Beef Meatballs (Vietnamese)

Vietnamese food easily wins my heart because of its pungent flavors and healthy ingredients. When I am around Vietnamese food I turn into Ms Pac-Man, munching on anything that’s in front of me. Nothing satisfies me more than a big bowl of pho and some crispy spring rolls wrapped in mint and lettuce when I crave a cheap and tasty lunch. I also love a spicy banh mi or a colorful bowl of bun dressed in plenty of nuoc cham. I still haven’t been to Vietnam but if I did, I know I would spend most of my time hitting every street food stall in search of new flavor combinations, sipping on carbonated lime drinks while taking in the sights and smells. I don’t know how authentic these Beef Meatballs are but I can promise you they will blow your tastebuds away in the flavor department. WOW.


When I think of South East Asian food I think of punchy, stinky, in your face flavors. These Beef Meatballs may not have the stinky factor but they are very South East Asian nonetheless! They are so tasty you could technically do without the dipping sauce. Blending the ingredients (including the beef) in a blender also changes the texture, making these Beef Meatballs very different than say, Italian meatballs.


The texture is smooth, compact and packed with unbelievable flavors: Thai chilies, ginger, garlic, cilantro and fish sauce are mixed with ground beef to form perfect little round balls that will then be dressed or dipped into a sweet and spicy hoisin sauce.

Serve them on a bed of rice so the sauce can soak through each grain, and garnish with sliced tomatoes, pickled cucumbers and more fresh cilantro. Relish every bite of this amazing meal because I can promise you will want to have more as soon as you finish chewing on the last bite.

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Serve this recipe with a side of Japanese rice. Watch our video on How To Make Japanese Rice the stove top or rice cooker method!



Beef Meatballs (Vietnamese)

Savory Vietnamese Beef Meatballs with a Sweet and Spicy Hoisin Dipping sauce.

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Beef, Vietnamese


  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 Thai chili (finely chopped (optional))

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 Thai chili (finely chopped (optional)



  1. Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a food processor and blend until everything is mixed and minced. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Put a little oil in your hands, just enough to lightly coat fingers and palms and use a tablespoon to scoop up the beef mixture so the meatballs are the same size. Repeat process until all the beef mixture is used.
  3. In a deep pan over medium high heat, add oil and the meatballs. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the meatballs over, cover and cook for another 5 or until meatballs are golden brown.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a bowl and serve together with beef meatballs. Pour over or use as a dipping sauce.
  5. Serve with rice, tomatoes and a few cilantro leaves.
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