How to Make Thịt Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork)

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Thịt kho or braised pork is my ultimate comfort food! This flavorful, umami-packed, sweet, and savory Vietnamese dish always reminds me of home. It is made with super tender pork, hard boiled eggs, fish sauce, coconut soda, and served over rice.


Updated January 16, 2024

Thit kho Vietnamese braised pork and eggs How to Make Thịt Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork)

What is Thịt Kho?

Thịt kho is a Vietnamese dish made up of super tender pork and hard boiled eggs.

The pork is braised low and slow and caramelized in coconut soda and fish sauce.

It is served with rice which is the perfect vessel to soak up all the delicious sauce.

Thịt kho is a common dish for an every day home cooked meal and it is also traditionally eaten during Lunar New Year or Tết.

It originated in South Vietnam but is popular all over the country.

If you ask a Vietnamese person what their ultimate comfort food is, a lot of them would say it’s this.

At least that would be my answer!

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Thịt Kho

What Pork to Use for Thịt Kho?

The ideal cut to use for this dish is pork belly. The fattiness gives it a really rich buttery flavor.

Make sure to cut it in the direction where each piece will have a layer of skin, fat, and meat.

I like mine in bigger 1-2 inch chunks. You can also do thinner slices which will cook faster as well.

Sometimes pork belly can be pretty fatty but you can ask your butcher to give you a piece with the least amount of fat and look for more red than white.

Alternatively if you just prefer a leaner cut and more meat, opt for pork shoulder instead.

My personal favorite is a combination of both with a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of pork belly to pork shoulder.

pork belly for thịt kho

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Ingredients for Thịt Kho

Before you begin making thịt kho, you’ll need to gather the following ingredients:

  • Pork: Pork belly and/or pork shoulder will both be great for this recipe.
  • Eggs: Traditionally made with hard boiled eggs. It soaks up the sauce and is so delicious.
  • Sugar: Sugar is caramelized to give the dish a beautiful golden brown color.
  • Aromatics: Garlic and shallots are staple aromatics in Vietnamese cooking to enhance flavor.
  • Coconut Soda: Coco Rico coconut soda helps to tenderize and the sugar content turns the braising liquid into the perfect caramelized sauce.
    • Substitute: Coconut water or juice plus more sugar to taste since it has less sugar than soda.
  • Fish Sauce: A signature ingredient of Vietnamese food. Adds saltiness with a pop of umami.
  • Salt: An essential seasoning to add saltiness. Adjust the amount to your liking.
  • Black Pepper: Adds just the right amount of warmth to the braised pork.
  • Water: Add water as needed to cover the pork while braising to keep it from drying out.
thịt kho ingredients

Substitute for Coconut Soda

Traditionally in Vietnam thịt kho is made with fresh coconut water.

Coconuts are abundant in Vietnam and relatively cheap.

However in the United States, fresh coconuts aren’t as easily accessible and the bottled coconut water sold in grocery stores can be quite pricey.

Therefore a lot of Vietnamese immigrants and Vietnamese-Americans use coconut soda in our thịt kho recipes.

The most popular brand that is commonly used is Coco Rico which is actually a product of Puerto Rico.

It has the flavor of coconut water, the fizz of soda which helps to further tenderize the pork, and the sweetness to create a beautiful caramelized broth.

You can typically find Coco Rico at your local Vietnamese, Asian, or Latin grocery store.

However if you cannot find it, substitute with coconut water or coconut juice and add extra sugar to taste since coconut soda is sweeter.

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Thịt Kho with Coco Rico coconut soda

How to Make Thịt Kho

Thịt kho is so flavorful and comforting!

Most of the magic happens when the pork is simmering in the braising liquid.

The result is a tender, sweet, savory, and umami-packed dish that is so comforting.

Let’s walk through this thịt kho recipe step-by-step so you can recreate this delicious braised pork and eggs dish perfectly at home!

As always a recipe card is at the end that you can print out, pin to Pinterest, or save for later.

How to Make Thịt Kho

Step 1: How to Cook Eggs for Thịt Kho

Traditionally, thịt kho trứng is made using hard boiled eggs.

However, there are other ways to prepare eggs for this dish.

My favorites are deep fried eggs and ramen style eggs.

Hard Boiled Eggs for Thịt Kho

To make hard boiled eggs, bring a pot of water to a boil on medium-high heat.

Then slowly add eggs to help prevent it from going into shock and cracking.

Boil the eggs for 8 minutes.

After 8 minutes, turn off the stove, remove eggs from the water, and immediately place into an ice water bath.

This makes it easier to peel.

Lastly, peel the eggs and set them aside.

how to make easy to peel hard boiled eggs

Deep Fried Eggs for Thịt Kho

Growing up my dad would sometimes take it a step further and deep fry hard boiled eggs.

I remember getting so excited every time he would cook them like that.

When fried, the outer layer of the egg becomes golden brown, wrinkly, and crispy.

The added texture makes the dish even more interesting and irresistible!

Ramen Eggs for Thịt Kho

Once I got older and learned how to make thịt kho, I began to experiment with non-traditional methods.

I love gooey ramen eggs so instead of the traditional hard boiled eggs, I tried making it with soft boiled eggs.

To do this, bring a pot of water to a boil on medium-high heat and boil eggs for 6 minutes.

Then place into an ice water bath before peeling and set aside.

After you braise the pork, save some of that liquid before you start reducing the sauce.

The pork should be fully cooked at this point so you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination.

Then marinate the eggs in that sauce in a large ziploc bag or sealable container and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

It results in a dreamy yolky egg with flavors from the thịt kho braising liquid seeping though.

