This dish is like a warm hug. Just imagine tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly braised low and slow in a sweet and savory sauce made with caramelized sugar and coconut water. I love this Caramelized Pork Belly dish, or Thịt Kho Trứng for special occasions or an everyday dinner.
This dish is especially popular during Tết, or the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. No table is complete without a plate of tender pork belly. Out of all the traditional new year dishes in Vietnam however, this one is one of the easier ones to make. Growing up, I ate this dish on regular rotation for dinner.
You will need:
- skin on pork belly
- minced garlic
- minced shallot
- black pepper
- fish sauce
- coconut water
See recipe card for quantities.
Cut your pork belly into large, one-inch chunks.
Season the pork belly with salt, pepper, minced garlic and shallot, and fish sauce. Stir to combine and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
When you're ready to start cooking, heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Stir the sugar occasionally so it melts and caramelizes at the same time.
Continue to stir the sugar as it bubbles and browns.
Once the sugar stops bubbling, immediately add the pork chunks and any leftover juices into the pot. Stir the pork quickly to coat it in the caramelized sugar.
Add the coconut water to the pork belly chunks until they are just barely submerged.
Cover the pork and let it simmer. Meanwhile, boil and peel some eggs.
Once the pork is soft, uncover it and add the hard boiled eggs to the pork. Nestle the eggs into the sauce.
Simmer the eggs with the pork uncovered until about half of the liquid has evaporated, and you're left with a thin sauce.
Hint: You want to work quickly when adding the pork to the caramelized sugar. The sugar will burn quickly at this point, and adding the pork prevents that from happening.
You can replace half of the pork belly with pork shoulder for a leaner dish, but don't substitute the pork belly entirely. You need some fat or else the dish will be dry.
I recommend using a dutch oven or stainless steel for this dish. Don't use something with a black or brown surface as it will make it hard for you to see when the sugar is done caramelizing.
🍚 Serving suggestions
Serve this dish with plenty of jasmine rice or sticky rice to soak up the rich sauce. I like to mash the egg yolks into the rice and then pour the sauce over it.
This dish is a great main course for a special occasion and also a great option for a typical Vietnamese family meal. A family meal usually consists of rice (cơm), a vegetable dish (rau), a main protein, (món mặn), and a soup (canh).
For example, a Vietnamese family meal using recipes from this blog might include:
- Rau: Vietnamese Chayote Squash and Egg Stir Fry (Su Su Xào Trứng)
- Món Mặn: Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Belly and Eggs (Thịt Kho Trứng)
- Canh: Vietnamese Tofu Soup with Tomatoes and Chives (Canh Hẹ Đậu Dủ Cà Chua)
🥡 How to store or make in advance
You can season the pork belly the day before and keep it in the fridge overnight before cooking the rest of the dish. The eggs can also be boiled and peeled a day in advance.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. This dish does not freeze well.
✏️ Top Tips
- Undercook your eggs a little bit so that they don't overcook from simmering in the sauce. I like a jammier egg.
- If there's a large layer of rendered fat sitting on top of your sauce, you can stick the dish in the fridge or freezer until it solidifies to make the fat easier to remove.
👪 Serving Size
This dish comfortably serves 4-6 people on it's own or more if you serve it with a few other dishes as part of a traditional family meal.
Caramelized Pork Belly and Eggs (Thịt Kho Trứng) - An An Easy Lunar New Year Dish
- 1.5 lbs pork belly
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups coconut water
- 5 eggs
- Cut the pork belly into one inch pieces and season with salt, pepper, minced garlic and shallot, and fish sauce. Stir to combine and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- When you're ready to start cooking, heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Stir the sugar occasionally so it melts and caramelizes at the same time.
- Continue to stir the sugar as it bubbles and browns. Once the sugar stops bubbling, immediately add the pork chunks and any leftover juices into the pot. Stir the pork quickly to coat it in the caramelized sugar.
- Quickly add pork belly to sugar and stir to coat pork in the caramel
- Add the coconut water to the pork belly chunks until they are just barely submerged.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the pork is tender and most of the fat has rendered out.
- While the pork is simmering, boil and peel the eggs.
- Once the pork is tender, uncover the pork and add the peeled eggs. Simmer for another 15-30 minutes until the sauce as evaporated to your preferred consistency.
- Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve with white rice.
Note: Nutrition facts are an estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
🦺 Food safety
- Cook pork to a minimum temperature of 145 °F (63 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
Did you make this recipe? Please tag @BunBoBaeBlog on Instagram or leave a rating or comment on the blog!
Loved this recipe? You might also like: