West Lake Rice Noodle Rolls

Noodle Rolls with Beef & Herb Filling

My hometown, Hanoi, is a city full of lakes. We have several beautiful lakes around the city, which have been turned into small pretty parks. The local residents love to hang around these places, and the price of housing there is super high. One of the most expensive areas is definitely the place surrounding the West Lake (Ho Tay). This area was developed back to the colony time (around 1920-1930) and it remains a lovely place. The West Lake is part of Hanoi history with so many rumours and stories that dated back from more than 100 years ago. But it is also famous for food. The Hanoians always praise the West Lake Prawn Fritters. And if you travel a bit further to the other side of the lake, there are plenty of cheap seafood restaurants to hang around, too.

The dish I feature today, rice noodle rolls, is also from the West Lake area. These rolls are super cheap, and with a casual flair around the place, people can all have a good time. The food itself is simple but oh so tasty. These rolls normally have stir-fry beef and herb filling, accompanied by the sweet-sour nuoc cham. If you want your sauce a bit spicy, fresh chilli slices are provided, too.

To make these at home, I have added more herbs to the original version, which features only coriander (cilantro). I have added to my pleasure some Thai basil & rice paddy herb (click here to see the photo). I love to arrange them in order, so after every bite, I can experience different herby aromas. It is truly amazing and so refreshing.

For this recipe, you need to get a package of rice noodle sheet from Asian market. If unavailable, substitute with rice paper. The texture will be different, but delicious still.

Noodle Rolls with Beef & Herb Filling

Rice Noodle Rolls with Beef & Herb Filling (Pho Cuon)

This amount serves 3 for lunch and 6 as first course
1 package of rice noodle sheet (or rice paper, as required)
300g beef fillet, thinly sliced across the grain
1 tsp finely minced lemongrass (white part only)
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 tbsp good quality fish sauce
Oil, about 1-2 tbsp
Herbs, to serve: Choose from coriander (cilantro), Thai Basil, Rice Paddy Herb etc.
Vietnamese dipping sauce (recipe follows)
Marinade the beef with lemongrass, garlic and fish sauce for 20 mins.
To prepare the noodle, cut the noodle sheet to squares of 15cmx15cm. Briefly dip each sheet in hot water. Set aside. (If using rice paper, skip this step)
Prepare dipping sauce. Wash herbs and briefly dry them using paper towel.
Stir-fry the beef mixture in hot oil until just cooked.
To roll, arrange the beef and herbs inside each rice noodle sheet. Roll up and serve with dipping sauce. (or use rice paper as your wraps as package direction).

Dipping Sauce:

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Note: the quality of fish sauce will determine the end result. Use this as a guide only. For this roll, the sauce should be slightly sweet. This amount is more than enough for the amount above, so halve the recipe if you wish.

1 cup warm water, ¼ cup fish sauce, 3-4 tbsp castor sugar, ½ lime, 2 garlic cloves – finely minced, 1 chilli paddy – sliced.

Preparation: Put water, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice together. Stir to dissolve. Taste to see if you have the right balance, and adjust ingredients accordingly. Add garlic and chilli just before serving (so your chilli and garlic will `float´ to the surface).


I am sending this entry to Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Ruth of Once Upton a Feast. She will be posting the round up on Friday. Don´t miss out!

50 Responses to West Lake Rice Noodle Rolls

  1. Maryann says:

    Beautiful. Your photos are really popping lately :)

  2. Kalyn says:

    I would love to taste this!

  3. DaviMack says:

    Awesome! We used to be able to find these (or something similar) at Thai restaurants in California, or at the one or two Vietnamese restaurants we managed to find, and they were always fabulous.

  4. holybasil says:

    There’s a place in Orange County, California called Bánh Cu

  5. Nabeela says:

    The picture with the sauce having the lime slice is gorgeous!! How did you get the lime to slice so fine?

  6. Anh says:

    Maryann, thank you.

  7. sher says:

    The colors in the photos are so vivid. I can only get rice paper sheets and they are not as pretty as the rice noodle sheets you use.

  8. KJ says:

    Hi Anh, what a great post. It brings back some great memories. I lived in Hanoi for a while, just off Truc Bach Lake. Every chance we got we would wander around to Truc Bach village for noodle rolls. They were so so good. I also loved the fried egg noodles.

  9. katiez says:

    Our local stores only have Asian foods mid-winter, for Chinese New Year. One would think with the Vietnamese influence there would be more…Maybe in Paris.

  10. ilingc says:

    Hi Anh,

  11. Sophie says:

    These are beautiful Anh! I’ve never heard of rice paddy herb before – is it similar to anything else?

  12. indosungod says:

    The photos are talking, they look so white and pure.

