Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Meat)

Caramelized Pork in Bamboo Recipe

This is another Hue-inspired dish. In the preparation of so many dishes for such a demanding emperor, creativity was of essence. Bamboo is tradionally used as a cooking vessel in central and northern Vietnam in the same way that banana leaves are in the south. In the north, eel is given this treatment because it slips whole into the bamboo cavity. You will need two bamboo tubes, about 25 cm long, split in half lengthways and cleaned. You will find them in some Asian stores, or try the DIY store.

Ingredients : Serves 4-6

1 kg

2 large


2 tablespoons


For the marinade

45 ml

60 ml



1 cm


Lean pork shoulder, cut into thin strips

Banana leaves, torn into wide strips (or 8 sturdy leaves, such as cabbage or vine leaves

Chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), for garnishing



Unrefined or muscovado (molasses) sugar

Nuoc mam

Shallots, finely chopped

Spring onions (scallions), trimmed and finely chopped

Fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Green or red Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped

Method :
  • To make the marinade, gently heat the sugar in a heavy pan about 15ml water, stirring constantly until it begins to caramelize. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuoc mam, shallots, spring onions, ginger and chili.

  • Place the pork strips in a wide bowl or dish and tip the marinade over. Using your fingers, toss the meat in the marinade to make sure it is well coated. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours.

  • Line the inside of two of the bamboo halves with wide strips of banana leaf. Spoon the marinated pork on to the leaf, folding the edges over the top. Place the remaining bamboo halves on top to form tubes again, and then tightly wrap a wide strip of banana leaf around the outside of each tube.

  • Prepare a barbecue. Tie the bamboo parcels with string and cook over the hot barbecue for about 20 minutes. Open up the parcels, garnish the pork with coriander and serve with noodles or rice and nuoc cham.

Cooking in the jungle

The method of using a bamboo tube is popular in the jungles of Loas and Vietnam, where whole fish are cooked in this way over a fire. The tubes can be lined with thin, flexible cabbage leaves or vine leaves. If you can't find banana leaves, wrap the tubes in foil instead.

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