Cheap Meals

Bún chả

4 servings


1 hour 45 minutes

total time


1 lb. ground pork ($4.49)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped ($0.24)

1/4 cup chopped shallot ($0.68)

4 Tbsp minced lemongrass ($0.60)

2 Tbsp honey ($0.24)

1 Tbsp fish sauce ($0.23)

1 tsp salt ($0.05)

1/4 tsp pepper ($0.02)

2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)

1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes) ($1.20)

3/4 cup water ($0.00)

3 Tbsp fish sauce ($0.68)

1 Thai red chili pepper ($0.10)

1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)

2 Tbsp sugar ($0.02)

1 carrot, thinly sliced ($0.16)

8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles ($2.99)

1 head butter lettuce ($1.59)

1 handful fresh mint ($2.19)

1 carrot, sliced ($0.16)

1/2 cucumber, sliced ($0.50)


For the Meatballs:

Chop the garlic and shallots, and mince the lemongrass.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pork, fish sauce, salt, pepper, honey, lemongrass, shallots, and garlic. Set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge.

Shape the mixture into small meatballs (about 20 meatballs), and then gently flatten them a bit.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and add the meatballs in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

For the Sauce:

Whisk the sauce ingredients together and adjust to your tastes. Optional: heat the water and whisk the sugar in to dissolve before adding the rest of the ingredients.

For the Bowls:

Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (usually cook 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water).

Serve the noodles with the meatballs along with a handful of lettuce, mint, carrots, and cucumbers with the nuoc cham on the side.


Serving Size

1 bowl


531 kcal

Total Fat

31 g

Saturated Fat


Unsaturated Fat


Trans Fat





2098 mg

Total Carbohydrate

40 g

Dietary Fiber

3 g

Total Sugars



22 g

4 servings


1 hour 45 minutes

total time
Start Cooking