While Vietnamese recipes have plenty of vegetables and herbs, this cuisine is known for its incredible variety of pork dishes. Whether it’s in a broth, stuffed into a steamed bun or glazed in a sauce, pork appears in many delicious forms.
In Vietnam, people eat grilled pork for breakfast, lunch or dinner! It’s hard to pick our favorite recipe, but you can’t go wrong with Vietnamese pork chops (tht heo nng s). The pork chops burst with bright lemongrass notes, and a sweet-tangy fish sauce (nc chm) completes the dish.
Vietnamese Pork Chops Recipe
Unlike the thick pork chops most people are used to, Vietnamese pork chops are thin-cut. What makes them even more special is the combo of citrusy, smoky, aromatic and sweet flavors. These delicious chops are then dipped in fish sauce. The sweet, sour and garlicky sauce is a must!
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped2 shallots, chopped1/4 cup soy sauce1/4 cup fish sauce3 tablespoons brown sugar2 tablespoons canola oil3 garlic cloves, minced1-1/2 pounds thin-cut boneless pork loin chops
1/2 cup hot water3 tablespoons sugar3 tablespoons lime juice2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce (I recommend Red Boat Fish Sauce)1 garlic cloves, minced1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper (like bird’s eye chili), optional
Editor’s Tip: Add 1 teaspoon MSG to the marinade. Keep in mind, a pinch goes a long way, and MSG is not harmful to your health.
Step 1: Prepare the marinade
In a shallow dish, combine the first 7 ingredients. You can do this by hand or use a food processor to make a smooth mixture. Transfer the marinade to an airtight container, then add the pork chops and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, but overnight is even better!
Editor’s Tip: Tenderize your pork chops by beating them lightly with a meat mallet for no more than 10 seconds on each side.
Step 2: Make a dipping sauce
In a small, heat-safe bowl, whisk together the dipping sauce ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (This Vietnamese fish sauce will last for up to a week.)
Step 3: Cook the pork
Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator about 25 minutes before you start cooking. Drain the pork, discarding marinade. Grill pork, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from heat until a thermometer reads 145F, about 5-6 minutes on each side. Let the pork chops rest for 5 minutes before serving to help maintain their juiciness.
Editor’s Tip: Yes, pork can be pink and still be safe to eat!
Tips for Making Vietnamese Pork Chops (Tht Heo Nng S)
How long should you marinate the pork chops?
Set aside at least four hours but preferably an entire night to marinate the pork chops.
Can you pan-fry Vietnamese pork chops?
Most would suggest making this recipe with fresh pork chops and throwing them on the grill for best results. But they’re also delicious pan-fried with a neutral oil. For a bit of fusion, try cooking your pork chops with unsalted butter.
If using frozen pork chops, let them thaw to room temperature before starting.
What do you serve with Vietnamese pork chops?
Pair the pork chops with steamed jasmine rice, a fried egg, sliced juicy tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and crisp lettuce leaves. Dip in as much tangy fish sauce as you desire!
These pork chops are also delicious in a fresh baguette with pickled vegetables (think Bnh m) or atop some rice noodles. If you’re short on time or ingredients, the pork chops are tasty entirely on their own.
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