Vietnamese cuisine is a tapestry of flavors and techniques, with pork belly featuring prominently in its culinary narrative.
Celebrated for its versatility, pork belly is transformed through various cooking methods, each bringing out a unique aspect of its flavor and texture.
Here, we will take you through some of the most delightful Vietnamese pork belly recipes, each a testament to the country’s rich and diverse food culture.
Forks at the ready!
Braised And Grilled Pork Belly Dishes
Braising is a technique cherished in Vietnamese cooking, known for infusing pork belly with deep, complex flavors.
Grilling, however, imparts a smoky flavor and crispy texture to pork belly, making it a favorite in Vietnamese street food and family gatherings.
The dishes below are slowly braised or grilled for maximum taste.
Thit Kho Tau, a heartwarming dish, is often found at the center of Vietnamese family meals.
The pork belly is cut into substantial chunks, ensuring each piece has a harmonious mix of fat and meat.
These pieces are then caramelized with sugar, creating a rich, amber-hued glaze.
The addition of fish sauce introduces a quintessential Vietnamese savory depth, while coconut juice adds a subtle sweetness and tenderizes the pork.
Hard-boiled eggs, steeped in the same cooking liquid, absorb the flavors, becoming a perfect complement to the meat.
The dish is traditionally served during Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, symbolizing prosperity and familial warmth.
It’s usually accompanied by steamed rice, which soaks up the flavorful sauce, and pickled vegetables that add a refreshing contrast.
A street food favorite, this dish brings together the smoky essence of grilled pork belly and the aromatic punch of lemongrass.
The pork belly slices are marinated in a blend of minced lemongrass, garlic, and fish sauce, infusing them with a fragrant, savory flavor.
Grilled over an open flame, the pork develops a charred, crispy exterior while remaining juicy inside.
This dish is often served with rice noodles and a medley of fresh herbs, creating a harmonious balance of textures and flavors.
The smoky pork, combined with the refreshing herbs and the soft noodles, makes for a delightful eating experience emblematic of Vietnamese street cuisine.
This dish is a celebration of the essential flavors and textures in Vietnamese cooking, focusing on the pork belly’s natural qualities.
Beginning with pork belly strips, the recipe involves browning them in a wok to enhance their rich flavor.
The addition of brown sugar creates a delightful caramelization, imparting a sweet glaze that contrasts beautifully with the savory depth of soy and fish sauces.
Dried chili peppers and star anise add layers of spicy warmth and aromatic complexity.
The inclusion of red bell pepper contributes a crunchy sweetness, balancing the tender pork, while ginger and lemongrass infuse the dish with a refreshing zest.
As the pork braises in this rich concoction, it absorbs the intricate blend of sweet, savory, and spicy elements, resulting in a lusciously coated, tender pork belly.
This dish exemplifies the harmony of simple ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine, yielding a comforting yet indulgent culinary experience.
Thịt Heo Quay is a quintessential Vietnamese dish known for its perfectly crispy skin and tender meat. The recipe begins with a piece of skin-on pork belly, which is first blanched to ensure tenderness.
After cooling, the pork belly is meticulously prepared: the skin is pierced with a fork to help it crisp up, and the flesh is scored and then seasoned.
The blend of spices and aromatics infuses the meat with a depth of flavor that is both rich and subtly complex.
The pork belly is then roasted at a low temperature to cook it evenly and retain its moisture. After an hour, the temperature is increased, allowing the skin to become irresistibly crispy and golden.
The final dish, with its crackling skin and succulent meat, is a celebration of textures and flavors.
Served with Bánh Hỏi (thin rice vermicelli), Nước Chấm (dipping sauce), fresh lettuces, cucumbers, and a variety of Vietnamese herbs, Thịt Heo Quay offers a delightful eating experience.
Stir-fried Vietnamese Pork Belly Dishes
Stir-frying is a quick and versatile method in Vietnamese cooking, ideal for highlighting the pork belly’s flavor and texture.
This section explores dishes that combine pork belly with vibrant ingredients in a fast-paced cooking style.
This is a vibrant dish that pairs the richness of pork belly with the zesty flavors of lemongrass and chili.
Thinly sliced pork belly is quickly stir-fried with minced lemongrass and chili, creating a dish that is both spicy and fragrant.
