Nuoc Cham Pork Belly Makes Vietnamese Cuisine the Indulgent Food It Was Probably Never Meant to Be

May 11, 2018

When one goes for Vietnamese food, one usually expects a balance in colors as well as flavors. It is one of the hallmarks of the cuisine, with dishes being heavily flavored with whole herbs that are fresh enough to crunch on. And while we love a traditional Vietnamese dish, we decided to stray away from that beloved balance in favor of something a little more indulgent.

It takes time for this hunk of meat to cook, but once it does, hubba hubba.

Filipinos love a good pork belly. Combine that with a killer marinade, and you’ve got yourself a dish fit for a dinner party. For the marinade, we took ingredients that typically go into a Vietnamese nuoc cham and soaked pork belly in it overnight. This recipe takes some time and patience because of the thick cut, but when you slice into the juicy belly you’ll find that the wait was well-worth it. The result is a tender meat that spills out the richness of the multidimensional flavor that nuoc cham is known for. All it needs is some rice to pour that reduced marinade all over.

  • Serves: 4-8 people
  • Active time: 3 hours
  • Total time: 15 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium


Nuoc Cham Pork Belly

  • 8 bone whole pork belly, about 2kg
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 red chilies, split in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar


  1. In a bowl, combine fish sauce, lime juice, red chili, garlic, and brown sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add in the pork belly and marinate for four hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F.
  3. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat the skin dry. Set the marinade aside.
  4. Place the pork on a baking tray and into the 425F oven for 30 minutes, until the whole belly has begun to brown.
  5. Turn heat down to 375F and continue to cook for about 1.5 hours. If the pork is getting too brown in the oven, tent with foil to prevent further darkening.
  6. While the pork is cooking, cook the marinade over medium until thickened, about 8 minutes. Set aside.
  7. Remove pork from oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 160F and rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
  8. Serve with reduced marinade.
Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

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