Thit Heo Quay Recipe: Crispy Vietnamese Roast Pork Guide

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine biting into a slice of perfectly crispy-skinned pork that’s juicy and flavorful on the inside. That’s the magic of Thit Heo Quay, a beloved Vietnamese roast pork dish that’s as much a treat for the senses as it is for the palate. Known for its tantalizingly crispy skin and tender meat, this dish is a staple at celebrations and family gatherings.


To recreate the much-loved Thit Heo Quay at home, start by gathering all necessary ingredients. This will ensure your roast pork has that signature crispy skin and delectable juicy flavors.

For the Pork

  • 3 pounds of pork belly, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

For the Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli pepper, finely sliced (adjust to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons warm water

Assemble these ingredients to start your culinary adventure with a traditional Vietnamese favorite that promises to bring a feast to your senses.

Required Tools and Equipment

After securing the essential ingredients for Thit Heo Quay, you will need specific tools and equipment to ensure your pork belly roasts to perfection, achieving that iconic crispy skin and juicy interior. Here’s what you’ll need:

Roasting Pan and Rack

A sturdy roasting pan paired with a rack is crucial. The rack elevates the pork belly, allowing heat to circulate evenly around the meat, which is essential for achieving uniformly crispy skin.

Sharp Knife

A sharp knife is indispensable for scoring the pork belly’s skin. This step is critical as it helps the fat render properly during roasting, contributing to the crispiness of the skin.

Meat Thermometer

To ensure your pork is cooked through but still succulent, use a meat thermometer. This tool will help you monitor the internal temperature of the pork belly, ensuring it reaches the safe yet optimum point for texture and moisture.


An oven with reliable temperature control is essential. Consistent heat is key to cooking your Thit Heo Quay evenly, helping to avoid any raw or overly dry patches.

Aluminum Foil

You will need aluminum foil to cover parts of the pork belly during the roasting process if they begin to overly brown. This prevents burning and ensures even cooking and color.

Kitchen Brushes

Have a couple of kitchen brushes on hand for applying marinades and glazes. A good brush ensures even distribution of flavor-enhancing ingredients over the pork belly.

Mortar and Pestle

For the authentic preparation of your marinade and dipping sauces, a mortar and pestle will allow you to crush and blend spices and other ingredients to release their full flavors.

Equipping yourself with these tools ensures that you are all set for a successful cooking adventure, bringing a taste of Vietnam to your kitchen with Thit Heo Quay.

Prep Work

Before diving into the cooking process, it’s crucial to prepare your ingredients properly to maximize the flavors and textures of Thit Heo Quay.

Cleaning the Pork

Start by purchasing a quality piece of pork belly, ensuring it has a good balance of meat and fat for optimal flavor and texture. Wash the pork belly under cold running water to remove any impurities. Pat it dry thoroughly with paper towels to ensure the skin gets perfectly crispy. If there are any stray hairs on the skin, singe them off carefully with a small kitchen torch or over an open flame. This step is crucial as it affects the final texture of the skin.

Preparing the Marinade

For the marinade, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of five-spice powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of Hoisin sauce

In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar, and five-spice powder. Mix these dry ingredients well. In a mortar and pestle, crush the minced garlic into a paste, ensuring it releases its aromatic oils. Combine this garlic paste with the Hoisin sauce, then stir into your dry ingredients to create a thick, rich marinade.

Marinating the Pork

Take your cleaned pork belly and score the skin with shallow, criss-cross cuts. This increases the surface area and allows the marinade to penetrate deeper, enhancing the flavor and helping the skin to blister and become crunchy upon cooking. Rub the marinade evenly over the meat side of the pork belly, avoiding the skin to keep it dry and salt-free at this stage. Allow the pork belly to marinate in the refrigerator, skin side up, for at least 4 hours, though overnight is optimal. This extended marinating time helps to infuse the meat with all the flavorful spices and prepares it for roasting. Remember, the longer you marinate, the more flavorful the dish will be.

Cooking Instructions

Let’s plunge into the most exciting part of making Thit Heo Quay: cooking the perfect roast. Follow these detailed steps to ensure your pork belly turns out crispy on the outside and succulently tender on the inside.

