March 26, 2020



Caramelized Pork and Eggs is Vietnamese comfort food at its best. Pork is braised tender in a wonderfully sweet and salty caramel sauce. Serve with white rice for an ultimate comfort meal.

Caramelized Pork and Eggs
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This is an updated version of a post originally published in January 2014. 

This Vietnamese delight tops my list of favorite comfort foods. It is traditionally made with pork belly, but I use boneless spare ribs or boneless butt. The meat is braised till fork tender and has a wonderful blend of sweet and salty, one of my favorite flavor combinations. 

Caramelized Pork and Eggs

There are variations of this pork dish—some are heavy on the black pepper or salt; some have no eggs while others have a small amount of thick caramel sauce. Regardless, the sweet, salty, umami flavor always shines. I love to make mine with plenty of sauce, because I like the rice to be saturated with it. Simply amazing!!

The magic is all in the caramel sauce, which is made with sugar and water. It provides the rich color and the flavorful foundation. Making it is easy but does require a bit of babysitting.

How to make caramel sauce:
Place 2/3 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Do not stir while it cooks. Allow to bubble and brown. Some benchmark to look for (this is a guideline, not an exact time frame):
  • Clear liquid with lots of bubbles at the 4-minute mark.
  • Light golden color develop at 9-minute mark.
  • An amber color at 10-minute mark with some smoking.
  • By the 11-minute mark, it will be deep amber and lots of smoke. 

It is important not to let the sauce get too dark as it will have a slight bitter aftertaste. Once the deep amber stage is achieved, immediately move the pan to the sink and add the remaining water. It will bubble and steam vigorously. Be careful not to stand right over the pan as there will be some splashing. The sauce is ready to use. We are ready to go on with cooking the pork.

4-minute mark

9-minute mark

10-minute mark

11-minute mark

ready to use caramel sauce

Recipe highlights:
  • Add oil to a heavy bottom large pot on medium heat.
  • Add garlic, ginger, shallot, stirring frequently for one minute. 
  • Add pork, salt and pepper. 
  • Increase heat to high. Cook pork, stirring frequently until lightly seared. 
  • Stir in caramel sauce and fish sauce. Reduce heat to medium low once liquid boils. 
  • Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring a couple of times during this period.  

  • Meanwhile boil eggs and remove shell.
  • Add cooked eggs to pork after the 40 minute simmer.
  • Simmer 15 minutes.
  • Turn eggs over to submerge the white tops into the sauce.
  • Add scallion. Continue to simmer 15 additional minutes.
  • Season with additional black pepper, optional. Serve with white rice.
  • See recipe card below for detailed instructions.

This is a budget-friendly family meal that reminds me of my childhood. It is warm, comforting, and always makes me happy. Add sautéed spinach or steamed and green beans with lots of cracked salt and black pepper to complete the meal. This is a must try!


Other Asian recipes you might like:


Caramelized Pork and Eggs


2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoons  minced garlic
1 tablespoons  minced ginger
1 average size shallot
4 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fish sauce
6 eggs (more is fine)
1/2 cup chopped scallion

Suggested supplies (affiliate links):
16-ounce Japanese bowls
Rice cooker


To make caramel:
  1. Add sugar to a small heavy bottom pan on medium high heat. Evenly drizzle 3 tablespoons water over sugar. Do not stir. 
  2. Set the remaining water aside next to the sink ready to use. 
  3. Cook sugar mixture until it turns dark amber. You may swirl the pan slightly but do not stir.
  4. Benchmark to look for (this is an approximate, not an exact timeline): Light bubbling around edges at the 2-minute mark; Clear liquid with lots of bubbles at the 4-minute mark; Light golden color develop at 9 minute mark; An amber color at 10 minute mark with some smoking; By the 11 minute mark, it will be deep amber and lots of smoke.
  5. Do not cook sauce beyond this point as it will become bitter.
  6. Immediately place the pan in the kitchen sink and add the reserved water, using caution as splashing may occur. Set aside.

To make pork:
  1. Add oil to a preheat a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on medium heat.  
  2. Add garlic, ginger, shallot, stirring frequently for 1 minute. 
  3. Add pork. Increase heat to high and add salt and pepper. 
  4. Cook pork, stirring frequently until lightly seared. 
  5. Add caramel sauce and fish sauce. Stir until pork is coated. Allow to come to a light boil. 
  6. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. 
  7. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring a couple of times during this period. 
  8. Boil eggs: add water to cover eggs in a saucepan. 
  9. Cook on medium high heat. When water boils, turn off heat and cover.
  10. Allow to sit on stovetop for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  11. Drain water and peel eggs. Set aside.
  12. After the 40 minute simmer, nest eggs in the caramel sauce. 
  13. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. 
  14. Add scallion. Turn eggs over, submerging upper side into caramel sauce. 
  15. Simmer an additional 15 minutes or until meat is tender. 
  16. Skim fat layer off top using spoon. 
  17. Sprinkle with additional black pepper, optional.
  18. Serve with plain white rice. 
Makes 6 servings.

Great finds for the home and family! Any commission made on purchases help towards the running of this blog.

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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! :)

  3. Looks delicious, Thao!! And is it just me, or did you change your blog look!? Maybe just the first page...? I might be crazy. Anyway these look amazing!

    1. Thank you Katherine! This dish a a family favorite. And thank you for noticing!! I made changes to the home page not too long ago. So glad you like it!!