Vietnamese Caramelized Pork

Slofoodgroup Team October 13, 2021

What Is Thit KhoTau And How Is It Made

Vietnamese Caramelized pork, or Thit kho tau, is a classic Vietnamese comfort food. This popular dish consists of bite-sized pork belly cuts, simmered until they reaches a deep caramel color. Fresh coconut water and fish sauce are added for richness and a deep umami flavor. Eggs can be also be added to the dish. In Vietnam and beyond, it is usually served in the Lunar New Year. It is served with white rice, although the braised pork can also be used in bahn mi sandwiches or served with steamed sticky rice.

The Best Thit KhoTau Recipe

Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: 10‘

Cooking Time: 1h 45’

Additional Time: 0’ 


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 pound pork belly, cubed
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste


  1. Place sugar and water in a pan over medium heat.
  2. When the sugar has caramelized, add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
  3. Cook on medium heat, uncovered for 1h 30’; stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan until the liquid evaporates;
  4. Once the liquid has evaporated and the fat has split, continue cooking the meat for 10-15 minutes or until caramelized.
  5. Serve over cooked rice with a side of pickled vegetables, garnished with fresh chilies and shallots or spring onions.



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