Meet your new favourite pork mince recipe – Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Bowls! A super fast pork stir fry made with ground pork infused with flavours from the streets of Vietnam.
With just a handful of ingredients you probably already have, it’s sweet, salty, beautifully caramelised and absolutely irresistible. It’s the quick and easy version of Vietnamese Caramel Pork, a famous Vietnamese food speciality!
Vietnamese stir fry – Pork Mince recipe
Ground pork – which we call “mince” here in Australia – is extremely good value.
It’s also just about the least sexy protein I know. Don’t you think? A dry aged piece of New York strip is sexy. Quail is gourmet. Oysters are….well, we’ve all heard that oysters are an aphrodisiac, right? 😉
Mince is…well, it just isn’t fancy. And yet, it makes it into my shopping trolley every single week because it’s such good value and so versatile. Sure, there are the usual suspects you can make with mince. Bolognese, meatballs, burgers, Meatloaf, Shepherds Pie – to name a few of the more common ones.
But sometimes, it’s nice to do something a little different. Like this Vietnamese pork stir fry.
The crazy thing about this pork mince recipe is that the ingredients list is so short. Chili, garlic, ginger, sugar and fish sauce. That’s it. Seriously!
Can I make this pork stir fry with chicken or beef mince?
Yes! This is fabulous made with chicken, beef and turkey!
“This is a terrific ground pork recipe that tastes and sounds so exotic…. yet it’s so easy!”
The secret to this ground pork is the caramelisation. It is rare to see recipes made with ground meat that are cooked this way so the meat is caramelised.
But those golden brown bits you see – they are the crowning glory in this recipe that takes it from a rather unappetising pale brown-grey colour to a golden brown pile of deliciousness that you will want to eat with a spoon straight out of the skillet. (Go on – you deserve it – cook’s privileges!)
What you need
Short list – see? I didn’t exaggerate!!
Lemongrass is optional – it’s not a pantry staple and also it’s not an ingredient in traditional Vietnamese Caramel Pork. But lemongrass flavour is certainly at home in this dish!
How to make this Vietnamese pork mince stir fry
This pork mince stir fry comes together as quickly as any stir fry. Once you start cooking, you’ll be done in 6 minutes flat.
Authentic Vietnamese roots
I am not 1000% sure that this is strictly authentic Vietnamese but the combination of ingredients I use most certainly are and it is my replica of dishes I have tried at Vietnamese restaurants here in Australia. It is an adaptation of the marinade I use in my Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl and essentially the quick version of Vietnamese Caramel Pork, a famous Vietnamese food speciality.
How to serve it
Serve this pork stir fry over rice and eat it with a spoon! This pork mince recipe doesn’t have a sauce, but you don’t need it because the flavour is intensified and the pork mince mixes all through the rice which flavour it.
To complete your meal, try these:
- a fresh side salad like this Asian Slaw;
- add a side of cucumber and tomato wedges, pictured (very classic South East Asian way to add vegetables to a meal); or
- shredded lettuce, cucumber and carrots which makes it more like the classic Vietnamese Noodle Bowls.
Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Get your Vietnamese fix!
- Bun Cha – Vietnamese Meatballs (Noodle Bowl)
- Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
- Vietnamese Caramel Pork – and the Chicken version!
- Lemongrass Chicken – one of my favourite things to grill!
- Vietnamese Noodle Salad
- Browse all Vietnamese recipes
More quick pork mince recipes
- Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans
- Bun Cha – Vietnamese Meatballs (Noodle Bowl)
- San Choy Bow (Chinese Lettuce Cups)
- Chinese Pork Mince with Noodles
- Egg Foo Young (Chinese Omelette with Pork)
Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Bowls
- 1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil (I use peanut oil)
- 1/2 onion , finely diced (brown, white or yellow) (~1/2 cup)
- 2 tsp ginger , grated or minced
- 2 garlic cloves , minced (2 tsp paste)
- 1 birds eye or Thai chili , deseeded and finely chopped (Note 1)
- 1 lb / 500g ground pork (mince) (Note 2)
- 5 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 green onion stem , finely sliced
- Sliced red chilli, tomato, cucumber (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat.
- Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chili and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the pork mince and cook for 2 minutes or so until white all over, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.
- Add the sugar and fish sauce. Stir, then leave it to cook without touching until all the juices cook out and the pork starts caramelised - about 2 minutes. Then stir it and leave it again, without stirring, for around 30 seconds to get more caramelisation. Repeat twice more until caramelised to your taste.
- Serve over rice or vermicelli noodles, garnished with sliced scallions/shallots. I like to have chunks of plain cucumber and carrots on the side which is a classic way of making Vietnamese bowls.
Originally published November 2015. Updated September 2019 with new writing, some new photos, brand new video and most importantly, new Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
Dozer on the wrong side of the counter at the pet shop!!!
(PS yes you spy cat treats, buying a present for a friend!)