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January 18, 2014



Vietnamese comfort food at its best, Caramelized Pork and Eggs is braised in caramel sauce. This dish is great balance of sweet & salty. Great with white rice.

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In case you’re wondering if these caramelized pork and eggs are as good as they look, they are!  This Vietnamese delight is one of my favorite comfort foods. It is traditionally made with pork belly, but I usually make mine with boneless spareribs or boneless butt. The meat is braised till fork tender and has a wonderful blend sweet and salty, one of my favorite flavor combinations.

I have eaten several variations of this pork dish—some are heavy on the black pepper; some are heavy on the salt; some have no eggs; some have a small amount thick caramel sauce. I like a nice balance of pepper, salt, and sweetness. I also prefer a lot of liquid because this pork dish is served with plain white rice, which is most delicious when saturated in the caramel sauce.  



2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 to 2 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 average size shallot
4 1/4 lb. boneless pork butt, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup fish sauce
10 eggs (or less; I like a lot of eggs)
1/2 cup chopped scallion


To make caramel:
Set water aside ready to use. Add sugar to a small heavy bottom pan on medium high heat. Stir when the bottom layer of sugar starts to liquefy. Continue stirring  as it completely dissolves and turns a deep caramel color (dark reddish brown). Take pan off the heat just after it starts to smoke. Immediately place  in the kitchen sink and add water, use caution as splashing may occur. Set aside.

Add oil to a large dutch or heavy bottom pot on medium high heat. Add garlic, ginger, shallot, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add more oil if the content sticks to the pan. Add pork. Increase heat to high and add salt and pepper. Cook pork, stirring frequently until the outside of each chunk is lightly seared. Add caramel sauce and fish sauce. Stir until pork is coated. Allow to come to a light boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring a couple of times during this period.  

While pork is simmering, add cold water to cover eggs in a saucepan. Place on stovetop on medium high heat. When water boils, turn off heat and cover. Allow to sit on stovetop for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain water and peel eggs. Set aside.

After the 40 minute simmer, add eggs to pork. Nest eggs in liquid to soak in caramel color. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add scallion. Turn eggs over, submerging upper side into caramel sauce. Simmer an additional 15 minutes or until meat is tender. Skim fat layer off top using spoon. Serve with plain white rice.

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  1. Thank you for this recipe. I just cooked this dish. It was really easy to prepare, quite inexpensive, and really delicious. It was an absolute hit! Thank you.

    Boston, MA

  2. Hi Thao. Comfort food indeed, just like Mom used to make, though she would call it "thit kho". Such a simple and versatile recipe. I have two large chunks of beef "hind shank" that I want to try with this technique. After initial caramelizing with the sugar, I might throw everything into a crockpot to cook the shanks thoroughly. A few peppercorns will give the pot an extra pepper kick. And you're right--gotta add some boiled eggs to steep in the yummy sauce, especially if the egg white is poked several times with the tines of a fork prior to taking a quick bath in the sauce.

    1. Hey Sam! Good to see you here! There is nothing like the flavor of your childhood. That hind shank idea sounds awesome! Let me know how it works out 'cause I might want to try it! :)