Roasting the Pork

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). This optimal temperature is crucial for achieving that desirable crispy skin.
  2. Place your marinated pork belly on a wire rack inside a roasting pan. The rack ensures even heat distribution and allows the fat to drip away, resulting in a crispier skin.
  3. Pour enough water into the bottom of the roasting pan to cover it about an inch deep. The water prevents the fat from splattering and helps maintain the oven’s humidity, keeping the meat moist.
  4. Roast the pork belly in the preheated oven. The initial high heat helps puff up the scored skin into the quintessential bubbly crackling.
  5. After 45 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Continue roasting for approximately another hour. If the skin isn’t crisping as desired, you can increase the temperature back up for the last 10-15 minutes.
  6. During roasting, occasionally baste the meat (not the skin) with the pan juices. This step enhances the flavor and prevents the meat from drying out.
  1. To ensure your Thit Heo Quay is cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) to guarantee that the pork is both safe to eat and tender.
  2. Visually inspect the pork as well. The skin should be deep golden brown and bubbly, and the meat should feel firm to the touch.
  3. Once done, remove the pork belly from the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring every bite is moist and flavorful.
  4. Slice the pork belly into bite-sized pieces, ideally with a serrated knife to easily cut through the crispy skin. Enjoy the distinctive crackle of the skin and the rich, savory flavors of the meat.

Assembling the Dish

After your pork has been perfectly roasted, achieving that irresistible crispy skin and succulent interior, it’s now time to bring everything together for serving.

Cutting the Pork

Once the Thit Heo Quay has finished cooking, let it rest for about 10 minutes. This waiting period allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring that each slice is moist and flavorful. Place the rested pork belly on a sturdy cutting board, skin-side up. Using a sharp chef’s knife, carefully slice through the crispy skin, applying a firm, steady pressure to make clean cuts. Aim for slices about a half-inch thick, which are ideal for serving.

Preparing Sides and Condiments

To complement your Thit Heo Quay, prepare sides that enhance the rich flavors and textures of the dish. A common pairing is steamed white rice or sticky rice, which balances the robustness of the pork. Additionally, consider making a fresh vegetable side, like a quick cucumber salad or pickled vegetables, to add a refreshing crunch and acidity that cuts through the fat. For condiments, a small bowl of hoisin sauce or a homemade chili garlic sauce can elevate the dish with sweet and spicy notes. Arrange these sides and condiments neatly on the table, allowing guests to tailor each bite according to their taste preferences.

Serving Suggestions

After cooking your sumptuous Thit Heo Quay, serve it in a way that complements its rich flavor and crispy texture. Here’s how you can turn your meal into an unforgettable dining experience:

  • Steamed Rice: The subtle, soft flavor of steamed white rice makes it the perfect backdrop for Thit Heo Quay. The rice absorbs the pork juices, blending marvelously with its robust flavors.
  • Fresh Herbs and Salad: Pair the pork with a refreshing side salad. A mix of fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, and a crunchy green vegetable such as lettuce or cucumber slices, brightens up the dish. Drizzle a bit of lime juice and sprinkle some salt for an enhanced taste.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Serve a side of pickled carrots and daikon radish. Their tangy flavor cuts through the richness of the pork, adding a delightful crunch and vibrancy to your plate.
  • Dipping Sauces: Offer a variety of dipping sauces such as hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce, and fish sauce. Each one offers a unique flavor that complements the crispy pork excellently.
  • Noodle Bowls: If you prefer a more filling option, serve the sliced pork over a bowl of Vietnamese vermicelli noodles, garnished with crushed peanuts, green onions, and a splash of fish sauce.
  • Bánh Mì Sandwiches: For a casual dining option, stuff chunks of pork along with pickled vegetables, fresh cilantro, and a smear of liver pâté inside a crusty baguette to create a mouth-watering Bánh Mì.

Each of these serving suggestions not only enhances the flavors of the Thit Heo Quay but also brings a touch of traditional Vietnamese culinary artistry to your table. Choose one or mix several options depending on the occasion and your guests’ preferences.


Ready to dive into the rich flavors of Thit Heo Quay? With the steps you’ve learned you’re all set to master this beloved Vietnamese dish. Remember the joy is in the journey—from marinating to achieving that perfect crispy skin. Whether you’re planning a festive gathering or a simple family meal the versatility of Thit Heo Quay makes it a superb choice. Serve it up with the suggested pairings and watch it become a new favorite in your culinary repertoire. Enjoy the process and savor every bite!

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