Vietnamese Spring Roll Noodle Bowl (Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong)

creative direction, photography & editing CYNTHIA NGUYEN in collaboration with OUR PLACE

Celebrating one of the biggest days in the Lunar calendar…

I’m delighted to share with you a personal recipe from the family archive for Lunar New Year— Bún Chả Giò Thịt Nướng, a beautiful and fresh Southern Vietnamese dish that has been passed down from my mother.

Made up of layers of goodness, from the bed of vermicelli, lemongrass marinated pork, to healthy mixed greens and crunchy, golden spring rolls— all done in a single pan. Topped with crushed peanuts, pickled vegetables and a flavourful fish sauce to compliment the entire delicious dish. It’s every special occasion like birthdays, Christmas, Lunar New Year, that my mom would make spring rolls, while my dad did all the frying. They were easily enjoyed by all ages. Prior to 2020, when my parents came to visit me, my mom would freeze a bunch of them as part of her care packages to enjoy while I lived on my own. Nowadays, I miss them. I miss the taste of spring rolls where I was fortunate to have them served at the family home or simply pull out of my freezer when I thought of them. Now, I’m finally able to make my own, no matter where I am. I can get that taste of my mom’s cooking through these and I’m thrilled to share it with you guys to try. 🥄

Side note: I’ve also untouched the images of the food below to showcase the true bright colours of the ingredients, cook on the food, and final dish. Should I continue doing this or edit the images to be more cohesive with the tone of my website and style of photography editing? Let me know what you think!

 

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Bun Cha Gio Cha Thit Nuong

A beautiful and fresh Southern Vietnamese dish that has been passed down from my mother— consisting of layers of goodness. From vermicelli, pork marinated with lemongrass, to healthy mixed greens and crunchy, golden spring rolls. Topped with crushed peanuts, pickled vegetables and fish sauce to compliment the delicious and popular dish.
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4
Author: Cynthia Nguyen

Equipment

  • Our Place Always Pan to boil, fry, sauté
  • Large Mixing Bowls
  • Plates to fold Spring Rolls
  • Large Serving Bowls for Final Dish
  • Small Serving Bowls for Fish Sauce
  • Small Sauce Pot for Pickled Vegetables Mix
  • Jars for Pickled Vegetables

Ingredients

Spring Rolls | Cha Gio

  • 1 lb ground pork (500grams of tofu works too)
  • 1 lb peeled, clean shrimp
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 ½ tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup fish sauce (I use Phu Quoc Fish Sauce)
  • cup dried black fungus mushrooms (also known as wood ear mushrooms)
  • 1 package spring roll wraps (I use Spring Home TYJ Spring Roll Pastry, mom’s go-to)
  • cup vegetable or canola oil to fry

Lemongrass Pork | Thit Nuong

  • 1 lb pork loin
  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • hoisin sauce
  • tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tbsp black pepper
  • chili flakes (optional for desired level of spice)
  • tbsp vegetable oil (or canola oil)

Pickled Vegetables

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 daikon (optional, the dish featured in the images only includes pickled carrot ribbons)
  • 5 tbsp white sugar
  • 4 tbsp white vinegar
  • cup boiling water
  • 1 dried bay leaf (optional, normally done without, however you can play with the pickled flavours if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • fresh red chili peppers or habanero peppers (optional for desired level of spice)

Fish Sauce

  • tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • tbsp freshly squeezed lime
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • chili flakes or habanero pepper (optional for desired level of spice)
  • pickled carrots and daikon (optional, this your pickled vegetable)

Noodles and Fresh Greens

  • 1 package vermicelli noodles
  • lettuce
  • mint
  • Asian basil
  • cucumber
  • crushed peanuts (Enjoy without peanuts if you're allergic!)
  • fried shallots (optional)
  • scallions (optional)

