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A plate of caramelised pork chops

Vietnamese Pork Chops (Caramelised Lemongrass Pork)

Infused with fragrant lemongrass and punchy fish sauce, these Vietnamese pork chops are rich in flavour that's sweet, savoury and salty. For an easy and fuss-free weeknight dinner, marinate overnight and cook in 15 minutes!
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinate Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 376kcal


  • Optional: pestle and mortar or food processor


  • 1 kg / 2 pounds pork shoulder or loin or thin pork chops
  • 3 tablespoon oil

Pork marinade

  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass finely chopped
  • ¼ brown onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions (green onions) finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar or white/palm sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil

To serve

  • freshly cooked rice
  • sliced cucumbers and tomatoes
  • nuoc mam


  • Wash and pat dry pork shoulder or loin with paper towels. With a sharp knife, trim off fat and cut into 1 cm thick slices. (note 1)
  • Finely chop lemongrass, onions, spring onions and garlic. For best results, grind to a rough paste with a pestle and mortar. Or, roughly chop and blend in a small food processor. (note 2)
  • In a large bowl or ziplock bag, combine all marinating ingredients and mix well. Add pork slices and coat well (if using a ziplock bag, seal then rub pork all over). Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate.
  • When ready to cook, add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large non-stick pan or griddle pan on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, with a pair of tongs, place pork slices onto the pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through and pork is lightly charred on both sides. Do not overcrowd the pan. Make sure there is wiggle room in between each slice. You most likely will have to cook in 3 batches.
  • Once the first batch is cooked, wipe clean the pan with a scrunched up paper towel using a pair of tongs. This will get rid of charred bits of aromatics from the first batch.
  • Repeat for 2 more times or until all pork have been cooked.
  • Serve with some rice, fresh tomato and cucumber slices and a side of nuoc mam as a dipping sauce.


1. Cooking with thin pork chops or shoulder slices. This will speed up the marinating process (takes less time for pork to absorb the marinade) and is quicker to cook. Thin slices are much easier to eat with rice, rice noodles or vegetables.
2. Optional grind or blend the aromatics help release the flavours and make it easier for the pork to absorb during the marinating process. If you don't have a pestle and mortar or a food processor, simply chop the lemongrass, onions and garlic to as fine as possible. 
Wipe the pan or griddle pan clean with scrunched up paper towel after cooking each batch. Soy sauces burn easily when sizzled on high heat. So do sugar, garlic, onions and lemongrass. All of which are in the marinade. By wiping the pan clean is the trick to avoid burning.
Leftovers are safe to be kept in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days in an airtight container. 
Freezing option: to prep in advance, store the pork in its marinade in a large ziplock bag. Lasts in the freezer for a long time (4 to 12 months). Let it defrost in the fridge the night before cooking (such as for a planned BBQ!)
Nutritional values below are estimates and are to be used as guidance only.
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Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.7g | Protein: 32.3g | Fat: 23.8g | Saturated Fat: 6.9g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Potassium: 521mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 4.3g | Iron: 3mg