Grilled Prawn Vermicelli (Bún Tôm Nướng)
‘Bún’ means rice vermicelli noodles and ‘tôm nướng’ translates to grilled prawns, so this dish simply means ‘Grilled prawn vermicelli’.
I grew up on this dish and whilst my parents use to grill the prawns whole with the shells on, I’ve realised butterflying the prawns instead gives you a best of both worlds solution where the prawn flesh still gets cooked on the shells, the marinade is able to soak into the flesh easier and then you can also remove the cooked prawn from the shells a lot easier. It takes an extra few minutes to butterfly the prawns, but it’s worth it and is now the only way I cook grilled prawns.
If you don’t like prawns, feel free to swap the protein out. The best substitutes are chicken, pork and beef. Check out my Grilled Chicken Vermicelli Bowls - Bún Thịt Nướng which is very similar using chicken thigh marinated with lemongrass as the protein.
Cooking Time- 45 minutes
Skill Level- Easy
- 10 raw, shelled prawns, I’ve used Skull Island prawns but banana prawns work well for this too.
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
- A few coriander roots, finely chopped. These are the most fragrant part of coriander and I’ll use the roots in a marinade and the leafy stems for the bowl.
- 2 teaspoons of chilli oil
- Pinch of pepper
- 200g of rice vermicelli noodles
- 1 large Lebanese cucumber
- 1 few stalks of your choice of herbs: mint, Vietnamese mint, coriander, washed and finely chopped
- 1 small bunch of lettuce (I like using cos or gem lettuce), washed and finely shredded
- ¼ cup of Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nước chấm).
- 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts, optional roughly chopped or crushed
- 2-3 stalks of spring onions, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons of neutral oil- I normally use vegetable but you can also use olive oil
- Pinch of salt
Watch the process
- Make your marinade by combining all ingredients (garlic, fish sauce, sugar and sesame oil) in a bowl.
- Butterfly your prawns. To do this, cut down the length of the spine of your prawn starting from the end of the head all the way to the tail. Cut into the meat but not all the way through, stopping at the legs so they are still connected. Remove the intestinal tract and any other internal parts you don’t want to consume. Gently use your hands to open up the prawn so it lays flat like an open book. You can watch my tutorial on how to butterfly your prawns here.
- Drizzle and rub the marinade onto the flesh of the prawns and marinade for a minimum of 10 minutes whilst you prepare the rest of the components.
- Cook 200g of vermicelli noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes or until they have softened and separated. Drain into a colander and rinse under warm water to remove any excess starch. Allow to drain and dry.
- Cut 1 large Lebanese cucumber by cutting into 1/8ths lengthwise and then finely slicing. Divide into two bowls.
- Wash your herbs and lettuce and finely chop. Add to the bowls.
- To make the spring onion oil, place finely chopped spring onions into a bowl and add the oil and a generous pinch of salt. Place into a microwave for 30 seconds until the oil is fragrant and the spring onions have softened into the oil. If you don’t have a microwave, cook over your stove top until boiling and fragrant. Set aside.
- Divide the vermicelli into the bowls.
- You can grill your prawns a few different ways depending on what you have
- Oven: Preheat to the highest temp possible (250 degrees celsius) and if you have a grill/broiler setting use that. Otherwise this will still work if you just use a fan forced oven. Place the prawns on a baking tray shell side down and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until fully cooked through.
- Barbeque/Weber: Preheat to the highest temperature possible (from 250 degrees celsius). Place the prawns shell side down on the grill section and cook for 8 minutes or until fully cooked through.
- Gozney (Roccbox or Dome): Preheat to 350-400 degrees Celsius. Place the prawns on a baking tray or cast iron pan that can fit inside the Gozney. Place into the centre of the oven and cook for about 5 minutes or until fully cooked through.
The flesh should be fully opaque in colour and the shells slightly charred. Remove and allow to rest and cool down for about 5 minutes.
- Use your hands to pry the meat out from the shells. You should get two long prawn halves from each prawn.
- Add a few spoonful's of the spring onion oil and spoon over a few tablespoons of the Vietnamese Dipping Sauce. Sprinkle over the optional crushed peanuts.
- Toss together like a salad until every ingredient is coated in the oil and sauce and enjoy.
How to Butterfly Prawns:
If you want to try more of my Vietnamese Recipes, you can find some of my most popular dishes below;
- Vietnamese Stuffed Cabbage Soup (Canh Bắp Cải Gói Thịt)
- Pork & Prawn Rice Paper Roll
- Egg Bánh Mì
- Cơm Tấm (Vietnamese Broken Rice)
- Chả Cá Lã Vọng (Vietnamese Turmeric Fish with Dill and Noodles)
- Vietnamese Style Beef & Green Mango Salad
- Bún thịt nướng
- Bún Chả Giò-(Vietnamese Spring Roll Noodle Bowls)
- Thịt Kho Trứng (Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly & Eggs)
- Cháo Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Congee with a Poached Chicken Slaw)
- Bò Kho (Vietnamese Spicy Beef Stew)
- Vietnamese Crispy Pork Belly Infused with Vodka
- Lemongrass Pork Rice Paper Rolls
- Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls
- Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes)
- Vietnamese Pork and Prawn Salad with Black Sesame Cracker
- Nước chấm - Vietnamese Dipping Sauce