Instructions

Spring Rolls | Cha Gio

  • Soak your black fungus in some water to allow them to expand and rehydrate.
  • Wash and peel your shrimp before mincing well.
  • Finely chop your carrots, onions, shallot and black fungus.
  •  In a mixing bowl, add all of your ingredients for the filling and mix well.
  • Peel and lay out your wraps on a large plate to begin folding.
  • Add 2 tbsp of filling on your wrap. Wrap your spring rolls. Although there’s a traditional way which you can find online via videos, I just wrap mine like a baby burrito.
  • Prep to fry by adding your oil in the pan. ** If you’d like to opt for a healthier version of spring rolls, you can oil a baking tray and pop them in the oven to bake. Frying definitely achieves that crunch and flakiness and is more of the traditional way of cooking these.**
  • Once the pan is ready, fry your spring rolls, until they are golden brown all around and fully cooked inside.

Lemongrass Pork | Thit Nuong

  • Slice your pork loin into thin strips.
  • Finely cut your lemongrass.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix everything together well. (Optional, leave marinated pork for 1 hr)
  • Over medium heat and cook your marinated pork for about 5 minutes. (Until pork is cooked through)
  • Once you're done, you can sprinkle crushed peanuts and/fried shallots over top. Feel free to opt from this step if you're allergic to peanuts or replace with fried shallots.

Pickled Vegetables

  • Prepare pickled vegetables a day before or 1-2 hours before eating.
  • Finely cut your carrots, (and daikon if you intend to make) A peeler works, as you can make them into carrot ribbons.
  • In a small sauce pot, boil water. Then put your vinegar, sugar, bay leaf (optional) into the boiling water and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Prep your jar(s) in the meantime by placing your carrots/daikon inside.
  • Remove the vinegar mixture you've made off the stove and pour into your jars.
  • Feel free to add chopped chili peppers for desired level of spice, before putting the lids on the jars.
  • Allow them to cool down and pickle for a minimum of 1-2 hours or overnight before eating. You can store them in the fridge.

Fish Sauce

  • Super easy— just add everything together in a small bowl and mix.
  • Feel free to add more lime, sugar or spice, depending on desired taste.

Noodles and Fresh Greens | Plating the Dish

  • Boil water and cook your vermicelli noodles with the strainer in the Always Pan. A pot to boil your noodles works here too.
  • Once they’re cooked, strain the noodles and allow them to cool down before adding them to the bowls.
  • Dice up some scallions and reuse a bit of your fried oil from spring rolls to glaze them before topping your vermicelli noodles.
  • Wash your fresh vegetables well and cut the cucumber into slices.
  • Cut up the crispy spring rolls and then add all the remaining items into the bowl—  the spring rolls, pickled vegetables, the lemongrass pork with some crushed peanuts on top (fried shallots are optional).
  • Finish off with drizzling your fish sauce on top of everything in your bowl, and enjoy!


If you decide to make your spring rolls in advance like what I did here to split up the cooking time, you can place your freshly fried spring rolls in the freezer and when you are ready to serve to eat, simply pop them into the oven (toaster oven works too) to get them crispy again. 

For those looking for a health conscious option instead of frying the spring rolls, you may bake them until they are golden and cooked inside as well. Traditionally, Vietnamese spring rolls are fried to get that extra crispy, golden and flakey outer shell.

 


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What’s truly amazing about this Bún Chả Giò Thịt Nướng dish is that you can enjoy all the components of this dish separately. You have the choice to simply make just the spring rolls as delicious appetizers, or enjoy the lemongrass pork on some rice with steam vegetables. The fish sauce to this recipe can be used for almost any other Vietnamese dish, such as Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Pancakes/Crispy Crêpes), Gỏi Xoài (Mango Salad), Bánh Bột Lọc (Vietnamese Topioca Dumplings), Cơm Sườn Nướng (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops on Rice), Bánh Cuốn (Steamed Rice Rolls) and much more. Pretty versatile right? I normally make a large jar of fish sauce to store in the fridge and use it over time for my different various dishes.

