Based on our recent experimental observations, a growth mechanism for the reactive diffusion between Si single crystal and NbC powder compact is proposed. In Si-NbC diffusion couples annealed at 1300 degrees C, a two-phase NbSi2 + SiC reaction layer formed with NbSi2 as the matrix and SiC as discontinuous particles. The NbSi2 grain sizes and SiC particle sizes are both in the mu m range. We propose that the SiC particles nucleated at the void surfaces in the NbC powder compact. This proposed nucleation mechanism offers a potential way of controlling the SiC particle size by changing the void size and void density of the NbC powder compact. It is also pointed out that this microstructure requires Si to be the dominant diffusing species. Si must diffuse through the reaction layer, while C only has to undergo local rearrangement, and Nb need not diffuse at all.