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Caramel pork

Excerpted  from Secrets  from  My  Vietnamese  Kitchen: Simple  Recipes  from  My  Many  Mothersby Kim  Thuy.  Copyright  © 2017  Editions  Libre  Expression. Translated  from  the  French  by  Sheila Fischman.  Recipes  translated  by  Marie  Asselin. Appetite  by  Random  House  edition  published  in 2019. Food Photography by Sarah Scott. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.



  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 115 grams pork belly (rind on), cut into 6 millimeter thick slices
  • 455 grams pork loin, cut into strips
  • 1 bird’s eye chili, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • Fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Combine the sugar and one tablespoon of the water in a stockpot. Set over medium heat and boil until the sugar turns into a deep amber caramel.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high, then add the garlic, onions, and pork belly. Cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes.
  3. Add the pork loin strips and bird’s eye chili, then generously season with black pepper. Stir well to coat all the ingredients with caramel.
  4. Add the remaining water and the fish sauce, and keep cooking, stirring frequently, until the sauce has a slightly syrupy texture.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with the green onions and cilantro.


The best sidekicks to this dish are a few slices of cucumber or pieces of blanched cabbage.

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