 


Featured products used: Our Place Always Pan in “Heat”, Our Place Main Plates in “Steam”, Our Place Side Bowls in “Steam”, Our Place Drinking Glasses in “Clear”,  Anthropologie Harvest Foliage Bowl, Bamboo Mixing Bowl, Miyabi 6000 MCT



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Love the dish?


Why not pin it to your Pinterest board and try it yourself!
If you could share your experience below, I’d love to hear about it.

 

Pin this recipe: Vietnamese Spring Roll Noodle Bowl (Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong) by Pinch of Chic

A beautiful and fresh Southern Vietnamese dish— consisting of layers of goodness. From vermicelli, pork marinated with lemongrass, to healthy mixed greens and crunchy, golden spring rolls. Topped with crushed peanuts, pickled vegetables and fish sauce to compliment the delicious dish.

Red Velvet Cookies

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What’s better than cookies? Holidays cookies…

Whether it’s hosting or giving away sweet treats for the winter holidays, we think that the Red Velvet Cookie made from scratch is the perfect kind of cookie to offer.

My sister and I have gotten together to make these cookies in light of the holidays, gifting for the parents, and staying in to keep cozy.

We are pleased to share these super thick and soft, filled with natural red cocoa cookies. Roll them in powdered sugar and watch the cracks in the cookies unravel as they bake, not to mention the beautiful aroma emitted from the oven and dispersed throughout the room. The powdered sugar is the perfect and simple topping to evoke a winter-like feel, just like powdered snow that has fallen.

These red velvet cookies have almost a brownie like texture on the inside, and the deeper you get, the softer they are. Their shell is a bit more firm and they’re not too sweet compared to regular chocolate cookies. What’s also nice about these cookies are that they don’t require too much red food colouring unlike traditional red velvet desserts. We like how the natural red cocoa looks and decided to use a little less red colouring for these.


Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

Now that Autumn is among us, there’re a few things worth incorporating into your cooking and enjoying while they’re in season— such as cinnamon, pumpkin and corn.

At first, it wasn’t my intention to share a blog post around this meal (hence the un-staged photos), however since the outcome was so good, I couldn’t resist in sharing the recipe. The big pot of goodness only lasted for a day and half between two people.

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Here’s a simple and perfect Autumn recipe to try at home: Sweet potato corn chowder. It’s vegan, dairy free, budget-friendly and nutritious. Low effort prep time with high return. 

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
A vegan and dairy-free recipe without the bacon!
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 ripe corn
  2. 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
  3. 1 onion, diced (3 cups)
  4. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 4 ribs celery, chopped (2 cups)
  6. 2 tsp chili powder
  7. 1 tsp of paprika
  8. chill flakes, to taste
  9. sea salt and pepper, to taste
  10. 2 cubes of organic vegetable stock (4 cups of water added)
  11. Optional: 4 strips of peameal bacon
Instructions
  1. Start with 4 cups of water in a large pot with 2 cubes of vegetable stock added. I used organic bouillon cubes.
  2. Add the diced onion, then minced garlic and chopped celery to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes or more until ingredients start to soften.
  3. Add the sweet potato, then bring to a light simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the sweet potato is easily pierced with a fork.
  5. Remove about 2/3 of the soup and blend until smooth and creamy then pour back into the pot.
  6. Season with sea salt and pepper and serve right away.
  7. Optional, but you bake 4 strips of peameal bacon till crispy and finely chop to little bits. Sprinkle desired amount of peameal bacon bits over top of your chowder. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can store this inside your fridge for up to 5 days.
Pinch of Chic https://www.pinchofchic.com/

Vieux-Montréal


creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography CYNTHIA NGUYEN & CASSANDRA D’AMBROSIO in collaboration with
HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES

 With only a single vacation day left in my calendar and the desire to get away from home,
a trip to Old Montréal made the most sense.

It began with mobile messages being exchange with one of my long-time, best friends, Cassandra, regarding Rupi Kaur’s [#1 New York Time’s bestselling author of milk and honey] tour performance being sold out in Toronto. We netted out with a plan to mission to Montréal to go see Rupi recite her poetry at Le National.

