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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thịt Heo Xiên Nướng (Grilled Pork Skewer)

March is already here! We're going into the third month of 2014 already?!  Time sure waits for no one. For the gardeners like my mother-in-law, this is when she prepares her garden with fresh, fertile soil and begins planting her herbs and vegetables. For the lawn enthusiasts such as my husband, this is when he starts detaching and aerating the lawn. But forget all that because we are foodies. So, let's get going with a recipe that will last you from early Spring to early Fall or anytime of the year really: Thịt Heo Xiên Nướng (Grilled Pork Kabob)

It was last August when I first made this for my daughter's 6th birthday and it was a big hit.   The meat was tender, succulent, and tasty.  The secret to making the meat tender is really an Asian secret - literally. You'll find this in the Asian pear which contains enzymes that act as meat tenderizers.  I also added caramelized sugar into the marinade to increase the browning and boost the flavor.  Sometimes, I toss in  finely chopped lemongrass just because I love the aroma.  Sesame seeds would be another wonderful ingredient to use - my husband thinks this really defines the taste. 

I love to enjoy Thịt Heo Xiên Nướng as an appetizer or with sticky rice. For the guys, it's great beer food. My girls love to grill it on their cute little piglet grill that I got for them at Cost Plus World Market.

Once this Thịt Heo Xiên Nướng is on the grill, it's hard to resist the wonderful aroma and smoked flavorings! If you are using coal briquettes to grill, be sure that they are bright orange to get the best result.
RECIPE: Grilled Pork Skewer

For the Pork
2 pounds Pork Shoulder, sliced
2 Shallots, finely chopped
4 Spring Onions, white part only, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/2 small Asian Pear

 For the Caramel
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water

Making Caramel

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir a few times and allow to simmer until sauce turns deep brown.  Bring the saucepan to the sink and carefully add 1/4 cup of hot water.  Make sure to hold the pot away from you to prevent the hot caramel from splattering on you. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Set aside.

Preparing Asian Pear

Pureeing Asian pear and set aside.

Preparing Meat

Slice meat into thin slices. Set aside.
Marinating Meat

In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients with half of the caramel sauce.  Mix well.  You might want to taste test the sauce and adjust the ingredients to your liking.  Add pork and mix well.

Marinate the meat overnight in the refrigerator. 
Skewing the Meat

Skew the pork onto bamboo sticks that have been soaked in water for about 30 minutes. You can also use the meat cage to load up the meat.  Now, they are ready to grill.


Serve Thịt Heo Xiên Nướng as an appetizer or with sticky rice.

Ăn Ngon!


  1. Hi Annette! Can I use apple sauce instead of the pears? Would this still taste as good, if I use chicken instead of pork? Thank you:)

  2. I haven't tried apple but I know for sure you can use kiwi. Chicken is fine too.

  3. Do you think it would be ok to adf minced garlic

  4. Hi, thanks for the recipe! Where did you buy the grill? it 's super cute!!!

    1. I got this pig grill a couple years ago at a local Cost Plus World Market. They have it every year from Spring to summer.

  5. Hi Annette, can I use honey instead of making the caramel? I'm still a newbie when it come to caramel. Mine either turned out too white or too dark. Thanks for your input. By the way, I love your blog & your recipes!!!!

    1. Hi Nikki,
      Sure you can. You can also use brown sugar.

  6. Is there an error re the caramel sauce? Do you let the sugar turn brown before adding the water?