This dish exemplifies the balance of flavors – the fatty richness of the pork is cut through by the sharpness of the chili and the citrusy notes of lemongrass.
Served with steamed rice, it makes for a satisfying meal that is both hearty and flavorful.
The quick stir-frying technique ensures that the pork belly remains tender while taking on the robust flavors of the aromatics, making it a popular choice for a quick and delicious meal.
Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Belly and Pineapple – or Thit Kho Thom – is a dish where the richness of pork belly meets the sweet tang of pineapple, creating a delightful contrast in flavors.
The recipe starts with pork belly cut into small chunks, ensuring each piece has a balance of skin, fat, and meat.
These chunks are marinated with a mixture of minced shallots, garlic, and the whites of green onions, along with fish sauce, ground black pepper, thick soy sauce or homemade caramel cooking sauce, and sugar.
This marinade infuses the pork with a depth of flavor, setting the stage for a beautifully layered dish.
The marinated pork is then slowly braised in a clay pot or skillet, with the addition of pineapple juice from the canned pineapple chunks.
This braising process allows the pork to become tender and absorb the sweet and savory flavors of the marinade, complemented by the fruity notes of the pineapple juice.
After a significant simmering period, the pineapple chunks are added, and the dish is cooked uncovered to reduce the liquid into a rich, glossy glaze.
The final touch of green onion garnish adds a fresh, crisp contrast.
Typically served with steamed rice, this dish is a perfect representation of the balance and harmony in Vietnamese cuisine, where opposing flavors come together to create a harmonious and satisfying meal.
Stewed Pork Belly Dishes
Stewing allows for the flavors to penetrate the pork belly deeply, resulting in tender, succulent dishes.
This section presents recipes where pork belly is cooked slowly, absorbing the essence of the stew’s ingredients.
Canh Bí Sườn is a light yet flavorful soup. This particular recipe features pork spare ribs, but we enjoy it with pork belly instead.
The combination of pork and winter melon offers a balance of richness and refreshment.
The pork belly is stewed until it becomes tender, infusing the broth with its savory flavor.
Winter melon, known for its mild taste and cooling properties, complements the rich pork, adding a subtle sweetness and soft texture to the soup.
Often seasoned with a hint of fish sauce and fresh herbs, this soup is a popular choice for a light lunch or as a starter.
Bun Moc is a comforting and aromatic noodle soup featuring tender slices of pork belly or pork ribs, earthy mushrooms, and delicate rice noodles.
The broth, light yet rich in flavor, is the foundation of the dish, typically made by simmering pork bones with aromatics like shallots and ginger.
The pork belly adds a luscious richness to the soup, while the mushrooms provide an earthy depth.
Served with rice noodles, which absorb the flavors of the broth, Bun Moc is both satisfying and comforting.
Garnished with fresh herbs like cilantro and green onions, the soup is a perfect blend of textures and flavors.
This dish is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, often enjoyed as a hearty breakfast or a warming dinner.
Innovative Vietnamese Pork Belly Dishes
Vietnamese cuisine, while deeply rooted in tradition, is also dynamic and open to innovation.
This section introduces contemporary or less traditional pork belly dishes that reflect modern culinary trends while maintaining the essence of Vietnamese flavors.
This dish is a modern twist on the classic Vietnamese sandwich, incorporating crispy pork belly as the star ingredient.
This recipe takes the iconic Bánh Mì to a new level, featuring a crusty baguette filled with succulent slices of crispy-skinned pork belly.
The pork belly is seasoned and roasted until the skin crackles and the meat remains tender and flavorful.
This rich filling is contrasted with pickled carrots and daikon, fresh cucumber, and cilantro – you can also add spicy jalapeños for heat.
A spread of pate, chili sauce, and hoisin sauce adds savory depth.
This fusion of flavors and textures makes Bánh Mì a beloved choice among those seeking a modern Vietnamese culinary experience.
Vietnamese cuisine showcases pork belly in diverse and flavorful ways.
From braised and caramelized to grilled and stir-fried, each recipe offers a glimpse into the country’s rich culinary traditions.
These dishes not only satisfy the palate but also provide insight into Vietnam’s cultural and regional diversity.
Is beef more your bag? Not a problem, take a look at these Vietnamese ground beef recipes.
The 9 Best Vietnamese Pork Belly RecipesCourse: Other Recipes
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