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Bún Chay (Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Lemongrass Tofu)


A refreshing and flavorful Vietnamese noodle salad featuring grilled lemongrass-marinated tofu, fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables, and a tangy dipping sauce.

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4


For the tofu:

  • 1 block (400g/14oz) extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground turmeric
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

For the salad:

  • 8 ounces (225g) dried rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, julienned or grated
  • 1/2 cup (45g) shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • 1/2 cup (50g) bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup (10g) chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup (10g) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh basil

For the dipping sauce (nước chấm chay):

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) chili flakes (optional)


  1. Marinate the tofu: In a bowl, combine the tofu cubes with lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes, or ideally for several hours.
  2. Cook the noodles: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent sticking.
  3. Grill or pan-fry the tofu: Thread marinated tofu cubes onto skewers or cook in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat until golden brown on all sides.
  4. Prepare the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together all the dipping sauce ingredients.
  5. Assemble the salad: Divide noodles among four bowls. Top with cucumber, carrots, lettuce, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro, and basil. Arrange grilled tofu on top.
  6. Serve: Serve immediately with the dipping sauce on the side.

Suggested Drinks

Bia Hà Nội (Hanoi Beer): A light and refreshing Vietnamese beer that pairs well with the bold flavors of the noodle salad.

Sauvignon Blanc: The crisp acidity and citrus notes of Sauvignon Blanc complement the fresh herbs and tangy dipping sauce.

Non-Alcoholic Option

Trà Đá (Vietnamese Iced Tea): A strong and sweet black tea served over ice, perfect for cooling down after the spicy kick of chili flakes.