Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio is a popular Vietnamese noodle dish that combines grilled beef, fried spring rolls, fresh herbs, noodles, and nuoc cham dipping sauce. It’s a delicious combination of flavors and textures, but many who enjoy this dish wonder just how many calories are found in each serving. In this comprehensive guide, we will analyze the calorie content of Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio to help you understand how this Vietnamese favorite fits into a balanced diet.
Calories in the Main Ingredients
To determine the calories in a serving of Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio, we need to look at the calorie content of each component that makes up this dish:
Grilled Lemongrass Beef (Bun Thit Nuong)
This is the star ingredient – thin slices of beef marinated in lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce and black pepper, then grilled. A 3 oz (85g) serving of grilled lemongrass beef contains approximately:
So a standard serving of grilled lemongrass beef contributes about 163 calories to the total calories in Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio.
Fried Spring Rolls (Cha Gio)
These crispy fried rolls are made from ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, onions and noodles wrapped in rice paper and deep fried. Two medium cha gio (about 50g total) contains approximately:
So a couple fried spring rolls add about 144 calories to the total.
Rice Vermicelli Noodles
Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio is served with a bed of thin rice noodles called bun. A 2 oz (56g) portion of rice vermicelli contains:
The rice noodles are one of the main sources of carbohydrates and calories in this dish.
Fresh Herbs and Vegetables
Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio is loaded up with fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, mint and lettuce. A 1 cup serving of mixed fresh herbs and veggies provides about:
So the vegetables add nutrients and flavor while contributing minimal calories.
Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
No bowl of Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio would be complete without the quintessential nuoc cham sauce made with fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chili peppers. A 2 tablespoon (30ml) portion of nuoc cham contains:
The sauce adds a nice kick of extra flavor for just 60 calories per serving.
Total Calories in Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio
Now let’s add up the calorie totals for each component in a typical serving of this Vietnamese noodle dish:
|Grilled Lemongrass Beef (3oz):||163 calories|
|Fried Spring Rolls (50g):||144 calories|
|Rice Vermicelli Noodles (2oz):||200 calories|
|Fresh Herbs/Veggies (1 cup):||20 calories|
|Nuoc Cham Sauce (2 Tbsp):||60 calories|
So on average, a serving of Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio contains about 587 calories. This calorie count will vary slightly depending on the exact ingredients and portion sizes used. But in general, you can expect a bowl of this Vietnamese noodle dish to contain 500-600 calories.
While Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio is reasonably high in calories, it does provide ample nutrition along with great flavor. Some of the nutritional benefits found in this dish include:
The grilled beef and cha gio spring rolls provide around 26g of protein per serving. This makes the dish satisfying and helps with muscle repair and maintenance.
The rice vermicelli noodles offer a nutritious source of energy from complex carbs. They have a low glycemic index, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar.
Though moderate in total fat, this dish provides healthy fats from ingredients like beef and pork. These fats help with nutrient absorption.
Vitamins & Minerals
The fresh vegetables contribute vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and calcium. The herbs also have antioxidant properties.
The fish sauce and pickled vegetables provide probiotics for improved digestion and immunity.
So while reasonably high in calories, Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio is also packed with nutrition. It can be part of a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation.
Ways to Reduce the Calories
If you are looking for ways to lighten up this dish, there are a few tweaks you can make:
- Use leaner cuts of beef and pork to reduce fat and calories
- Load up on extra veggies like bean sprouts, cucumbers and shredded cabbage
- Go easy on the portion of noodles or switch to a lower-carb noodle like shirataki noodles
- Use just 1 tbsp of nuoc cham sauce to save calories
- Steam or pan-fry the spring rolls instead of deep-frying to cut oil
- Flavor with extra herbs and spices instead of salt, oil or sugary sauces
Making some simple substitutions like these can reduce the calories in a serving of Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio by 100 calories or more.
Lower Calorie Alternatives
If you are looking for Vietnamese noodle dishes with fewer calories, some lower calorie options include:
Bun Thit Nuong (Lemongrass Beef Vermicelli)
Ditch the fried spring rolls and enjoy just the grilled beef with noodles and veggies. Saves about 150 calories.
Bun Cha Gio (Crispy Spring Roll Vermicelli)
Skip the beef and enjoy just the spring rolls, noodles, herbs and nuoc cham. Saves about 150 calories.
Bun Thang (Chicken Noodle Soup)
With broth, chicken, eggs and veggies instead of fried rolls, this soup is under 400 calories.
Bun Bo Nam Bo (Spicy Beef & Noodle Salad)
This lighter noodle bowl with thinly sliced beef, herbs and vegetables is around 300 calories.
So with some simple substitutions, you can still enjoy the flavors of Vietnamese cuisine in a lighter, lower calorie dish. Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio is a delicious option that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet when portion sizes are controlled.
Nutrition Facts Table
For easy reference, here are the nutrition facts for a 587 calorie serving of Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio:
|Nutrition Facts||Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio
(587 calories per serving)
The Bottom Line
Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio is a Vietnamese noodle bowl loaded with mouthwatering flavors and textures from grilled lemongrass beef, crispy spring rolls, fresh herbs, noodles and nuoc cham sauce. A typical serving of this delightful dish contains around 587 calories, with the majority coming from the rice noodles, protein and fried spring rolls.
While reasonably high in calories, Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio also provides ample nutrition and satisfaction. With simple tweaks like using leaner meats or skipping the deep-fried rolls, you can reduce the calorie count and make this Vietnamese favorite a healthy addition to your diet when enjoyed in moderation. So savor those tasty flavors, but be mindful of your portion sizes!