Vietnamese Mix & Match Noodles


November 6, 2012

Author: KatieChin

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The inaugural What Chefs Eat event to celebrate Charles Phan’s new cookbook Vietnamese Home Cooking was a huge success.  The event took place at the stunning Sub Zero showroom in Burlingame, California.  I was so honored to moderate the live interview with Charles.  We all learned that Charles favorite go to meal after a long day is fried rice and that he loves bourbon.  In fact, he is opening up a fried chicken and bourbon joint in the near future.  He is absolutely charming and humble.  I felt like we had so many things in common from having mothers that began their careers as seamstresses to assimilating in America while striving to pay homage to our Asian heritage especially in the kitchen.   After the interview we were all treated to Charles’ amazing food and signature cocktails from his famed restaurant, The Slanted Door.


Here’s a recipe adapted from Vietnamese Home Cooking which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s Vietnamese home cooking at its finest — you can toss in whatever meat or seafood you like (a great way to make another meal out of the shrimp you grilled the night before) and same goes for the veggies. I used chicken breast and celery for this recipe. Like many Vietnamese dishes, it is super easy and cooks quickly. Just remember not to soak the rice noodles too long or they’ll become rubbery. I like to serve this mix and match noodle dish with some lime slices and Sriricha on the side.


16 ounces rice vermicelli or dried thin flat rice noodles (about 1/8 -inch)

2 teaspoons + 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

8 ounces chicken breast, bavette or flank steak, or boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3- by 1/2 – by 1/4-inch slices

3 teaspoons fish sauce

3 teaspoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. If using vermicelli, add them to the pot and boil until just cooked but still firm, about 3 minutes. If using dried flat rice noodles, add them to the pot and boil until just cooked but still firm, 5-6 minutes. Do not overcook, because the noodles will finish cooking in the pan. If you have fresh-dried rice noodles, simply soak them in warm water until slightly softened.
  • Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water if you’ve boiled them, and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with 1 teaspoon of canola oil.
  • Combine the meat, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil in a bowl. Mix well; let stand 10 minutes. You can also toss the meat with just the oil, salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Heat a wok over high heat; the metal will have a matte appearance and a drop or two of water flicked onto its surface should evaporate on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil; when hot, add the meat mixture; stir-fry until just cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate, rinse the wok, wipe clean and return it to high heat.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the wok. Add the beaten eggs, smearing them all over the bottom of the wok to coat it; this helps prevent the noodles from sticking. When the egg is no longer wet, but has not yet begun to brown, add the noodles, bean sprouts, celery, any other desired vegetable and remaining fish and soy sauces. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, lifting and tossing the ingredients so they are well incorporated.
  • Add the meat and continue stir-frying, tossing with the noodles, until all ingredients are well combined. Transfer to a warm platter and serve.