That mission ended up being our very first trip together— cute, right?

Below is a summary of Day 1 and my Old Montréal hotspots.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6TH, 2017
.
AT 5:45AM
.
Woke up and got myself out of the home
to catch the 6:40AM VIArail train from
Toronto Union Station to Montreal.
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MOOD: craving for a coffee and grilled cheese.
AT 12:00PM
.
Two coffees and bagels later, Cassandra and I have arrived at Gare Centrale aka Montréal Central Station.
.
At this time, it’s too early to check-in to our hotel rooms at HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES. We drop off our luggage at the hotel with the lovely and most informative staff. I find that it’s super helpful to ask your concierge of the hotel for suggestions for places to go, eat and worth-wild seeing. They’re filled with amazing recommendations and will go as far as to curate a list and label a handy map for you.

AT 1:30PM
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TOMMY
200 Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, Quebec H2Y 1T3
.
Our first #mtlcoffeecrawl stop— ordered my latte, grilled cheese sandwich, quiche, and croissant. Cannot tell you how obsessed I was with the ornate mouldings on the ceiling of the cafe.

AT 4:34PM
.
HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES
55 St Jacques St, Montréal, QC H2Y 1K9
.
Finally checked into our hotel.
We are greeted with a gifts, a personal note and divine classical music being played from the alarm clock system in our room.
AT 4:54PM
.
At this point in time, Cassandra and I were on the verge of tears… of joy over the fancy bathroom shower.

Funny how a beautiful hotel room with a high-tech, oversize shower can make someone feel so deeply? That’s what I call a stellar interior. With the exception of the mini fridge. Two-thirds through our trip, we called front desk for help because we struggled to uncover the location of our mini fridge.. turns out to be what we had thought was our safe to store valuables.


The hotel’s 169 richly appointed rooms feature elegant, lavish interiors with century old brick walls.

AT 6:25PM
.
En route to Le National to see Rupi Kaur.
AT 6:50PM
.
Arrived at location and got pizza from next door. Got inside the theatre. Got her new book, the sun and her flowers. Watched Rupi from 7 till 9. Was in tears at the end, thanks to her last poem that she recited called ‘Broken English‘.
AT 9:15PM
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FLYJIN
417 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montréal, QC H2Y 2M4
.
Dinner time. Ordered the wakame salad, pork dumplings, chicken dumplings
and too many cocktails.

If you like good Asian fusion-food and a swanky, underground atmosphere (and you’re also a low-key deep house music fan like myself), this is the place to be. This is celebrity chef, Antonio Park’s Japanese restaurant & bar that sits in the heart of Old Montréal. This restaurant goes from hip dining venue into a trendy after-hours club with featured DJs spinning music you never thought you’d enjoy. (Yes, Cassandra— this statement implies you.) If you ever find yourself in these parts of the city, I recommend at least going in for a cocktail or two and test drive the Stairway to Buddha. As if I wasn’t already amused by Cassandra’s presence, the making of this cocktail alone is pure, great entertainment. FYI, we both returned to this place two evenings in a row.

This summarizes day 1 in Montréal.

 

long blazer ZARA (SIMILAR) high-waisted trousers ZARA (SIMILAR) shoes JIMMY CHOO earrings BOUTIQUE MINIMALISTE

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7TH, 2017
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BRASSERIE 701
.
701 Côte de la Place d’Armes, Montréal, QC H2Y 2X6
.
Brunch, featuring: two classic benedictines, lemon-flavoured butter croissants, fresh fruit and a side of jaw-dropping beautiful interior.
MILE-END
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For vintage and thrift shopping, this the area to visit. Discover new olds at stores like: Local 23, Empire, Bohême Friperie,  and Annex Vintage. View map here.
Tip: You can use the Metro to get from Place-d’Armes station to Laurier station to get to Mile-End.


 

LE ROBIN SQUARE
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520 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2Y 2Y9
.
Featuring: foie gras mi-cuit, beet salad, butternut squash soup (not shown),
mac & cheese.