  13. Asha says:

    How beautiful. For me, white dishes are the hardest to photograph! Your’s are so good!:))

  14. Gloria says:

    Anh, I love your recipes and your pictures are sooooo beautiful, really I congrats you, so nice Gloria

  15. Mishmash ! says:

    the prominence of white in the first two pics, gives it a divine look. I wish you were living close by!!!

  16. Wandering Chopsticks says:

    Hehe. I just made prawn fritters last night. And I’ve got a story about when I was in Hanoi to go with banh pho cuon whenever I get around to posting it. :P

  17. tigerfish says:

    Lovely. This is almost like the Chee Cheong Fun in S’pore – just that this seems healthier with additional herbs fillings. :D

  18. winedeb says:

    They look so…heavenly!

  19. Seena says:

    Wish, I could visit your place…

  20. Katerina says:

    Beautiful picture as usual.

  21. Anh says:

    Sher, rice noodle sheets are not easy to find I suppose. But like I said, rice paper should be more than ok! :)

  22. Lydia says:

    Your photos are amazing, especially that sauce! We visited the West Lake area on an all-too-short holiday in Hanoi. It is a wonderful, surprising city, and I hope to visit again some day.

  23. Sharmi says:

    hey Anh, I know I have asked you this question a million times! but your camera is working wonders. your pics rock? Do you enhance them with some software? how do you come up with such pics? please tell me:)

  24. Kevin says:

    Great photos! I like the use of all of the herbs.

  25. Anh says:

    Lydia, I hope you have a chance to visit Hanoi again.

  26. Retno Prihadana says:

    I havent´t tried rice noodle rolls. Is that similar taste with spring rolls?

  27. Oh for the love of food! says:

    Hi Anh, I have not tried these Rice noodle rolls before, I’m sure they taste as fantastic as they look!

  28. Figs Olives Wine says:

    Anh, how stunning. The marinade sounds absolutely divine! In Vietnamese and Thai restaurants here, we can get something they call “summer rolls” that looks very similar to this – though they usually have shrimp and tofu in them. I wonder if they’re the Westernized, “dumbed-down” version of your rice noodle rolls? I shall have to find the noodles and make these – they look refreshing and utterly

  29. Kelly Mahoney says:

    What a beautiful dish and presentation. The dipping sauce looks tasty too.

  30. Tartelette says:

    Gorgeous! I use rice paper sheets for asian style rolls and I am always on the lookout for anoter great recipe…like yours! Thanks!

  31. Sig says:

    Oh wow, I have seen rice noodle sheets in the Asian stores here… I will try this, looks sooo delicious!

  32. Sandeepa says:

    I have not had the rice noodle rolls but the feeling I can imagine, how wonderful it will be.

  33. Anh says:

    Retno, this is much fresher than spring rolls. The taste and texture are very different.

  34. East Meets West Kitchen says:


  35. Sia says:

    cant take my eyes off the pic… they r just b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l…

  36. Truffle says:

    This sounds sensational Anh. I have most of the ingredients on hand so am really keen to try this.

  37. Patricia Scarpin says:

    They look so light and yet full of flavor, Anh!

  38. joey says:

    This sounds absolutely delicious! I love fresh Asian herbs…I can almost taste it…mmmm! :)

  39. Susan says:

    Beautiful shots, Anh. So pristine and serene, a perfect table to rest at after a killer day.

  40. Arfi Binsted says:

    I am so glad you post something familiar from your home-country, Anh. We use rice noodles (vermicelli rice noodles) and cellophane (glass noodles) for soup and stir-fry. Lovely taste.

  41. Susan says:

    I love the sweet and hot dipping sauce which is also great on rice. And your photos, as always, are so appealing.

  42. Anh says:

    East Meets West Kitchen, thanks.

  43. Cynthia says:

    I brought back 2 packets of spring roll wrappers just to make dishes like these. Have bookmarked your recipes.

  44. Ruth Daniels says:

    The photos are beautiful, as is the “picture” of the region you so lovingly paint with words.

  45. Belinda says:

    These look delicious, Anh! I’ve never had rice noodle rolls before, but I sure would love to try them. :-)

  46. Wendy says:

    Adored hearing about Vietnam. And this dish is so beautifully elegant! :)

  47. Cris says:

    Never had rice noodles… this sauce looks so tempting!

  48. suz says:

    Hello, I discovered your blog while looking for more info on Vietnamese cooking. I’m Korean and we don’t use half the ingredients the Vietnamese do, and I’m in love! =) Thank you for your informative blog and beautiful pictures. I plan on using your website as a resource for my attempts at cooking.

  49. suz says:

    I have a question. Does this dish keep well overnight?

  50. Anh says:

    Suz, thanks!

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