Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Soup

by Liz on June 11, 2011

Vietnamese pork and noodle soup

I don’t really know how to write about this soup. I’ve got a few friends who are pretty fanatical about various Asian cuisines, so if any of you read this blog, please feel free to educate me. As for me, this was simple a recipe in a book that looked pretty good, and so I made it. I suppose it vaguely resembles the soup known as “pho” but I assume it’s not anywhere close to the authentic version.

chopped scallions bean sprouts
baby bok choy

Lucky for me, a new Asian grocery store opened nearby. I love these places because they remind me there are many more kinds of food than I find in the regular grocery stores. I mean, what I would do with most of it, I have no idea, but I’m just glad to know it exists. However, when a recipe calls for baby bok choy, I know exactly where to go. I also love that I can buy a pound of bean sprouts for under a dollar. All this to say, it’s good to get out of the regular stores and into the more ethnic stores. You’ll find some great deals and maybe even feel a bit duped that you’ve been paying more than a dollar for scallions or cilantro at the other stores.

marinated pork bean sprouts

Vietnamese pork and noodle soup

Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Soup
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Kitchen

The main thing I changed from the original recipe is that it called for some hot chiles, and I decided to leave them out because I’m a wuss. I figured my husband could add the “rooster sauce” if he wanted a kick. Also, I picked up a 16-ounce bag of “plain noodles” from the refrigerated section of the store (instead of the 8 ounces of dry ramen suggested in the recipe), and ended up cooking the whole thing since it was just easier than trying to pry all those noodles apart. However, we only used about half, which made me realize the original recipe was right on about only needing 8 oz. of noodles. Onto the baby bok choy. Her recipe only called for two, but considering the size of the ones I bought, I ended up using six. Finally, I’m not sure what Nigella means when she suggests to use either 6 thin or 3 fat scallions, but I thought mine looked like a pretty normal size, so I just used 3 and it seemed like enough. Use your own judgement.


10 oz. pork tenderloin cut into 1/4 inch strips (I suggest buying it in 1/2 in disks to cut down on prep time)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
8 oz. ramen noodles, or other “plain noodle” of choice
1 tablespoon garlic flavored oil (note: make this yourself by peeling 3 cloves of garlic and smash a little, then sauté in a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium-low to low for 5 minutes until the oil is fragrant)
6 thin or 3 fat scallions, thinly sliced, both white and green parts
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 quart chicken broth
3 cups bean sprouts (doesn’t need to be exact)
6 baby bok choy, leaves taken apart (really, just decide how much you need depending on how big your bok choy is, and how much you want in your soup)
2 teaspoons chopped red or green chiles (optional)


(note: most of the time on this recipe is spend on the prep, but once everything is chopped and ready, it comes together super fast)

Place the pork strips in a bowl with the soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and paprika, but don’t let it marinate for more than 15 minutes. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, and drain. Heat the chicken broth until almost boiling.

In a 12-inch heavy skillet, cook the scallions and ginger in the garlic oil for a minute or so, and then add the pork and the marinade. Cook the pork for about 2 minutes, then add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook for another minute or two, making sure the pork is cooked all the way. Add the bean sprouts and bok choy, stirring to combine.

Refresh the drained noodles with a bit of running water, then put put desired amount in the bottom of a soup bowl, and place the pork, vegetables, and soup on top. If using chiles, sprinkle over the top. Garnish with fresh basil and feel free to add your choice of hot sauce.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

R. Grace July 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Looks delicious! I’m not a fan of fish so I tend to substitute different broth for the fish sauce. One of my friends threw a handful of peanuts in once, and it was amazing!

Will June 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Right up my alley: simple and Asian. I love noodle soups, so I’ll have to give this a go sometime.

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