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!

 

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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



.

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.

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.

_____

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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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/

Beetroot Tagliatelle with Pistachio Thyme Pesto


creative direction & photography CYNTHIA NGUYEN
recipe adapted ASHLEY ALEXANDER


An
Insatiable Hunger
for More.

The first article of 2018. This year, I wanted to introduce a new section to my blog and incorporate more delicious food and lifestyle-related articles.

Food has always been a realm of passion and stimulation for me. We’re not talking about eating to gain just nourishment, but to expand opportunities for social gatherings and encourage togetherness. To share good food, good company, enjoyment and love. To explore another creative venture for one to be excited about, challenged and share with those around them. To grow a wonderful skill to own at home for yourself and pass down.

 

Having grown up with a talented chef as a father who cooks all sorts of cuisines and a mom who cooks breathtaking Vietnamese dishes at home, the insatiable hunger for a wider experience in tasting and cooking continues. This shift and addition to my blog is seen as another way to further diversify and strengthen my cooking as a self-taught cook and creative. It has become a method to encourage me to record all of my parents’ recipes down for myself. When it comes to food, not only do I want to share the places I’ve eaten within my city and other countries, but I would like to share my take on cooking. Whether they’re adapted recipes from other chefs to passed down family recipes, I’d like my blog to be a space where I share my other passions aside from fashion and photography. 

In this article, I’m sharing with you my take on the Beetroot Spaghetti dish with Pesto. I originally found the Beetroot Spaghetti recipe through an Instagram story that was shared by Ashley of Gather and Feast. Since the original recipe paired the pasta with goat cheese– I wanted to find a dairy-free alternative. Which lead me to pairing it with a nice green pesto made up of spinach, pistachio and thyme. You’ll also see that I’ve swapped Spaghetti for Tagliatelle, as I wanted a wider and thicker pasta for more real estate to be covered in beetroot puree. It’s been one of those things I’ve been dying to try but couldn’t…simply because I didn’t own a food processor. Side note: Thanks J for lending me yours! I’m still in the market looking for a good one. Suggestions are welcomed!

Without further ado, here is the Beetroot Tagliatelle with Pistachio Thyme Pesto recipe. Bon Appétit!

Beetroot Tagliatelle with Pistachio Thyme Pesto
Serves 4
A modern and dairy-free way to enjoy Tagliatelle and beetroot.
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Ingredients
  1. 3-4 large fresh beetroot
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 onion
  4. 2½ tbs balsamic vinegar
  5. ¼ cup olive oil
  6. 4 cloves fresh garlic
  7. 2 cups spinach
  8. 5½ tbs fresh thyme leaves
  9. ½ juice of lemon or lime works
  10. ½ cup of pistachios
  11. ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  12. 500g good quality Tagliatelle
  13. Pinch of chili flakes
  14. ½ tsp sea salt
  15. Pepper, to taste
Toppings
  1. Walnuts
  2. Pistachio
  3. Fresh Sage
For the Pistachio Thyme Pesto
  1. Add the spinach, 4½ tbs fresh thyme leaves, pistachio, nutmeg, lemon juice, 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until well-combined, but still slightly chunky. You may add a pinch of chili flakes for a little kick.
For the Beet Tagliatelle
  1. Peel the beetroot, roughly chop and place onto a paper lined baking tray. Season with pinch of salt and bake for roughly 45mins - 1 hour.
  2. Remove the beetroot from the oven and add to a blender or food processor (once cooled).
  3. Add 2 cups water and blend until smooth. You may add another ½ cup of water if you find the texture still too thick.
  4. Place a large fry pan onto medium heat and add a tbs of olive oil with the 1 clove of finely chopped garlic, chili flakes and ½ tbs thyme leaves and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add the pureed beetroot, balsamic vinegar and a generous pinch of salt and stir until warmed through.
  6. Cook your Tagliatelle as per packet instructions (al dente), drain and add to the beetroot mixture, fold in and stir well to completely coat the pasta.
  7. Place the Tagliatelle into a large serving bowl or individual serving bowls and top with the pistachio and thyme pesto. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You may also add walnuts/pistachios/fresh sage on top
Adapted from Ashley Alexander
Adapted from Ashley Alexander
Pinch of Chic https://www.pinchofchic.com/

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

 

 

 

 

Evening with La Société



MUSSELS
East coast mussels, fennel, cider, fresh herbs and grilled bread

RUSTIC TERRINE
Venison, pork, mustard and grilled bread

B.C. SALMON
Lentils, apple, spinach and créme fraîche

ROASTED LAMB
Ratatouille, olive, feta, and lamb jus

And of course wine!


Many thanks goes to the staff at La Société,
Andrew, Julia and Justin for the dinner. 

Photography by yours truly


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