This Vietnamese thịt kho recipe is a low and slow braise with suuuper tender and flavorful pork, with hard-boiled eggs that have absorbed all the seasoning too. It’s traditionally served around the lunar new year because of how well it keeps after cooking.
It’s savory, salty, and slightly sweet seasoned mainly with fish sauce and soy sauce paired with hard-boiled eggs. Served atop a large mound of steamed white rice, and a side of pickled mustard greens, these are the flavors and memories of my childhood.
The pan-asian pork & egg dish
This dish is seen in very slightly modded variations across other ethnic cuisines, not just Vietnamese. I’ve seen variations in Japanese food, Chinese food, and Taiwanese food. In fact, it’s extremely similar to the recipes I have for Filipino pork adobo and chicken adobo.
I don’t know the actual connection–why all these Asian cuisines have this. Perhaps is the readily available and common ingredients for a simple recipe. It keeps well, and is delicious too.
Cuts of meat to use
If you can get pork belly with the bones, you’ll have even better results than just belly, but you can also substitute for whatever cut you prefer especially if you like it leaner. My ideal ratio of pork for this dish is actually 3/4 pork belly and 1/4 of a leaner cut like shoulder.
Pork belly and fat is tasty, but sometimes when the fat to meat ratio isnt right in it, im left with just hunks of fat and nothing to balance it out with. If you pay close attention when selecting the cuts with a ratio you like, it could work out.
Near me in Southern California’s Little Saigon, you can get a higher quality of pork belly at Quang Minh Mini Market. It costs more, but there seems to be a consensus that its worth the cost–something I need to check out! However, I’m having excellent thit kho results from using nearby Vietnamese and Filipino supermarkets in the meantime.
The seasoning & sauce
Here are the brands I use for the seasoning: Rico coconut soda, Kikkoman soy sauce, and Three Crabs Brand fish sauce. The thick soy sauce brand is Koon Chun, to be used in a pinch for color, but you really should be making your own simple caramel coloring (nuoc mau).
I have tried adding slices of yellow onion too and it adds a nice layer of flavor to this dish. You can remove the onion at the end of the braise if you prefer since it will have given up all its flavor to the broth.
Adjust the seasoning again after the liquid has reduced to a consistency you like: tinker with the soy sauce, fish sauce, and salt again to taste and write it down so you know what to do next time. This dish scales very well too if you want to make larger quantities for the family. I love the eggs with this, personally, at almost a 1:1 ratio so it’s hard to have too many.
Egg upgrade. If you’re feeling extra fancy, instead of boiling these for hard yolks, you can follow the steps on my ramen egg recipe for gooey, jammy yolks instead, and marinate in the sauce in this recipe before serving the eggs.
Serving & storage
As a kid I enjoyed separating parts of this dish, mashing the yolk with the rice and spooning sauce over it. My cousins were always requesting grandma to make this dish, and even as they grew older. They’d request this dish with “extra sauce” for y’all salt fiends. It is an easy and effective way to stretch the dish with more rice too.
This dish is commonly eaten with a side of dua chua (pickled mustard greens) which provides a fresh and crunchy balance. Any kind of salty meat like this pairs well with a pungent, vinegary pickle.
Once you refrigerate this dish, all the fat will solidify at the top. Since we typically use pork belly for this, I will scrape some of this off. The dish and meat overall are still super tendy and fatty without it! To learn more easy Asian recipes, click here.
Thịt Kho – Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs
- 2 lb (907.2 g) pork I like 50% belly 50% shoulder
- tap water for first boil
- 6 fl oz Rico coconut soda Coke or 7-Up works in a pinch
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp salt
- filtered water
- 4 tbsp caramel color (nuoc mau) Depending on how dark your caramel sauce gets, you may not need to use all of it.
- 8 large hard-boiled eggs
- 1 yellow onion split into 8 large chunks
- Cut the pork into 1.5" cubes. I like this size for ease of eating, and it cooks faster than 1 huge chunk of pork.
- Bring 2-3 quarts of tap water boiling on high, or enough to fully submerge the pork. When the water's boiling, add the pork for 1-2 minutes just to clean it. Drain then rinse the pork under running water until the water is clear.
- Add the coconut soda, fish sauce and salt to the pot, then add filtered water so it just about covers the pork.
