Rice noodles in pork broth with chicken, prawns and omelette

Rice noodles in pork broth with chicken, prawns and omelette

Bún thang

Real Vietnamese Cooking
Michael Fountoulakis

Thang is a loan word from the Chinese, meaning 'broth', pointing to the Chinese culinary influence on this northern noodle soup. This is considered a very sophisticated, subtle dish, often prepared on special occesions such as lunar new year (Tet), weddings and anniversaries. Traditionally, the qualities of a good bun thang have been likened to characteristics attributed to Vietnamese women: beauty, modesty and intelligence.

Gio Ion is a pork loaf with fish sauce that is steamed in banana leaf. You can make it yourself, or buy commercially produced cha lue from most Asian grocers. Alternatively, you can use good-quality ham instead.


Quantity Ingredient
3kg pork bones
1 teaspoon salt
6 red asian shallots
6 dried shrimp
2 teaspoons sugar
20ml fish sauce
1 chicken breast, still on the bone
4 eggs
vegetable oil, for pan-frying
600ml dried rice vermicelli
12 cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
200g Pork loaf, sliced
4 spring onions, sliced
coriander, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Fried shallots
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges


  1. To prepare the broth, wash the bones under cold water, then place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the salt and slowly bring to simmering point, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface.
  2. Meanwhile, chargrill the whole unpeeled shallots on a barbecue or gas burner over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until they are fragrant and the skin is lightly charred. Remove and cool slightly. Using your fingers, flake off the outer thin layer of skin.
  3. Add the chargrilled shallots to the broth along with the dried shrimp, sugar and fish sauce. Simmer for 2 hours, skimming regularly to ensure you have a clear broth.
  4. Add the chicken breast to the broth and simmer for a further 20 minutes. Remove the chicken, then stain the broth and discard the solids. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and thinly slice.
  5. Pour the broth into a clean saucepan and return to a simmer. Bring a separate saucepan of water to the boil.
  6. Meanwhile, break two eggs into a small bowl and whisk. Pour into a hot lightly oiled frying pan and gently stir for 5 seconds. Ensure the base of the pan is covered in the egg, and allow to cook until set. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining eggs. When the omelettes have cooled, cut them into strips about 5 mm wide.
  7. Soak the vermicelli in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Gently stir to separate the noodles, then drain and refresh under cold water. Use kitchen scissors to cut the vermicelli into easy-to-manage lengths. Divide among six bowls.
  8. Top the noodles with the shredded egg, prawns, pork, spring onion and coriander. Ladle the hot broth over and sprinkle wlth the fried shallots. Serve straight away, with the lime wedges.
Real Vietnamese Cooking
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