Vietnamese Caramelized Pork (Thit kho to)

Thit kho to – a sticky-sweet pork dish with funky undertones of nuoc mam – is served on Tet Nguyen Dan, Vietnam’s New Year and its most important holiday.


  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 ½ pounds pork belly or butt, sliced into thin, inch-long strips
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 dash sesame oil
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced, green part only
  • Rice for serving
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

      1800 calories; 150 grams fat; 54 grams saturated fat; 70 grams monounsaturated fat; 16 grams polyunsaturated fat; 83 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 80 grams sugars; 28 grams protein; 204 milligrams cholesterol; 3237 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

4 servings


  1. Cover bottom of a large, heavy skillet with one cup sugar and place over medium low heat. As soon as it melts and turns golden, add pork, raise heat to medium, and stir until coated. (Sugar will become sticky and may harden, but it will re-melt as it cooks, forming a sauce.)
  2. Stir in remaining sugar, salt, pepper and fish sauce. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover, stir in garlic and oil and lower to simmer to reduce sauce for about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in Vidalia onions and cook until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Pork should be caramelized; if not, raise heat and sauté while sauce further reduces. Transfer to serving bowl, and sprinkle with scallion greens.

45 minutes

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