Banh Uot (Vietnamese Rice Noodle Sheets) is delicious and packed with vegetables! Steamed rice sheets are topped with cha lua (Vietnamese sausage), bi heo (shreded pork skin), bean sprouts, cucumbers, lettuce, mint, dried shrimp, fried shallots, and homemade nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce. It's a great DIY meal, everyone can assemble their own plate ^_^
Banh Uot (Vietnamese Rice Noodle Sheets) is one of those dishes that look complicated but is actually pretty easy to prepare.
We actually eat this for dinner pretty often because it is considered an "easy" meal. There is not actual cooking involved. You just assemble, drizzle on the sauce, and eat! And the nice part is that each person assembles their own plate and can tailors the amount of each ingredient to their liking.
Banh uot makes a great party dish because it's easy for the host, fun and interactive for the guests. And everyone is impressed by how tasty it is!
The "hardest" part of the recipe is getting the fresh steamed rice noodles / sheets and the meat component. The meat can be done super far in advance (we actually store the prepared meat in the freezer and take it out when we make banh uot).
The fresh steamed rice noodles / sheets can be made at home... But if you have a Chinese market nearby, you can just often buy it fresh there. We actually buy the rice noodles from a restaurant in Honolulu's Chinatown called Lam's Kitchen. Lam's is famous for noodle dishes (like beef chow fun!) and not many people know that you can also purchase plain fresh noodles by the pound from them.
Here's what you'll need:
- Fresh steamed rice noodles or rice noodle sheets - You can make the steamed rice noodles/sheets at home or purchase them from the market or a restaurant. Here in Honolulu we buy fresh steamed rice noodles from Lam's Kitchen in Chinatown. The rice noodles are sold by the pound. (Note: banh uot technically uses steamed rice sheets, but it's hard to get fresh rice sheets unless you're making it from scratch, so we use fresh rice noodles. The noodles are sheets that have been cut into strips which actually makes it easier to eat).
- Cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage) - Details on this ingredient in the section below.
- Bi heo (shredded pork skin) - Details on this ingredient also in the section below ^_^
- Bean sprouts
- Thai Basil
- Dried shrimp
- Fried shallots
- Nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce
See recipe card for quantities.
Cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage)
Cha lua is Vietnamese pork sausage. It's super tasty and seasoned with black pepper and fish sauce. If you like Vietnamese food, you've probably had cha lua in many dishes. It's one of the main meats in banh mi sandwiches!
There are many different types of cha lua and the most popular type is shaped like a roll, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed.
The one we used for today's recipe (pictured in the photo above) has a flatter shape, omits the banana leaf, and is deep fried (this version is called cha chien).
You can use either version, they are both delicious. We keep several versions in the freezer, they're great for last minute meals. Just defrost, slice, and eat.
We buy this from Vietnamese (and sometimes Chinese) markets in Honolulu's Chinatown. There are several local vendors that sell homemade versions and you can often find the bigger commercial brands in the freezer section.
Bi Heo (shredded pork skin)
Bi heo is shredded pork skin. But it is not just shredded pork skin. It's a mixture of thinly sliced pork skin, thinly sliced marinated pork, garlic, and roasted rice powder. It is soooo good!
For snacks, we sometimes eat a bowl of rice topped with bi heo and scoop of homemade nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce.
Because it is labor intensive, when we make bi heo, we make a very big batch. Then we divide it into individual zip top bags and store in the freezer. That way we always have bi heo ready to go when needed.
Let's get cooking!
Prepare each of the individual ingredients as listed above. Lay them out on individual plates/bowl. Place it all on a table and give each diner a plate.
Now we assemble the meal!
Start by placing a layer of the shredded lettuce, cucumbers, and bean sprouts on the plate. Use as much or as little as you want.
When craving a light meal we use more greens and less of the rice noodles / sheets. And vice versa when we are very hungry! The veggie layer is the "base" of the dish.
Next add a layer of the rice noodles / sheets. We use about ½ pound of rice noodle / sheets per person.
Now add the meats. This includes the cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage) and bi heo (shredded pork skin). I like to layer on slices of the cha lua first....
...and then sprinkle plenty of bi heo on top. Use as much or as little as you want.
Sprinkle the dried shrimp and fried shallots on top. The plate is assembled!
Serve each finished plate with a small side bowl of the nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce.
Let each diner spoon the nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce over the plate. Use chopsticks and gently mix everything together. Some people like more sauce, others like less. Let everyone add as much as they'd like.
Then you can eat and enjoy!
You can prepare many of the individual ingredients ahead of time, but don't assemble the dish (and definitely don't spoon on the nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce) until right before you are ready to eat it.
This is because there are many different textures going on and the dish will be soggy (especially the fried shallots) if you prepare it ahead of time.
Don't feel restricted when it comes to assembling your plate! Everyone likes it's differently. I love this dish with lots of fresh rice noodles / sheets. Mom and dad prefer it with more lettuce and tons of fresh mint. There is no right or wrong way about it. It's all about personal preference. And I always put lots of homemade nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce 🙂
We cook a lot of Vietnamese food at home and a few of our other favorites include Vietnamese Salad (for which you'll need Vietnamese Pickled Onions (Hanh Dam) and Nuoc Cham / Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce).
Vietnamese Ginger Chicken is an easy and tasty weeknight dinner.
Cha Trung (Vietnamese Egg Meatloaf) is a classic and super crowd pleaser!
Thit Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork and Egg) is hearty and warming. Don't forget to cook rice.
And to make it a complete meal, may we suggest Vietnamese Mung Bean Dessert (Che Dau Xanh) for dessert ^_^
Banh Uot is the plain steamed rice sheets - they are not filled.
Banh Cuon is the filled version. The steamed rice sheets are filled with a pork, onion, and mushroom mixture and loosely folded into rolls.
Note: Banh Uot refers to both the plain steamed rice sheets and the prepared dish/recipe in this post.
Banh Uot Recipe
Banh Uot (Vietnamese Rice Noodle Sheets)
- 2 pounds fresh steamed rice noodles or rice noodle sheets Make steamed rice noodles/sheets at home or purchase them from the market. In Honolulu we buy fresh steamed rice noodles from Lam's Kitchen.
- 1 roll cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage), sliced
- 1 cup bi heo (shredded pork skin)
- ½ pound bean sprouts
- 1 large cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
- 1 head lettuce, shredded
- 1 bunch Thai basil
- 1 bunch mint, torn
- ¼ cup dried shrimp
- ¼ cup fried shallots
- ½ cup nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce
- Prepare each of the individual ingredients as listed above. Lay them out on individual plates/bowl. Place it all on a table and give each diner a plate.
- Now we assemble the meal!
- Start by placing a layer of the shredded lettuce, cucumbers, and bean sprouts on the plate. Use as much or as little as you want. When we crave a light meal we use more greens and less of the rice noodles/sheets. And vice versa when we are very hungry! This is the "base" of the dish.
- Next add a layer of the rice noodles/sheets. We use about ½ pound of rice noodle/sheets per person.
- Now add the meats. This includes the cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage) and bi heo (shredded pork skin). Use as much or as little as you want.
- Sprinkle the dried shrimp and fried shallots on top. The plate is assembled!
- Serve each finished plate with a small side bowl of the nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce.
- Let each diner spoon the nuoc cham / nuoc mam sauce over the plate. Use chopsticks to gently mix. Some people like more sauce, others like less. Let everyone add as much as they'd like.
- Then you can eat and enjoy!
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