- Turn the heat to high. When boiling, lower heat to about 25% heat or until you still see a low boil. Simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours total, leaving covered for the first 40 minutes. Check and stir the pot every 20 minutes. The longer you cook it, the softer the pork gets. After 40 minutes, remove the cover to let the liquid reduce so you get a more concentrated sauce later.
- Make the caramel color (nuoc mau) in a separate pot and add it to the pot of thit kho
- Make the hard-boiled eggs: add the eggs to a pot and cover the eggs with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let it sit for 8 minutes. Cool under running water and peel the shells.
- During the last ~30-40 minutes of cooking add the peeled eggs and onions.
- The final goal is to reduce the liquid about 1/3 of the starting amount, but you can do it based your own taste of the sauce and pork softness. When the pork hits a doneness you like, re-season with salt or fish sauce, or add water to thin out to your taste. Remember you want it a bit saltier since it will dilute when eating with rice.
- Removed optional soy sauce–stick with the fish sauce :).
- Added pork shoulder 50/50 split with belly since I like it this for more lean pieces instead of all belly, but you can choose whichever cuts you like!
88 comments on “Thịt Kho Recipe – (Vietnamese Braised Pork with Eggs)”
Good job 🙂 A good food in Tet’s Days at Vietnam, however, eating it in normal days is ok ! ^^
Year round is definitely okay with me too 🙂
Is it both soy sauce and fish sauce that we’re adding or it’s either or?
It is either or, any combination of it that suits you to hit that measurement. Let me modify to make this clearer in the recipe card!
Thanks! Just wish I had some Dua Cai Chua to go with this. =]
its so hard to find vietnamese recipes i understand and use online. more more more.
=] sure thing.
This reminds me of a Korean side dish called “Jang Joh Rim.” I wonder if they taste similar!
Yeah it seems a lot of Asians share a similar variation of this dish!
Huy, do i cover the pot with a lid? or leave it open?
You only need to cover it slightly at the start so the liquid can reduce. Towards the end you can probably remove the lid entirely–adjust as needed.
Really great recipe, the step by step pictures are really appreciated. Thank you for sharing, and keep them coming!
are the nutrition facts for the whole pot or just one serving?
Just one serving Kimberly 🙂
Similar to adobo in the philippines:) ill try this recipe..
A friend made this as a comfort meal for me once and I loved it!
Now I can try making it for my family. Wondering if this needs to be simmered covered with a lid or left open to boil? Thanks
Lid open mostly, to reduce. If the meat is still tough you can add water as needed and continue to boil uncovered until it reaches a sauce thickness you like.
This is way better than the Filipinos’ adobo.
looks similar to adobo but taste way different to adobo trust me this dish is heaps tastier
make sure you use good fish sauce, like the one pictured above.
I love the pictures and the steps are very similar to my notes from my mom’s cooking lesson to me. The only thing is I just cooked it today with the country style boneless ribs and I compared it to the pork belly meat. Somehow the rib meat was more tough. Is there a way to make it more tender? I cooked 2hrs as your recipe dictates.
Also, many people asked & I wonder also, do you cook your pot covered or uncovered?
I cook it uncovered so the liquid can reduce (evaporate) to an amount I like. If you see it reduces too much you can put the lid back on or add some water.
As for toughness of the meat, different cuts will vary in amount of connective tissue. Just cook it longer if its still too tough. At first I was afraid to overcook it, but giving it more time has always resulted in tender results. Just check it every 15 minutes or so.
Just tried your recipe. Turned out so awesome. Thanks!!! 🙂
Is that a typo? This doesn’t take 20 hours does it? If so, can we cook this in a crock pot?
By the way, I’ve had this dish many times at parties and IT IS TO DIE FOR! I love that the ingredients are simple and so are the directions. Is there a substitute for the coconut soda, if I’m not able to find it? Thanks!
I’m DYING, that’s hilarious!! Yeah I meant to say 2 hours–oops, that’s been updated and thanks!
The best thing you can use is fresh coconut juice, coco soda 2nd, then 3rd is cola or lemon-lime soda. Hope that helps.
Can you substitute chicken or beef? I do not eat Pork. I’m sure it won’t taste the same but thought I would ask
Have you or can you substitute chicken or beef. I have taken pork out of my diet.
Hey Trinity, I personally haven’t tried it but I bet it would be pretty good too. I’ve had this with tofu instead of meat and really enjoy that version too!
