"When I traveled in Vietnam years ago, one of my favorite dishes to eat bún thjt nuóng, rice noodles with grilled meat. They were usually served at these curbside “restaurants” with short tables set up on the sidewalk adorned with small mismatched plastic chairs. The menus weren’t extensive, but what they actually served was done very well. What you got was a plate full of rice noodles with pickled vegetables and fresh herbs topped with meat fresh off the grill. My goodness, that stuff is good."
Recipe courtesy of Healthy Nibble and Bits and House Foods
For richer tasting chicken, you can use full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. You can also substitute fish sauce with tamari or soy sauce.
Chop off the bottom end of the lemongrass stalk. Peel off a few of the outer leaves (about 2 or 3) to reveal the fleshier part of the lemongrass. Chop off the green, woodier part of the lemongrass. Using a microplane zester/grater, grate lemongrass, starting from the bottom of the stalk.
Blend lemongrass, coconut milk, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, and ginger. An immersion blender works well for this. Set aside.
Slice chicken breasts into smaller chunks. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken chunks with a bit of kosher salt. Place chunks in a sealable plastic bag and pour marinade inside. Shake bag so that the marinade covers all chicken pieces. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
While chicken is marinating, prep noodles. Fill a small pot or saucepan with water, about several inches, and bring to boil. Cook noodles for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain water and run under cold water. Pour noodles into a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of fish sauce, juice of 1 lime, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and a pinch of salt. Stir ingredients together and adjust seasonings to your taste.
To cook chicken, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on a sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat. Shake excess marinade off chicken chunks before placing in the pan. Cook each side for about 4 minutes, until they’re cooked through. Dish onto a plate and let chicken rest for a few minutes before cutting them up. Shred or slice the chicken into 1/2-inch strips.
Toss noodles, sliced carrots, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, and chicken together. Serve noodle salad with chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and red pepper flakes, if you like.