Vietnamese Caramel Pork


Or good evening, because you probs wouldn’t eat this in the morning. Unless it was 3am and you had a skinful, because Asian food is extra delicious in this case.

Caramel Pork is one of those sweet/salty/fatty flavour combos that just work. Like its friends melon & prosciutto, bacon & bananas (on the BBQ, thank me later), vegemite & avocado, its a match made in Heaven (don’t try to tell me vegemite belongs in Hell, because you’d be wrong).

Don’t skip making the pickled cucumber. It takes it to the next level of awesome, I promise.

If you don’t eat pork, this would also work well with protein that lends its self to slow cooking like chuck beef or lamb shoulder.


Cut pork into large chunks and pat dry with paper towel.

Heat coconut oil in a large pan/pot over a medium heat. Brown the pork pieces then remove from pan and set aside.

In same pan, sauté the diced onion, garlic and ginger to soften. Return pork to pan along with all other ingredients (except the fish sauce). Bring to the boil, then lower heat to a simmer, cover with lid. Simmer for 2 hours.

Remove lid, increase heat slightly for several minutes to reduce and thicken sauce. Stir through the fish sauce. Remove and discard cinnamon stick, star anise, orange peel.

Serve with cauliflower rice, steamed broccoli or Asian greens and cucumber pickle.

To make the pickle…

Mix the liquids and sugar together in bowl and dissolve sugar.

Peel and slice the cucumber into thin strips (a mandolin or a vegetable peeler works well), or if you cant be arsed, a small dice works too. Put cucumber into the dressing and coat well. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.


  • 1kg pork shoulder
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 4 large strips of orange peel
  • 250 ml coconut water
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil for browning pork

For the cucumber pickle…

  • 3 Lebanese cucumbers
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Juice of 1/2 lime