Super easy recipe to follow, and ended up delicious! I used pork shoulder only because the local grocery store didn’t have any pork belly left, and the end product was still absolutely delicious! The meat was so tender and flavorful without being too salty. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Hey Amy glad to hear you liked it! Yeah you can really use any cut of pork you want and it still turns out pretty well 🙂
delicious recipe. parents were away on vacation and i was craving thit kho. i didnt know how to make it and stumbled up this recipe. followed the steps as written and the product was wonderful. thank you
This recipe is amazing! I couldn’t remmeber all the steps my family uses to make Thit Kho, but I found your website and it’s exactly like how they make it!!!! Thank you so much! 😀
Hey Uyen, glad it turned out just like your family’s! 🙂
I am 100% trying this recipe this week! One of my favourite dishes that my mom makes but had no idea how to do it. Funny enough I stumbled across your website searching for a champorado recipe to make for my half Filipino sons haha instead I landed a gold mine of Vietnamese recipes!
Yes, thank you for this recipe! This is one of my many favorite Vietnamese comfort dishes. I can never get a recipe from my family, so thanks for making this easy and accessible!
I just made Thit Kho using this recipe and it turned out amazing! (I used fresh coconut juice, and put some Vietnamese chili, green onions, and garlic in the broth as well.) Thank you for your awesome recipe and your awesome website! 🙂
Hi everyone, I always use a clay pot to make this dish and it comes out delish! Thanks for the recipe Huy!
Thanks Huy! I wanted to bring back a taste from my childhood and this hit the spot.
I added bamboo shoots to it and it was delicious! Everything else, I followed precisely. (Except I messed up on the nuoc mau step and added water in the beginning)
Thanks for the comfort food!
Hi, I made this and it was wonderful. I noticed that you didn’t tell us when to add the onions to the broth. I added the onions at the same time as the boiled eggs and it was great. Thank you for sharing your recipe!
Yep this timing works–I’ve updated the recipe! You can add it later if you want crunchier onions. Thanks for sharing, and reading my blog, Christine!
Thanks–but the recipe doesn’t state where to add the onions?
Sorry about that–you can add it when season the broth so it adds flavor at the same time.
My mom used to make this once in a while for us as kids.
My mom would fry the eggs in a pan to get texture, and add bamboo. yummy.
First time making thit kho- very tasty and tender . Never learned to cook until later in life. Hope my little ones will enjoy it.
hi!! i have been looking all over for the coco rico but cant find it.. do you know of any place to get it in southern california?
or a substitute?
Thank you Huy! My wife is Vietnamese and I have been cooking recipes off your site dor a few months now, she approves! Always check this site first when I feel like cooking some Vietnamese dishes!
For those of you who have attempted with beef – what cuts seem to be the best?
What is that jar between soy sauce and coconut water (3rd picture)? Can’t wait to make it 🙂
Sorry that’s unclear, its the dark soy sauce! However I recommend skipping that and making your own caramel color instead.
Thank you for this easy to follow recipe. My sister and I LOVE this dish growing up but and unfortunately didn’t learn how to make this. Over Christmas I made this for our kids and like us they LOVED it.
A million thank yous!
should I brown the pork belly first?
I’ve been following your recipes for a couple years now and am always always always happy with how they come out! I’m Vietnamese myself and my family have been very happy with the results =)
Usually in the past when I’ve used this recipe I’ve just done it with pork shoulder or something similar. However this time I’m doing it with the Pork Belly and I was just wondering if you leave the skin or take it off?
This recipe was delicious, it tasted exactly the way my mum makes it. The whole family were very impressed!
Do you have a recipe for Bo Kho?
Thanks Jenny glad you and you family enjoyed it! A bo kho recipe is on the way, if you sign up for my email list you’ll get a message when its out.
Can I omit the caramel color if I don’t care about the color or would that mess up the overall taste of the dish?
Hey Tay! It would lower the sweetness a bit so you may want to balance it a bit with some more coconut soda.
Hi there, I put 4 tbsp of fish sauce, 2 tbsp of soy sauce and 2 tsp of salt but the dish turn out to be really salty. I add caramelized sugar sauce at the end, but it only make the sauce sweeter not the meat… Is there anything I can do to lessen the saltiness? Many thanks!
Hey Sarah! Are you putting the coconut soda in to braise? This adds most of the sugar–you can also make and add the caramel color with all the other seasonings too. If you want it less salty you can reduce the fish sauce and soy sauce by 1 tbsp each or more, then taste and readjust at the end to your liking.
