Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Belly (Ba chi rang sa) features savory and lightly sweet pork belly pieces browned with a lot of lemongrass, making the dish smell so good. The dish is best served with rice.
Main dishes in the daily meal rotation of Viet families usually use just a few ingredients. This lemongrass pork belly is no exception. It requires only 6 ingredients and everything is cooked in one pan. The Vietnamese name of this dish is ba chỉ rang sả or ba rọi rang sả.
The main ingredients that make this dish tasty are pork belly, lemongrass, fish sauce, and sugar. You can customize the amount of fish sauce and sugar to your liking. The sugar will round out the taste as well as give the meat a nice golden brown color. We can also add shallots, garlic, and black pepper to enhance the flavors further.
Prepare pork belly
Pork belly consists of 3 layers: the outside skin, a layer of fat and a layer of meat. Try to choose one with a thin layer of fat. If the fat layer is too thick, the dish will be too greasy.
For this particular dish, you don’t need to keep the skin layer. The skin will have a chewy texture (kinda like gummy bears) which some Vietnamese people enjoy. This may sound strange to you, but in Asia, we sometimes eat food just purely for the texture. Anyway, it is totally fine to remove the skin before cooking.
By now, you probably have seen quite a lot of Vietnamese recipes with lemongrass on the blog (such as these lemongrass pork chops, bun cha or lemongrass tofu). In this dish, we only need the white and very light green part of lemongrass stalks. You will need to slice them very thinly on a bias as in the photo above. The green part is very fibrous so we don’t use them in stir-fries.
How to Make Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Belly
It is much quicker and easier to cook ba chi rang sa than another Vietnamese pork belly recipe I shared a while ago. Having said that, this dish still requires a little bit of patience.
First of all, cut the pork into bite-sized pieces (1/2 inch thick or up to 3/4 inch thick) as in the photo below. Marinate with fish sauce and sugar for 15 minutes (or up to 30 minutes at room temperature).
Sauté the aromatics until fragrant and then add the meat. The pork belly and lemongrass will need to be browned over medium heat for 20-25 minutes (no longer than 30 minutes). This method of cooking is called rang cháy cạnh in Vietnamese. The reason is we want the fat and meat to break down enough so that the cooked pork will be flavorful with a nice chew.
Give everything in the pan a stir every few minutes to make sure they are browned evenly. If the heat is too high, the meat will be dry and tough quickly, the lemongrass slices may get burned and we don’t want that.
What to Serve with this Dish
It is best to eat this dish with steamed rice. To make a full meal, you can add a steamed or stir-fried vegetable dish and/or a soup dish. A quick and easy Vietnamese soup you can serve with this dish is tomato egg drop soup.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Belly
- 1 lb pork belly
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 shallots, minced
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 5-6 lemongrass stalks
- cooking oil
- Slice pork belly into bite-sized pieces, about 1/2 inch thick (or up to 3/4 inch thick). Please refer to the video in the post to see how the pork belly pieces look.
- Mix the pork with minced garlic, shallots, fish sauce, sugar and black pepper. Marinate at room temperature for 10-15 minutes (or up to 30 minutes).
- Discard the fibrous outer layer and green part of lemongrass stalks. Slice the white and very light green part very thinly on a bias.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add some cooking oil. Add lemongrass and sauté briefly until you start to smell the aroma.
- Add pork belly to the pan. Keep stirring, toss and cook until the outside of the pork is no longer pink. Then stir and cook every few minutes for about 20-25 minutes until both the pork and lemongrass are golden brown and the pork tastes flavorful. Lower the heat near the end to avoid burning the lemongrass. Adjust seasoning with more fish sauce and sugar to taste.
- Transfer to serving plates and serve hot with steamed rice.