"I grew up eating and cooking this dish. Soft silky vermicelli noodles combined with fresh mint, herbs and crunchy peanuts topped with lemongrass beef makes for a light, tasty and extremely textural meal. This is a classic southern Vietnamese street food." – Chef Luke Nguyen



500 g beef sirloin or rump steak
3 lemongrass stems, white part only, finely chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
2 small onion, sliced
2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of fine white pepper
vermicelli salad or jasmine rice, to serve
1 tbsp fried red Asian shallots
2 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
2 tbsp dipping fish sauce (‘nuoc cham’)
1 handful cooked vermicelli noodles
1 handful perilla leaves
1 handful mint leaves
1 cucumber
1 handful bean sprouts


Slice the beef into 2 mm strips and combine in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the chopped lemongrass, all the fish sauce and half the garlic. Allow the meat to marinate for 10 minutes.

Add half the oil to a wok over medium heat and fry half of the onion, half of the remaining lemongrass and half of the remaining garlic for 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant. Increase the heat to very high and add half the beef and its marinade to the wok. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then remove the beef from the wok.

Repeat the previous process with the remaining beef, onion, lemon grass and garlic. Return the first batch of beef to the wok, season with the sugar, salt and pepper, and continue to stir-fry to heat through. Serve on top of vermicelli salad.

To finish, top with the essential fried shallots, peanuts and dipping fish sauce.

Phuong Nguyen