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Vietnamese pork chops – How to prepare in 30 minutes

Vietnamese pork chops are easy to prepare, full of unique lemongrass flavor and hardly goes wrong. Naturally, it has become the favorite quick meal served in most of the Vietnamese restaurant, and the universal appeal of the taste has made it become one of the most popular items on the menu.

Restaurants like it because it does not need tedious preparation, and the leftover can be used as the filling for Bann Mi. It can be part of the set meal along with salad and steamed rice, or cut it into smaller pieces to put in on the skewer.

You can make it at home with the ingredients mostly available in your kitchen pantry. The only less common ingredients may be fish sauce and lemongrass, which is available in most of the Asian grocery shops.

This Vietnamese style lemongrass pork chop is marinated and grilled to perfection. It is best to pair with the dipping sauce and scallion oil. The recipe is here :

Vietnamese pork chops are different from others because they are marinated with a set of unique ingredients- soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, honey, shallot, scallions, black pepper and last but not least, minced lemongrass.

This set of ingredients has the contrasting flavor of saltiness and sweetness, which is unique to Vietnamese cuisine. The accompanying dipping sauce called Nuoc Cham has all the taste bud tickling elements-  sweet, salty, sour and spiciness in one dip. You can immediately draw a mental picture with all this sensory stimulating flavor in a single bite.

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Lets look at each ingredient, and the steps to prepare the Vietnamese lemongrass pork chops in detail:

The ingredients for Vietnamese pork chops

The Pork- loin is the best

Pork loin is my choice of cut to cook Thai lemongrass pork chop.

Cut it into about 1/3 inch (8mm) thick. I always ask my butcher to do it for me as she (an old aunty) is an expert of cut it thinly. You may also use pork shoulder if you prefer more fat.

Use a meat mallet (or the back of the cleaver, or the thick bottom of your pan) to pound the meat. The goal is to break down the connective tissue of the meat to make it more tender. It also even out the thickness for better browning.

Use freshly cut chops for a better result. If this is not possible, wrap the pork chops with cling wrap and store in a container or zip lock bag and freeze them. This method of storage can prevent freezer burn which can draw out the moisture from the meat, resulting in tough and dry pork chops.

Use both light and dark soy sauce

There are two types of soy sauce in this recipe. Light soy sauce is for the saltiness. The use of dark soy sauce is more for the color.  If you can’t get the Vietnamese dark soy sauce, use the Indonesia sweet soy sauce (like ABC brand) or the Chinese dark caramel soy sauce which is readily available outside Vietnam.

Alternatively, substitute the dark soy sauce with the equal amount of molasses for improving the color of the pork chops.

Fish sauce

Fish sauce is always exclusively used for Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. Many Vietnamese dishes do not need to add salt since fish sauce is quite salty.

It is the last thing I want to omit if I want to improvise the recipe. Fish sauce is unique to Vietnamese food, and there isn’t any substitute for that.

I use the Squid brand of fish sauce, which is a more well-known brand internationally, which you should be able to get it at most of the places.


Discard the green section and outer sheath of the lemongrass. Use only the bulb which is light green. Bash the lemongrass with the back of the cleaver and cut it crosswise thinly. Mince it finely before adding to the marinade.

Vietnamese pork chops are so different from other pork chops due to the addition of lemongrass. You can either finely minced it with your knife for a small quantity, or grind it together with the shallots with the mortar and pestle, or use the food processor for the larger amount.

There is no such thing as too much lemongrass in the recipe. Increase the amount of lemongrass if you like the flavor. Make sure you mince it very finely or use a food processor to blend it until it turns floss-like. Large pieces of lemongrass will not adhere to the surface and will drop off to the grill during cooking.

I have a video I upload sometimes ago about how to prep lemongrass. Watch this video if you are unsure how to deal with it.

Sugar and honey

The level of sweetness is generally higher for Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese food compare to Western cuisine and Chinese food. You can use either white or brown sugar, but molasses and honey will add extra flavor.

The flavor of caramelized sugar is an essential element of the overall standard of the lemongrass pork chops. Caramelized sugar complements well with the taste of soy and fish sauce. This is also what sets the better Vietnamese pork chops from the mediocre one.

Garlic and shallots

Mince the garlic and shallots (or onion if you do not have shallots on hand) very finely, or make a paste with the food processor. Large pieces of garlic, shallots (and of course lemongrass) cannot provide the flavor to the marinade effectively.

Garlic can burn quickly and leave a bitter taste on the Vietnamese pork chops. Grill over low to medium heat to avoid burning of garlic. If you have doubt to control the temperature correctly, omit the garlic.  (I omit it in this recipe.)


Cut the scallion crosswise into small pieces. Finely chop the white section and add to the marinade.

Use the green section to make the scallion oil as described below.

grilled pork chops

The cooking method- a two-step process

Marinate the pork

Mix all the ingredients in a container. Rub the marinade all over every pork chop evenly.

You need to marinate the pork chops long enough to let the flavor from the lemongrass, and shallots to penetrate into the meat. Let it marinate at least four hours or up to one day in the refrigerator.

