Cao Lầu (Vietnamese Noodle Bowl)


Cao lầu is made with noodles, pork, and greens and is traditionally found only in the town of Hoi An, Vietnam. This recipe approximates authentic cao lầu with easy-to-find ingredients. Use fresh rice noodles about the same thickness as linguine.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
1 hr 35 mins


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, or more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder

  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ¼ teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

  • 1 ½ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into cubes

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 pounds fresh thick Vietnamese-style rice noodles

  • 2 cups bean sprouts

  • 1 cup torn lettuce leaves

  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped

  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves

  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • ¼ cup crispy chow mein noodles, or more to taste


  1. Whisk soy sauce, garlic, five-spice powder, sugar, paprika, and bouillon granules together in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add pork; toss to evenly coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

  2. Remove pork from marinade and shake off excess. Discard remaining marinade.

  3. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Cook and stir pork in hot oil until browned, 4 to 7 minutes. Add water; cook and stir until water evaporates and pork is cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Rinse rice noodles under cold water and gently break noodles apart. Immerse noodles in boiling water until about half-tender, about 30 seconds. Add bean sprouts to water and noodles; continue cooking until noodles are tender yet firm to the bite, about 30 seconds more. Drain.

  5. Combine noodles and pork mixture together in a large serving dish. Top with lettuce, green onions, basil, cilantro, and chow mein.


Rice noodles are very easy to overcook. They should be quite firm (al dente). They can be overcooked in just a few seconds, turning soggy and pasty. It is best to use fresh Vietnamese-style rice noodles of about 1/4-inch thickness. If you have not cooked with these before, work it out on your own before planning this dish for guests. Don't serve this dish with overcooked noodles.

You can substitute rice paper croutons or broken chicharonnes for the crispy chow mein noodles.

Editor's Note:

The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the marinade ingredients. The actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

488 Calories
8g Fat
78g Carbs
24g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 488
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 373mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 78g 28%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 24g
Vitamin C 12mg 60%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 475mg 10%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love