Simple Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Skewers

Vietnamese lemongrass pork skewers
Photo by John Kernick / Styling by Frances Boswell

Adapted from Vietnamese Food Any Day (Ten Speed Press, 2019) by Andrea Nguyen

Vietnamese Food Any Day, the new book from food writer Andrea Nguyen, offers easy, weeknight-friendly dishes that don’t sacrifice on flavor. This recipe adapts her Lemongrass Pork Chops to skewers, which Nguyen says are akin to what’s found at the country’s popular hawker stalls.

To make more of a meal, toss leftover marinade with vegetables to grill and serve as a side.

Four Easy Summer Dips


  • 1½ pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh lemongrass (or jarred lemongrass paste)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1¼ tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon molasses
  • Nước Chấm sauce (recipe below)

If using wooden skewers, soak in water 1 hour before cooking.

Chill pork shoulder in freezer until just firm, about 30 minutes. Combine all other ingredients in food processor, and purée until smooth. Transfer to large bowl.

Remove pork from freezer and cut into very thin slices, about ⅛-inch thick. Marinate slices in purée for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 24 hours in refrigerator.

Thread pork loosely onto skewers. Warm grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill skewers, turning often, until pork is charred and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve with sauce, if desired. Serves 4.

Pair It

Dr. Loosen 2017 Red Slate Dry Riesling (Mosel). “[This pork] brings back memories where my mom would be out grilling this fantastic dish in the backyard,” says Valerie Cao, wine director at Le Colonial, an acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago.

“The nuances of flavor are what make it great, and you don’t want a wine that will overwhelm the delicate balance. This dry Riesling offers acidity…[and] the fruit provides a nice counterpoint to the savory marinade.”

Nước Chấm Ingredients and Directions

This dipping sauce is an essential on every Vietnamese table, and makes an ideal dip for these skewers. Add minced garlic and chilies or chili flakes if you’d like a little extra oomph.

Stir 2½ tablespoons sugar, ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice and ¼ cup fish sauce with ½ cup warm water until sugar dissolves. Adjust flavors, to taste.

Published on May 25, 2019