Vietnamese Caramelized Grilled Pork (Thit Heo Nuong Xa)

Vietnamese cooks really know the secret to excellent caramelized grilled and broiled meats. The combination of delicate lemongrass with salty fish sauce, garlic, and palm sugar is irresistible. I can see why this dish is so beloved in Vietnam.

Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops

Thit Heo Nuong Xa – Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops

This dish takes no time at all. It is usually served with white rice or noodles, a fried egg, and the ever-present vegetable platter and nuoc cham dipping sauce.
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Course: Brunch, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Southeast Asian, Vietnam
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Marinate: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Food processor or mortar and pestle
  • Plastic freezer bag


  • tsp White pepper (or black)
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt
  • 1 large Shallot, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 3 stalk Lemongrass, bottom 6-inches, outer leaves discarded, sliced vertically and then into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 oz Palm sugar, cut and crushed with a heavy pan (dark brown sugar OK)
  • ¼ cup Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • lb Thin-cut pork chops, with or without bones.
  • 1 RECIPE Nuoc Cham with shredded carrots
  • 1 large Cucumber, sliced


  • Prepare Marinade – Add salt, lemongrass, palm sugar, garlic, shallot, and pepper to a food processor and process into a rough paste. Add fish sauce and oil. Pulse a few times to mix.
  • Marinate Pork – Put pork chops in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade into the bag. Squeeze out air, seal, and massage marinade into the meat. Set on counter to marinate anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Pork may be marinated for up to 12 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Grill – Heat ½ of a grill to very hot with the cover closed for 10 minutes. Grill pork chops over high heat, 5 to 6 minutes total. If any seem to be too charred, move to cool side of the grill. Serve with white rice, sliced cucumber and nuoc cham.


Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 850mg | Potassium: 535mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

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