Can I use the store bought nuoc mau dua (viet Caramel cooking sauce?
Hey Ma, you sure can!
Just wanna say this recipe is great and my go-to everytime I am making thit kho. 🙂
Very cool to hear that, thanks Jennifer! 🙂
Every Asian child loves their parents’ version of thit kho. 🙂 It’s been so long since I ate my mom’s version, but I don’t recall her using soy sauce. I think she just used sugar and oil to make her caramel sauce and fish sauce. The color of her thit kho comes out darker than yours. I finally tried making it recently using another recipe that didn’t use soy sauce and it came out tasting delicious, but not as dark as mommy’s. There’s a recipe similar to this using braised pieces of pork (smaller pieces than used in thi kho) that cooks with pickled mustard greens. It’s been so long since I had it, but I remember really loving it. Do you know the name and how to make it?
Yeah it’s all about that nostalgia right? I’m not sure what dish that is–is it Vietnamese specifically?
LOVE HOW YOU ADD STEP BY STEP PHOTOS. Love your easy recipes. thank u
Thanks Jacqueline, glad you find value in the recipes!
Simple and easy to follow. I estimated some ingredients and tasted along the way and it tastes just like my mom’s growing up. Only difference, I used all pork shoulder to be a little leaner and trimmed the fat, but you definitely need to leave some fat to tenderize the meat. Great recipe, thanks!
Nothing beats when it tastes just like mom’s recipe! Love that you estimated and tasted along the way, which is very important :). Thanks for sharing Chris!
I made this recipe last week exactly as it is and 4 tbsp of nuoc mau is way too much for my taste. I used 1 tbsp today and it’s perfect. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing Stephanie, yes love that you adjusted it to your taste 🙂
I use this recipe every time I want to make this dish. It is so yummy. Thank you for sharing it!
Thanks for sharing Kathy, and love that it’s your go-to!
Thank you for your recipe! But did you change it?
I remember you had
3tablespoons fish sauce , 3tablespoons soy sauce and 4 tablespoons sugar to melt
Now it says something different
Hi Tina, good catch and yes I did! I reduced the soy and fish sauce, but you can continue using the old ratio if you’d like! The sugar is still there, but linked to the caramel color (which uses 4 tbsp sugar).
Omg thank you so much for this recipes. My father from Vietnam and devours everything. He’s never eats what I cook unless it Vietnamese food.
Tastes just like grandma’s! I live far away from her now, so I’m learning how to make the recipes on my own.
This recipe was amazing – thanks so much for sharing! I was wondering if you’ve ever made this in an Instant Pot and if you needed to adjust anything?
Thanks Daisy! I haven’t tried cooking this in the Instant Pot yet, but imagine it would need a lot of adjustments for the level of liquid.
This is a killer dish and your recipe is spot on! Reminds me of mums version. I’ve made this using coconut water instead of juice as well and it’s still great. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Phillip! Nothing beats one’s own mama’s version 🙂
Thank you so much for this recipe! You have no idea how much it (and your entire website to be honest) means & has helped me through this pandemic. I haven’t been able to see my mom in almost a year and a half now (she was in Vietnam right before the pandemic started) so this has helped me fill the missing hole in my heart (her food lol).
Can’t wait to see what else you come up with!
Ohh that’s so sweet to hear Ngoc Anh, and glad you like the recipes! I hope you get to see your mom soon.
So just out of curiousity, why does the pork need to be “washed”?
Hey Simom, the USDA doesn’t recommend washing meat because of the sink splatter and potential germ spread. If you’re careful about it and know how to clean down then its fine IMO. The reason I still wash it is if you watch them handle meat behind the counter, you can’t help but imagine all the stuff it’s picking up, in addition to all the stuff you don’t see. It may be ‘fine’ if you don’t but to me its a little unsettling.
Huy, thank you for this recipe. My family always used pork shoulder when making thit kho, but pork belly truly elevates the dish. Definitely worth trying this recipe, highly recommend.
Another one for team pork belly, I can appreciate that. Glad you like the recipe David!
Great recipe. Came out perfect during my first try. I
Made some minor changes. I added all the coco soda and omitted water. I also added some paprika, pepper, fresh garlic and garlic powder. Then I added more fish sauce towards the end. I also skimmed off the fat once it cooled down. Yummy recipe. Thanks for sharing.
I added garlic and only used coconut water (didn’t add extra water). Almost as good as moms.