 

 


vegan leather jacket APRIL77 top ARITZIA skirt LOCAL23 earring BOUTIQUE MINIMALIST

 

It was a hectic yet bittersweet morning for Cassandra and I as left to take the train back home the next morning. We had only spent 48 hours in this beautiful city. I wish we could’ve stayed longer. I already miss the architecture, the lemon-buttered croissants and well-dressed men. But I feel more thankful than ever to have made it back home without a fractured ankle (it was only sprained). We really valued the food scene, range of vintage shops and sophisticated nightlife there. But most importantly the quality time we got to spend together over the 48 hours of being there because as we get back to our lives, it becomes busier and much harder to make that kind of time again.

Where are your favourite places in Old Montreal? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to follow along on Instagram to keep up with my adventures. xx

 

Ruffles


 

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with SHEIN and NICOLE VIENNA

Pinch of Chic Shein Ruffle Sleeves

Let’s understand what’S HAPPENED

This entry is my second article published in 2017— another little milestone reached! In between all this crazy hustling and bustling, there’s no better way to give yourself some positivity but to take a breather from reality and just start typing away your feelings…or ‘feels’ if you will.

Man, has this year gone by rocket fast… It feels like only a few months ago did I decide to start a blog in my little bedroom I was renting out in a student house during my final year of post secondary. My full-time work schedule has shaded so much of my vision and attention that I had completely forgotten that my blog had turned 3 years old! January 7th marks the day this site launch. I told myself 3 years ago that I only had 3 years to hit that ‘blogging peak.’ You know, that pinnacle of success— that tier where one gets all the endless invitation to Paris Fashion addressed with ‘Madame’, get offered cool collaborations with Louis Vuitton and be gifted Chloe Drew bags of every neutral shade. I told myself that if I didn’t reach that peak within 3 years that I was going to fail the rest of the way because that new wave of bloggers will simply come and surpass me and my reach. There was no real over arching purpose for Pinch of Chic, other than to share my favourite outfits, foods, rants as well as inspirational pins from my Pinterest boards. In my previous post, I had mentioned that I migrated from Squarespace to WordPress and during the midst importing all the photos, I came across all my earlier blog posts when I had just started back in 2014. It was super nostalgic and pretty heart-warming to see where I’ve begun. J.Crew obsessed and Sophia Webster-loving… Wow, talk about trekking down memory lane.

Now, seeing my spurts of effort in the form of blog posts created alongside such talented photographers makes me feel kind of touched. All my great efforts to keep this blog alive, even with the sporadic posting times still did me good.

Looking at today, I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m an established ‘influencer.’ I don’t have the numbers and I definitely don’t have the kind of time like the full-time, dedicated ‘established’ influencers do. I would much rather call myself a content creator if anything. With that being said— I don’t really know how far this blog will go but 3 years has certainly passed and I’m still sitting here writing in this text field… All in all, it’s just real nice to know that I got this far with this platform— with opportunities to create and collaborate with great people anytime. Pinch of Chic not only has just been a blog but a portfolio book for me, as well as a platform for people to be inspired and feel as if they were engaging in conversation with me. It’s funny to acknowledge that this blog has opened so many doors for me— making great friends, pushing my creative thinking, practicing my entrepreneurial and negotiating skills, working with cool brands and independent designers, encouraging me to constantly go out and uncover the hidden gems, network and hunt for the most awesome brunch places all around my city. To showcase my hood through my taste and brand voice.

I’d say I’m doing pretty alright, even if I haven’t received my Chloe bag yet.

You can find me me doing a victory dance to surviving 2016 in exaggerated ruffles (only $15! See details below) with my good friend, latte.

 


Caught up with Vincent over some beautiful, and I mean really beautiful brunch at Baddies. Test drove the granola yoghurt + chia pudding.

OUTFIT DETAILS— Top SHEIN Suede pants BANANA REPUBLIC Watch NICOLE VIENNA Elenah heels NINE WEST

 

 

 

 


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