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Vietnamese Caramel Pork

Thit Kho To" - Tender pork in a sweet savoury glaze that has quite an intense flavour. Though made using coconut water as the broth, but it doesn't have a coconut flavour at all! It looks so unimpressive right up until the end when it magically transforms into sticky caramelised pork pieces!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine pork, vietnamese
Servings 4 People
Calories 727 kcal


  • 1/2 cup / 100g brown sugar tightly packed
  • ▢ 1 tbsp water
  • ▢ 1 kg / 2 lb pork shoulder butt or boneless skinless pork belly, cut into 3 cm / 1.2" pieces
  • 1.5 cups / 375 ml coconut water Note 1b
  • ▢ 1 eschallot / shallot very finely sliced (Note 2)
  • ▢ 2 garlic cloves minced
  • ▢ 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • ▢ 1/4 tsp white pepper


  • ▢ Red chilli and finely sliced shallots/green onions


  • Place sugar and water in a large pot over medium heat. Stir, then when it bubbles and the sugar is melted (it looks like caramel), add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Stir, then adjust the heat so it is simmering fairly energetically. Not rapidly, not a slow simmer (I use medium heat on a weak stove, between medium and low on a strong stove).
  • Simmer for 1.5 hours, uncovered. Stir once or twice while cooking.
  • At around 1.5 hours, when the liquid has reduced down and the pork is tender, (see Note 3 if pork is not yet tender), the fat will separate (see video).
  • Stir and the pork will brown and caramelise in the fat.
  • Once the liquid is all gone and it's now stuck on the pork pieces, it's ready.
  • Serve over rice, garnished with fresh chilli and shallots. Simple pickled vegetables are ideal for a side because the fresh acidity pairs well with the rich pork.


This recipe is sponsored by Mediterranean Supermarket 
Keyword pork, vietnamese