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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thịt Giò Bó (Red Pork Roll)

It's almost the end of The Year of the Rabbit and I have been making ông Táo (the God of the kitchen) work so hard before he gets sent back to the heaven to report to the King of Heaven about all that has happened in my kitchen. This is according to the Chinese folklore.

I hope I scored well.

Thịt Giò Bó (Red Pork Roll) is my last savory dish for Tet The Year of Dragon. For the last week, I have made pate gan (chicken liver pate), cha lua (Vietnamese ham) and now Thịt Giò Bó to complete the main fillings for banh mi thit (Vietnamese sandwiches). Supposedly, Thịt Giò Heo Bó made of pork front hock has a thick layer of fat which makes it very rich and fatty but tasty . . . just how I like it.  But since my new year's resolution is to be fit and eating a well-balanced and healthy diet, I used pork belly which contains a lot less fat than pork front hock.  

Thịt Giò Bó recipe is similar to Thịt Xá Xíu (Cha Siu). Instead of making it from scratch, you can get a bag of Cha Siu seasoning which contains the primary ingredients and red food coloring that turn the exterior layer of the meat dark red.  Lately, I have read about the dangers of artificial food coloring and the dangerous food and products imported from China, I try to limit or avoid buying food or supplies that are made from China. Instead I used beet to make  my own natural red food coloring for this Thịt Giò Bó as its skin has to be red.  If you got nothing else out of this recipe, it would still be quite a fun experiment on making natural food coloring. 
RECIPE:  Thịt Giò Bó


a piece of Pork Belly or Pork Butt, washed, dry pat
1 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Pepper
1 teaspoon Five Spices
1/2 teaspoon Peppercorns
4 tablespoons minced Shallot (2 whole shallots)
Twine, to tie meat
2 large Beets, peeled and chopped each into 16 pieces
(make about 2 cups red beet coloring)
Making Red Food Coloring

In a pot, bring beets with just enough water to fully cover them to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour or until beets are soft.  Add more water during simmering as needed.  Strain the beet liquid and preserve about 2 cups of liquid.  Set aside.   Make sure to use gloves when handling beets as it will stain your hands and it's hard to clean off.   I also covered my cutting board so it wont get stained.   
Marinating Meat

Combine all the ingredients. Rub the pork belly with the marinade mixture.

Roll it up and tie it tight with twine. Marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

Cooking Meat

Place meat in a pot and pour 1 1/2 cups of red beet color over the meat.  Bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer with cover on for about 30 minutes.  During the simmering process, turn the meat and coat it with red color occasionally.  


Thịt Giò Bó can be enjoyed with banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich) with or without pate, and cha lua (Vietnamese ham).  Remove the twine.  Thinly slice the meat and insert it in the baguette sandwich.  Garnish it with pickled carrot and daikon, julienned cucumber, a few sprigs of cilantro, sprinkle some fresh ground pepper and a dash of good soy sauce.  

Chúc ông bà 1 tô như ý. 
Chúc cô chú 1 chén an khang. 
Chúc anh chị 1 dĩa, 1 dĩa...tài lộc!

Here's to the Year of the Dragon . . .


  1. hihi lần đầu tiên comment ở đây... chúc bạn, Loan, năm mới gia đình ấm no hạnh phúc, an khang và vạn sự như ý nha.

    Giò bó có vẻ mỡ quá nên đến nay mình vẫn chưa dám làm vì sợ ko ai chịu ăn hihi ...

  2. Thong thuong gio bo mo nhieu that nhung neu muon giu eo nhu Loan thi cho ca nha an thit gio bo NAC :-) .
    Chuc K va gia ddinh mot Nam Moi tran dday hanh phuc, suc khoe doi dao!

  3. hi...i love your recipes. i'm going to attempt the Honeycomb Cake tomorrow, but found this delicious pork belly recipe while the rolled pork belly only cooking for 30 minutes total?. just wondering because when i roast a slab of belly it usually takes 3-4 hours...thanks for the great recipes

  4. you really cook the pork belly roll for only 30 minutes? usually pork belly takes at least 2-4 hours roasting in the oven or braising to get good and moist and delicious. did i miss a step somewhere?