• Vietnamese Pork Thit Kho


Caramelized Vietnamese Pork

By Andrew Zimmern

Last weekend I made my own version of Thit Kho, Vietnamese caramelized pork. Although I made this dish with pork shoulder, you can adapt it and use almost any meat, seafood, or poultry. Not lying when I say there weren’t any leftovers… I absolutely love this dish.

Vietnamese Pork Thit Kho


The sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup red boat fish sauce
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise buds

Stir Fry

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 pound cooked pork shoulder or pork belly, sliced
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  • Limes, for garnish


The sauce

Place sugar in a small pot on medium heat and cook to a medium amber brown. Add fish sauce, shallots, black pepper, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Whisk and simmer for several minutes.

Continue simmering until any solids are dissolved. The sauce should be glazy/syrupy when cooled in a spoon. When you reach that point turn off the heat.

When cool, place in a plastic container and refrigerate. This is enough thit kho for 2 or 3 stir fry dishes.

The stir fry

Place oil in a very hot pan or wok and add the sliced onions. Saute for a few minutes.

Add the cooked, cooled and sliced pork shoulder or pork belly. You can use almost any meat, seafood, or poultry. For shrimp or chicken, I go into the wok with raw product.

When you get some sear on the meat, add scallions and serrano chile.

Add about a 1/3 cup of your fish sauce caramel and stir/toss until the sauce is reduced to a glaze around the meat. This usually takes 3-4 minutes, faster in a hot wok.

Serve with plenty of rice, fresh cilantro and mint, and limes.

Like this recipe? You may also enjoy:

Recipe Finder

Related Recipes


Main Ingredients

Back to Recipes Page