Thit Kho Trung, or Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly and Eggs, is a staple in any Vietnamese kitchen. It’s home cooking at its finest, and every time I make this dish, it reminds me of my childhood and the food my mother cooks on week nights.
Sadly, you won’t find this dish at any Vietnamese restaurants. It’s considered ordinary, and most Americans would rather choose to order pho at restaurants than something so boring. Thit Ko Trung is solely a dish that families serve at home.
Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly and Eggs is a delicious dish that keeps well for many days, and it’s so delicious and very easy to make. Even my very Caucasian mother-in-law who calls herself a white girl (and who doesn’t like ethnic foods) loved eating this dish with rice.
Traditionally, it’s cooked with coconut juice or coconut water to give it a very sweet flavor, but I find it way too sweet for my taste buds (since you use sugar to caramelize the meat), so I used water instead and it still turned out great.
I hope you give this dish a try! It’s real, authentic Vietnamese food.
Thit Kho Trung (Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Pork Belly and Eggs)
For the Pork Marinade
- 1 to 1.5 lb pork belly (or boneless pork), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 knob (1-inches) ginger, minced
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp thick soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups water (or Coco Rico Coconut Soda) You can also use coconut juice or coconut water
- 5 hard boiled eggs, peeled
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Boil your eggs in water for 6-7 minutes over medium-high heat. When they're cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and set aside.
- Cut your pork belly into 1-inch pieces. You will parboil them to get rid of the impurities: Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add the pork to the boiling water and parboil for 2-3 minutes or until you see the impurities rise to the surface of the water. Remove from heat. Drain and rinse in a colander.
- In a medium bowl, add the minced garlic, shallot, and ginger. Add the pork pieces. Season with fish sauce, thick soy sauce, and black pepper. Toss to combine. Marinate for 30 minutes on the counter.
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 2 tbsp white sugar over medium heat. Swirl the pan as the sugar melts. When the sugar has melted and turned a caramel color, add the pork and all its juices. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the pork has nicely browned.
- Add just enough water to cover the pork (about 2 cups). You can also use Coco Rico Coconut Soda, coconut juice or coconut water if you prefer a sweeter flavor.
- Add the hard boiled eggs. Season with fish sauce and soy sauce.
- Bring the pot to a boil. Then lower the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1.5 hours. Stir the pot every 20 minutes, skimming any scum that rises to the top. The sauce will reduce and become saltier as it cooks.
- At the end of 1.5 hours, the pork will be very tender. Before you remove it from heat, taste the sauce. If you want it sweeter, add a little bit of sugar. If you want it saltier, add more soy sauce.
- Serve over rice and enjoy.