Sue for coffees and found out that she is a third generation Chinese grew up  in Vietnam, and she lives nearby.  ‘No need to go to Cabramatta’, she said,’ there is a butcher shop just 10 minutes from your house, and it sells very good pork kebabs”.

Here we go, I finally found the pork kebabs today. I grilled them and serve them on a bed of bean sprouts, rice noodles, pickled carrot, mint and coriander; then I poured over a fish sauce mixture (nuoc nam).  Tasted so good & nearly no recipe required.

Vietnamese pork kebab (Nem Nuong) on noodles, salad and fresh herbs


Recipe is as follow:

Fish sauce mixture


  • 1tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs hot water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 red chilies,  finely chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tbs of fine sugar


  • Mix all ingredients together (preferably in a jar with a lid), shake well

Pickled carrot


  • 1 carrot, julienne
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs of fine sugar
  • 2tbs of hot water


  • First mix the rice wine vinegar, sugar and hot water in a glass jar, shake well
  • Then add julienne carrot; pickle for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight.

Nem Nuong on noodles, salad & fresh herbs

(4 serves)


  • 12 sticks of nem nuong (prepared, available from selected Asian butchers)
  • 1 bundle of dry rice vermicelli (approx 60g)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 15g of fresh mint, sliced
  • 30g coriander, sliced
  • 100g bean sprout, washed


  • To cook the rice vermicelli, boil the noodles in hot water until cooked; drain using a colander; run the noodles (in a colander) under cold water to cool;  apply 1 tbs of sesame oil & mix well, so the noodles won’t stick together.
  • Grill (or pan fry) the nem nuong until cooked; if you prefer to pan fry the nem nuong, you will need to oil the frying pan.
  • Divide the bean sprouts into 4 bowls, top with rice vermicelli, pickled carrot, mint, coriander, and cooked nem nuong sticks; pour the fish saurce mixture on top of the nem nuong & noodles.

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