Keep the marinated pork chops in the refrigerator, unless you want to keep them for a few days or longer. If you’re going to prepare the chops in advance, keep in freezer safe containers or in the ziplock bags, store in the freezer to prevent freezer burn. Let them defrost at room temperature before cooking.

Grill the pork chops

The simplicity of cooking is the main reason why it is so popular, as that is hardly any chance of making a mistake.

If you have an outdoor grill, that is wonderful.

I stay in the city and only afford to use a grill pan. But it does the job well, although without the extra aroma of the open fire.

Heat up the grill pan with some oil. Place the pork chops and grill each site for about five to six minutes over medium heat until the color changed to golden brown and partially caramelized.

Do not overcook the pork chops. It will lose its moist quickly since it is thin.  Also, do not use high heat, as the pork chops can burn easily due to the caramelized sugar.

Brush with scallion oil before serving. The oil will not only make it glossy and good looking, but it also helps to prevent the pork chops from drying out.

That is one of the easiest meal to cook! Serve with steamed rice, a fried egg on top, and Nuoc Cham sauce to go along.

lemongrass pork chops

Making the Nuoc Cham Recipe – a Vietnamese dipping sauce

This sauce not only excellent for the lemongrass pork chop, but it is also the same dip sauce you have when you order the Vietnamese spring rolls.

The dipping sauce has all the sweet, sour and salty flavor in one bowl, augmented with garlic and some chili. It has an irresistible mixture of flavor that paired perfectly with most of the Vietnamese food.

All you need is to mix 1 cup of hot water with half a cup of white sugar, half a cup of freshly squeezed lime juice and half a cup of fish sauce. Whisk the mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved, Add two teaspoon of freshly minced garlic and finely chopped red bird’s eye chili to it and mix well. It is that simple!
You can keep it in an airtight container up to one week in the refrigerator.

Vietnamese pork chops Recipe

Yield: 3 pork chops

The lemongrass Vietnamese pork chop recipe

Vietnamese pork chops recipe

Easy to prepare quick Vietnamese meal popular around the world.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


For the pork chops (A):

For the scallion oil (mỡ hành)(B)

  • 2 stalk scallions, green part only, chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • A pinch of salt

For the Vietnamese dipping sauce (nước chấm) (C)

  • 100 ml hot water
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 ml lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 50 ml fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp bird’s eye chili, red color preferred, minced


For the pork chop

  1. Pound the pork chops with the meat mallet or the back of the cleaver.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in (A) with the pork chops. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours or up to one day.
  3. Heat up the grill (or a grilled pan). Brush some oil on the grill (or add some to the grill pan/ frying pan). Grill each side of the pork chop for five minutes over medium to low heat.
  4. Remove and serve.

For the scallion oil (Mo Hanh)

  1. Cut the scallion crosswise to very thin pieces.
  2. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a saucepan over medium to high heat.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the scallion and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat,
  4. Once the scallion has all wilted, it is ready to use.

For the dipping sauce

  1. Mix the water, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce until the sugar dissolved.
  2. Add the minced garlic and finely chopped chili.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 740Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 176mgSodium: 3047mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 3gSugar: 39gProtein: 58g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 3/9/2019

Judy L.

Monday 3rd of May 2021

Thank you for sharing this recipe! Absolutely delicious!! It was the highlight of our family dinner & I definitely will be making this recipe again & again.


Sunday 7th of February 2021

This is a wonderful recipe. I've made it once before and I will try a second time. I especially like the sauce!


Thursday 20th of August 2020

hi! I want to try your recipe. I'm just wondering if you could pan fry this pork chop?

KP Kwan

Friday 21st of August 2020

Hi Luisa, You can pan-fry instead of grilling the pork chops. KP Kwan


Tuesday 30th of June 2020

I'm glad I stumbled onto your website for the first time today while looking for a grilled pork chop recipe. First of all, with a few minor tweaks, your recipe was a big hit with the family tonight. And I appreciate the little hacks along the way; the back of the cleaver as a meat mallet - brilliant! I didn't have dark soy sauce and used molasses as a sub. This is a solid Vietnamese lemongrass pork chop recipe that people can make a few modifications to fit their own taste (I added extra 1 Tbsp of lemongrass and cut down on the sugar). Thank you for sharing!

KP Kwan

Wednesday 1st of July 2020

Hi Tam, Thanks for trying my recipe, and I am glad that your family enjoyed it. KP Kwan

Nancy Wee

Saturday 30th of May 2020

Very flavorful pork chops but in your video for marinade you put one tablespoon fish sauce whereas your recipe states two tablespoons. Have tried the recipe, love it but will reduce the fish sauce to one tablespoon as it’s slightly salty. I pan fry instead of pan grill, works well too. Thanks so much.

KP Kwan

Sunday 31st of May 2020

Hi Nancy, Thanks for trying and please adjust the saltiness accordingly. The video is edited and cut to shorten it, so it will miss out on something for sure. Thanks. KP Kwan

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