Authentic Thịt Ba Rọi Kho Gạch Tôm Recipe: A Vietnamese Delight

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine diving into a dish that perfectly marries the rich, savory flavors of pork belly with the subtle sweetness of shrimp paste. That’s the magic of thịt ba rọi kho gạch tôm, a beloved Vietnamese classic that has warmed the hearts and homes of many. This dish is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in Vietnamese cuisine, highlighting how a few ingredients can create a profound depth of flavor.

The origins of this dish are rooted in the everyday culinary practices of Vietnam, where it’s cherished for both its flavor and its comforting qualities. Cooking thịt ba rọi kho gạch tôm involves caramelizing pork belly to golden perfection and then simmering it gently with shrimp paste and a blend of traditional spices. The result? A delectably tender pork dish with layers of umami that you’ll find irresistibly inviting.


For this beloved Vietnamese dish, you’ll need a combination of succulent pork belly and aromatic shrimp paste, along with a few additional essentials to bring out the rich flavors.

For the Pork Belly

  • 1.5 pounds of pork belly, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (for caramelizing)
  • 1/4 cup coconut water

For the Shrimp Paste

  • 3 tablespoons shrimp paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced (optional for added heat)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 small bunch of scallions, chopped for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

Required Tools and Equipment

To prepare the thịt ba rọi kho gạch tôm effectively, you’ll need various kitchen tools that will help in executing the steps properly and achieving the perfect texture and flavor of this beloved Vietnamese dish.

Cooking Utensils

  • Heavy-bottomed Pot or Dutch Oven: Opt for a heavy-duty pot or Dutch oven to ensure even heat distribution while simmering the pork belly and shrimp paste. This is crucial to avoid burning and sticking, providing a steady, gentle cooking process which allows the flavors to meld beautifully.
  • Stirring Spoon: A wooden or heat-resistant silicone spoon is ideal for stirring the ingredients. It helps in mixing without scraping the bottom of your pot.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measuring leads to the best results. You will need these to measure out the shrimp paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, and other seasonings to ensure the dish’s balance of flavors is just right.

Preparation Tools

  • Sharp Knife: Precision is key when preparing pork belly slices. A sharp knife helps in cutting clean, even slices that cook uniformly.
  • Cutting Board: Use a sturdy cutting board for chopping pork, garlic, shallot, and chili. This ensures a safe and stable surface for your prep work.
  • Bowls: You’ll need several bowls of various sizes to organize and hold your prepped ingredients before cooking begins.
  • Ladle: A ladle is handy for skimming any foam that surfaces during the cooking process, resulting in a clearer, cleaner sauce.

Each piece of equipment plays a pivotal role in creating this traditional Vietnamese dish. By equipping yourself with these tools, you ensure the cooking process is smooth and the dish turns out as authentic and delicious as intended.


Get ready to combine the rich flavors of pork belly with the unique taste of shrimp paste in this traditional Vietnamese dish.

Marinating the Pork

Begin by cutting 1 pound of pork belly into 1-inch thick pieces. Ensure each piece has a balanced ratio of meat to fat for optimal flavor and texture. In a large bowl, mix the following ingredients to create your marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed black pepper

Add the pork belly pieces to the bowl and toss them thoroughly to ensure each piece is well-coated with the marinade. Let the pork marinate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature to allow the flavors to penetrate deeply.

Prepping the Shrimp Paste

While the pork is marinating, prepare the shrimp paste mixture which will be crucial for creating the dish’s signature flavor. In a small bowl, combine:

  • 2 tablespoons of shrimp paste
  • 1 finely chopped chili (adjust according to your heat preference)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (this helps balance the saltiness of the shrimp paste)

Mix these ingredients until well blended. Set aside until needed. This mixture will later be added to the caramelized pork, enriching the dish with layers of savory and slightly spicy tastes.

Cooking Instructions

Begin transforming your marinated pork and prepared shrimp paste into a delightful Vietnamese dish with these step-by-step instructions.

