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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu (Vietnamese Braised Pork and Boiled Eggs)

Món ngon đón năm mới...

Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu (Vietnamese Braised Pork and Boiled Eggs) is a classic dish in Vietnamese's daily meal but it's also a must-have dish to enjoy during the lunar new year. With the new year fast approaching, most of the  families in Vietnam are preparing a big pot of Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu to enjoy for at least the first three days of new year.

The secret of cooking this dish to perfection includes: marinating the pork well, be sure the fat of the pork looks translutent, the meat is really tender but not overly soft to prevent it from breaking apart; and the eggs have a beautiful amber color. Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu has a wonderful light aroma of coconut juice, a hint of saltiness from the fish sauce and the mild sweetness of coconut juice surrounded by the fragrance of garlic, shallots and fresh ground pepper. I am fond of the flavor  of this dish and the crunchy and slightly chewy texture of dried bamboo shoots in Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu as my mother used to prepare every Luna new year in Vietnam. I love to roll rice paper with a piece of pork, egg and a few strings of bamboo shoots then dip it in its earthy, flavorful, and delicious sauce.

The bamboo shoot imparts a strong scent during the preparation and cooking process so if you are not familiar with this be warned! Alternatively you can use fresh bamboo or bamboo shoots from the can.

My first impression of "Thịt Kho Tàu" was that  it originated from China but after careful research, I found out this dish is a hundred percent Vietnamese. It actually originated from South Vietnam (miền Nam Bộ).  Based on a famous writer Binh Nguyen Loc, the word "Tàu" means "lạt" compare to the rivers Cái Tàu Thượng and Cái Tàu Hạ are the two rivers that has saline water (nước lợ). Thịt Kho Tàu translates to "Braised Pork in Light Sauce". So there's my contribution to Vietnamese history for you.  And if you have already committed that to memory, let's cook!
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RECIPE: Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu 

2-3 lbs Pork Belly or Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt, cut into big chunks about 2 inches
3 cans Coconut Soda (coco-rico brand)
7-8 tablespoons Fish Sauce 
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon fresh Cracked Pepper 
2 tablespoons minced Garlic
2 tablespoons minced Shallots
10-12 whole Hard Boiled Eggs, peeled
a bunch of Dried Bamboo Shoots, optional
Preparing Dried Bamboo Shoots

Rinse dried bamboo shoots a few times and soak it at least overnight or two days.  Next day, rinse it again and bring it with water to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cook it over low heat for at least an hour  or until bamoo shoots are tender.  Rinse again and shred it into thin strings. Set aside.
Braising Pork, Eggs and Bamboo Shoots

Marinate meat with garlic, shallots, fish sauce, sugar and ground pepper for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

In a wide bottom pot, bring coconut soda to a boil. Add meat, eggs and dried bamboo shoots (if used) to boiling coconut juice and bring it back to boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer it without the pot cover. Covering the pot while simmering will make the broth less clear. Skim frequently will further your chances for a clearer broth.

Continue braising for about an hour or until the meat is tender.   Make sure to swirl the pan and gently turn the meat and eggs occasionally to cover the meat and eggs evenly in broth. The eggs and meat shouldn't break or fall apart after braising.  You will notice the broth will slowly start to turn a natural amber color due the to coconut soda and sugar so you don't need to add caramelize sugar (nước mầu đường) as it will make the color of broth, meat and eggs darker and ruin the beautiful amber color you would other wise get.

Happy the-year-of -the-dragon New Year!. 


  1. @ Miss C: The coco soda is available in most Asian stores. It's about $2 something for a pack of 6. You can also use fresh or canned coconut juice if cant find coco soda. The reason I like to use coco soda is because it's inexpensive :-).

    1. Great, thanks for your answer! It's on the stove right now :)

  2. Thank you so much for posting this dish and all other recent mon an Tet dishes. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy, and delicious new year!