Holiday Feature

Skewered BBQ Pork

Nem Nuong


This dish is almost like a Thai satay without the spices. The traditional way to make this is to pound the pork so that it can be molded around skewers. This can be labor-intensive, but the results of pounded pork and minced pork are quite different. The pork skewers are traditionally served with noodles, lettuce, mint, and nuoc mam.


1 lb. leg of pork with some fat on it
2 doves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp nuoc mam (fish sauce)
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp rice wine or sherry
1 tbsp ground rice
1 lb. fresh rice noodles
1 small lettuce
Sprigs of mint


Cut pork into pieces and pound roughly in a pestle and mortar. Add crushed garlic, nuoc mam, sugar, and rice wine. Add ground rice and knead mixture until it is of sausage meat consistency. Mold onto skewers (they should look like long lollipops) and barbecue or broil until brown and crusty. Drop noodles into boiling water and blanch for 1 minute, then drain and keep warm. Serve skewers on a plate with a few lettuce leaves, noodles, and mint with fish sauce on the side. Each diner assembles his or her own concoction, removing the pork from the skewers and wrapping it in a lettuce leaf. Serve with Nuoc Leo, a rich, meaty sauce.


Nuoc Leo Sauce
1/2 cup of glutinous rice
2 cups meat stock
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp oil
4 ounces minced pork
2 tbsp yellow bean sauce
1 tbsp nuoc mam (fish sauce)
2 tbsp chili sauce
4 tbsp roasted peanuts, pounded


In a large bowl, soak glutinous rice in enough water to cover for 2 hours. Drain, bring to a boil in a large saucepan, cover, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until dry and set. Crush garlic and sugar together. Heat oil and fry garlic until brown. Add pork, bean sauce, nuoc mam, and chili sauce and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring well. Add cooked rice and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in nuts and remove to cool before serving as a sauce with barbecue dishes.

Recipe from:

A Little Vietnamese Cookbook
by Terry Tan
Illustrated by Sherry Tay
$7.95 (Hardback)
Chronicle Books
ISBN: 0-86291-8118-1
Recipe reprinted by permission.


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This page created December 1998; modified November 2006