Step 2: Parboil the Pork

Start by cutting pork into 1-2″ cubes depending on how big you want the pieces to be.

If using pork belly, make sure to cut it so each piece will have a layer of skin, fat, and meat.

Before you begin the braise, parboil the pork first.

In a pot on medium-high heat, quickly boil the pork for about 5 minutes.

Discard the water and rinse the pork.

It does not need to be fully cooked at this step.

Parboiling removes the scum and impurities resulting in a clearer sauce.

Once this is done, set the pork aside.

why parboil pork

Step 3: Braise the Pork

In an empty pot on low heat, add sugar and stir for about 2 minutes until brown and caramelized.

Then add in the pork and sear on all sides until they are nice and browned.

Next, add minced garlic and chopped shallots. Cook until softened and fragrant.

thịt kho garlic and shallots

Afterwards, add Coco Rico coconut soda, fish sauce, salt, pepper, and enough water to cover the pork.

The water is to ensure that the pork doesn’t dry out while braising.

Note that the more water you add, the more you will need to reduce later.

Simmer covered for about 1 hour then add in the peeled hard boiled eggs.

Then simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes more minutes or longer until the sauce reduces to your liking. Rotate the eggs occasionally.

Turn up the heat to reduce the sauce quicker.

Skim off some of the excess fat on top. Taste test and adjust to your liking.

thịt kho

Lastly, serve with rice and these optional garnishes:

  • sliced green onions
  • sliced chili peppers
  • fresh cracked black pepper
thịt kho trứng

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How to Adjust Thịt Kho to Your Liking

Thịt kho is a very forgiving dish and hard to mess up.

If you braise for too long, it just becomes extra tender. If the sauce reduces too much, just add extra water.

Taste test as you go and add more or less of ingredients to your liking. There is always a fix!

Sauce

I like my sauce on the thicker side and more caramelized so I usually simmer longer uncovered.

If you like a more liquid-y, broth-y sauce, don’t simmer as long uncovered or add more water.

thịt kho Vietnamese braised pork
thịt kho trứng Vietnamese braised pork and eggs

Sweetness

The coconut soda is the main source of sugar for this dish.

If you prefer less sweet, reduce the amount of soda and substitute with water or coconut water.

You can also substitute coconut soda completely for coconut water and then add in more sugar to taste.

Saltiness

Fish sauce is the key to the salty, savory, umami flavor of this dish.

However, I know not everyone is a fan.

Chicken bouillon or mushroom seasoning would be the best substitute.

Just plain salt works too if you’re in a pinch.

If you reduce the sauce too much, the thịt kho can become too salty as well.

To fix just add more water and simmer a little more to combine.

thịt kho trứng

Leftover Storage & Reheating

This thịt kho recipe makes about 4 servings.

If you have leftovers, let it cool then place it into a sealed container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

This tastes even better as leftovers because the sauce has more time to soak into the pork and eggs.

To reheat, simply add the portion of thịt kho you want to eat into a small pot and cover to help keep it from drying out.

Turn the stove on low to medium heat and warm until it reaches your desired temperature.

Alternatively, you can also place it into a microwave safe bowl and reheat covered it in the microwave.

Time depends on your preference and microwave, but a few minutes should be sufficient.

Avoid overheating since, you don’t to dry out the pork or make the egg explode.

Soups To Serve With Thịt Kho:

A homestyle Vietnamese meal usually consists of a meat dish, a light soup or canh, and rice.

Here are some Vietnamese soups that are perfect to serve alongside thịt kho!

Save This Recipe For Thịt Kho!

I hope this tutorial for how to make thịt kho was helpful and that you try to recreate this popular Vietnamese braised pork and eggs dish at home!

It’s the ultimate Vietnamese comfort food and also a great one to try if you want Vietnamese homestyle cooking.

Be sure to save this recipe and share with your family and friends!

Please leave a rating and comment below if you try it. I’d love to know what you think!

Did you make this recipe? I would love to see! Tag me on IG @feedmi_ or TikTok @feedmi

Thịt Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork and Eggs)

Thịt kho is a Vietnamese dish made of super tender pork braised in coconut soda and fish sauce. It's sweet, savory, umami, and so comforting!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork belly or pork shoulder
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can coconut soda
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • water as needed

Optional Garnish

  • green onions
  • chili peppers
  • black pepper

Instructions

Hard Boiled Eggs

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil on medium-high heat then slowly add eggs. Boil for 8 minutes.
  • Immediately place the cooked eggs into an ice water bath to make peeling easier. Peel the eggs then set aside.

Parboil Pork

  • Cut pork into 1-2" cubes in the direction where each piece will have a layer of skin, fat, and meat.
  • In a pot on medium-high heat, boil pork for about 5 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the pork. It does not need to be fully cooked at this step. Doing this removes scum and impurities resulting in a clearer sauce. Set the pork aside.

Braise Pork

  • In an empty pot on low heat, add sugar and stir until brown and caramelized (about 2 minutes).
  • Add the pork, sear and brown on all sides.
  • Add garlic and shallots, cook until softened.
  • Add coconut soda, fish sauce, salt, pepper, and enough water to cover the pork. Simmer covered for about 1 hour.
  • Add in the peeled eggs then simmer uncovered for ~15 minutes or until the sauce reduces to your liking. Rotate the eggs occasionally.
  • Skim off some of the excess fat on top. Taste and adjust to your preference.
  • Serve with rice, optional garnishes, and enjoy!

Video instruction in my Instagram highlight – Thit Kho

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