Browning the Pork

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pot.
  2. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the marinated pork belly slices into the pot. Avoid overcrowding the pan, which might require cooking in batches.
  3. Sear each side of the pork belly for about 3 to 4 minutes until a golden-brown crust forms. This step is crucial as it enhances the flavor through caramelization.
  4. Remove the browned pork belly from the pot and set it aside on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Cooking the Shrimp Paste

  1. In the same pot, lower the heat to medium and use the rendered pork fat to sauté 1 tablespoon of finely minced garlic and 2 chopped shallots until they turn fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the prepared shrimp paste mixture to the pot. Stir continuously to prevent burning and ensure that the paste cooks evenly.
  3. Cook the shrimp paste for about 5 minutes, or until it deepens in color and releases a rich, savory aroma. The intensity of the shrimp paste is toned down as it cooks, blending smoothly with the added spices.
  1. Return the browned pork belly to the pot with the now cooked shrimp paste. Mix gently to ensure that the pork pieces are well-coated with the mixture.
  2. Pour in enough water to just cover the ingredients, then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid and let it simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. During this process, the pork belly becomes tender and the flavors meld beautifully.
  4. Halfway through simmering, adjust the seasoning with additional fish sauce or a pinch of sugar if needed.
  5. Once the pork belly is tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pot from heat.
  6. Serve hot, garnishing with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime to enhance the flavors further.

These steps will guide you through creating a robust and aromatic dish that highlights the best of Vietnamese culinary traditions.

Assembling the Dish

Now that your ingredients are prepared and cooking is underway, let’s focus on how to perfectly assemble thịt ba rọi kho gạch tôm for the final cooking phase.

Layering Ingredients

Begin by arranging the caramelized pork belly slices at the bottom of your clay pot or heavy saucepan. This layer serves as the foundation for building the dish’s deep flavors. Next, evenly spread the sautéed shrimp paste mixture over the pork. Ensure the shrimp paste covers the pork slices completely to infuse the meat with its rich, savory essence during simmering. If you have prepared garlic and shallots, sprinkle them on top now. Their aromatics will permeate the dish, enhancing the overall complexity of flavors.

Final Cooking Steps

Pour the coconut water gently into the pot, making sure not to disturb the layers you’ve just created. The liquid should just cover the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a tight lid and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the pork belly is tender and the flavors have melded beautifully. Occasionally, gently stir the contents to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking, but try to maintain the integrity of the layers as much as possible.

During the last 10 minutes of cooking, adjust the seasoning with fish sauce and a pinch of sugar to balance out the flavors. Once done, turn off the heat and allow the dish to rest for a few minutes before serving. This waiting period helps the flavors to set and intensify. Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime for added zest. The aromatic and tender thịt ba rọi kho will offer a warming and satisfying meal, with layers of flavor that speak to the heart of Vietnamese cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Once your thịt ba rọi kho gạch tôm has simmered to perfection, revealing a tender texture and a deeply aromatic essence, it’s time to consider the best ways to serve this delightful dish. Here are some popular options to enhance your dining experience:

With Steamed Rice

The classic companion to this savory pork belly dish is a plate of freshly steamed rice. The fluffy grains make an excellent sponge for the rich, flavorful sauce of the dish. Spoon the pork and sauce over a hot bed of rice to enjoy a comforting and fulfilling meal.

Alongside Vegetables

To balance the richness of the pork belly, consider serving it with a side of steamed or stir-fried vegetables. Bok choy, green beans, or a mixture of seasonal vegetables lightly seasoned with garlic and soy sauce can add freshness and a crisp texture contrast to your meal.

Vermicelli Noodles

For a lighter take, pair your thịt ba rọi kho gạch tôm with a bowl of vermicelli noodles. The mild flavor of the noodles complements the bold flavors of the sauce, creating a delightful harmony on your palate.

Condiments and Garnishes

Enhance your dish with some traditional garnishes. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro, sliced scallions, and a few squeezes of lime juice can elevate the flavors. Additionally, a side of chili sauce or a small dish of pickled vegetables can add an extra layer of taste and texture to your meal.

Choose one or combine a few of these serving suggestions to tailor the meal to your taste preferences. Each option offers a unique way to enjoy the rich and aromatic flavors of your thịt ba rọi kho gạch tôm.


Ready to dive into a culinary adventure? Thịt ba rọi kho gạch tôm is more than just a meal; it’s a celebration of rich flavors that are sure to impress at your next dinner. Whether you’re serving it up with a simple bowl of steamed rice or jazzing it up with noodles and fresh herbs, this dish is versatile enough to cater to any palate. Don’t forget the final touch of cilantro and a squeeze of lime to elevate the experience. So go ahead give this recipe a try and bring a taste of Vietnam right into your kitchen!

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