Author Topic: Thit Nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork)  (Read 2329 times)


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Thit Nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork)
« on: October 30, 2009, 02:10:52 PM »
I had thit nuong on bun (rice noodles) and com (broken rice) and this delicious and understated restaurant called YANY cafe that's in the same Norcross shopping center as Hong Kong Market, Bento Box, and Happy Valley.  Thit nuong literally means "grilled pork" and this was super-delicious: sweet and savory, chewy, and a little crunchy from the blackened bits.  I wanted to replicate it.

When I was at the bank I noticed that the teller's last name was Nguyen and I decided to be social.  I asked her about it and she told me what her recipe was: she said that she marinated the pork shoulder (and I think it has to be shoulder or else it's just too lean) in pureed lemon grass, shallot, and fish sauce for three days to infuse the proper flavor.  This was the recipe I attempted, after painstakingly chilling and slicing a pork shoulder into 1/4" slices.  I pureed the lemon grass, shallots, sugar, and fish sauce and mixed it in with the sliced pork and let it marinate overnight.

The right tool for the grilling is one of those flat grilling baskets.  Lacking one, I painstakingly threaded the pork onto skewers, ribbon-like.  They grilled on my primo over direct heat and turned out delicious.  "Oh my god!" said my nine year old as he ate it.  I said it too!  However, the meat was very pale and not deep brown like the thit nuong at YANY.  I realized that I had neglected to add the Vietnamese soy sauce to the marinade.  (Vietnamese soy sauce is soy sauce + nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce)).  We had it over noodles the first day, and then in Vietnamese bread for banh mi the next day and it was awesome both times.

When I saw Ms. Nguyen again I mentioned that the thit nuong was delicious but pale, and she said that she had the same problem.  She told me that I should add oyster sauce to the marinate, and she complained with some embarrassment that her Thai-food-eating white friends even criticized her own thit nuong for being "too pale".

When I get the recipe just right, I will post it here.  It's awesome.


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Re: Thit Nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork)
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2009, 04:53:31 PM »
Vietnamese caramel sauce? How interesting. Please do post the recipe when it's ready.


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Re: Thit Nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork)
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2009, 12:57:46 PM »
Vietmanese caramel sauce (nuoc mau - "nook mah") is an essential Vietnamese sauce, along with nuoc mam (fish sauce).  Nuoc mau is what gives so many vietnamese dishes the sweet caramelized flavor.

I LOVE caramel.  When sugar browns, it changes and becomes much more complex with many more flavors.  It's what gives caramel the real depth of flavor that's hard to get in many other ways.

I followed Barbara's (from directions to make nuoc mam, and this is a recipe you have to make at home and can't buy from the store.  At least, that's what I've read elsewhere: the store versions are horrible.  The downside to making it is that it's kind of a "scary" recipe to make and a little bit tricky, since it involves getting the sugar "just dark enough".  It's a kind of candy making, in other words.  But I'll add that I managed to nail it right on my second attempt, and, if you mess up, then you're out the cost of a little bit of sugar.

Here's Barbara's instructions:

I'll add here that I consistently confuse the phrases "nuoc mau" and "nuoc mam".

Offline Jmolinari

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Re: Thit Nuong (Vietnamese grilled pork)
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2009, 02:56:29 PM »
I agree, the caramel sauce is required to get the nice color on the pork, as well as the crispy edge pieces on the meat.


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