Ultimate Thit Xa Xiu Recipe: A Guide to Perfect Vietnamese Roast Pork

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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Imagine walking through the bustling streets of Vietnam, where the sweet and savory aromas of thit xa xiu tantalize your senses. This beloved dish, with its roots deeply embedded in Cantonese cuisine, is known for its rich mahogany color and irresistible char. Often seen hanging in the windows of local eateries, this roasted pork delicacy is not just a feast for the eyes but a celebration of flavors.


After being captivated by the tantalizing aromas and visual allure of thit xa xiu on the bustling streets of Vietnam, let’s dive into the ingredients needed to recreate this colorful and aromatic dish.

For the Marinade

To infuse the pork with deep, rich flavors that characterize thit xa xiu, gather the following:

  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maltose
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder

For the Pork

Select the right cut and prepare it for marinating:

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into long strips about 2 inches thick
  • Sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Sliced green onions
  • Red chili slices, for a hint of spice

Required Tools and Equipment

After exploring the aromatic and visual allure of thit xa xiu and gathering the essential ingredients, you’ll need specific tools and equipment to precisely prepare and cook this captivating Vietnamese dish. Here’s what you need to ensure your cooking process is as smooth and successful as the street vendors of Vietnam:

Mixing Bowls

Start with a set of mixing bowls. You will need at least two bowls: one for mixing the marinade and another for tossing the pork strips with the marinade to ensure they are well-coated.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Accuracy is key in the flavors of thit xa xiu. Use measuring cups and spoons for precise portions of oyster sauce, soy sauce, and the fragrant five-spice powder.


A whisk is essential for thoroughly blending the marinade ingredients together. This ensures that the flavors meld perfectly.

Plastic Wrap or a Sealable Bag

Once your pork is marinated, it needs to be refrigerated. You can use plastic wrap to cover the bowl or a sealable bag which can be more effective in ensuring the pork strips are evenly marinated.

Roasting Pan or Baking Sheet

For cooking, a roasting pan or a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil will work. It’s important to have a setup that allows the heat to circulate freely around the pork strips for an evenly cooked result.

Oven or Charcoal Grill

Depending on your preference or the authentic touch you wish to achieve, you can use an oven preheated to the right temperature or a traditional charcoal grill. The grill adds a distinct smoky flavor typical to the streets of Vietnam.

Internal Thermometer

To ensure your pork is cooked safely and perfectly, an internal thermometer is a great tool. Pork should reach an internal temperature of 145°F before it’s safe to eat.

Chopping Board and Sharp Knife

Finally, for serving, you’ll need a sturdy chopping board and a sharp knife to slice the cooked thit xa xiu into thin strips, ready to be garnished and served.

Each of these tools plays a pivotal role in the creation of thit xa xiu, ensuring each bite is as delicious as it is authentic. Equip yourself properly, and you’re all set to embark on this culinary adventure.

Preparation Instructions

Now that you are ready with all your ingredients and equipment, let’s start the exciting process of making your thit xa xiu. This section will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure the flavors meld perfectly and the pork is cooked to succulent perfection.

Marinating the Pork

  1. Begin by placing your pork shoulder strips into a large mixing bowl. Make sure the pork is cut uniformly to ensure even cooking.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce, 2 teaspoons of five-spice powder, and 1 tablespoon of honey to create your marinade. This combination will infuse your pork with the iconic sweet and savory flavors of thit xa xiu.
  3. Pour the marinade over the pork strips, ensuring each piece is thoroughly coated. Use your hands or a spoon to massage the marinade into the meat for deeper flavor penetration.
  4. Once marinated, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the pork into a sealable plastic bag. Place it in the refrigerator and let it marinate for at least 3 hours, ideally overnight. The longer the pork marinates, the more flavorful it will be.
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) if you are using it to cook the pork. Alternatively, if you prefer grilling, prepare your charcoal or gas grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup and place a wire rack on top. The rack will help circulate heat evenly around the pork.
  3. If cooking in the oven, ensure the rack is positioned in the middle for optimal heat distribution. If using a grill, make sure your grill grates are clean and oiled to prevent sticking.
  4. Have your internal thermometer handy to check the doneness of the pork towards the end of cooking. The ideal internal temperature for perfectly cooked thit xa xiu is 145°F (63°C).
  5. Arrange all your garnishing ingredients — sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and red chili — near your cooking station for easy access when serving.

Cooking Directions

Get ready to transform your marinated pork into a succulent delight with these straightforward roasting and basting instructions.

Roasting the Pork

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) or fire up your charcoal grill to a medium-high heat if you prefer to cook outdoors.
  2. Remove the pork shoulder strips from the marinade, shaking off any excess liquid. Reserve the marinade for basting.
  3. Lay the pork strips flat on a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil if using an oven, or directly on the grill grate if you’re using a charcoal grill. Make sure the pork is not overcrowded to ensure even cooking.
  4. Insert an internal thermometer into the thickest part of one of the pork strips.
  5. Roast or grill the pork for about 25 to 30 minutes. The goal is to reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) to ensure the pork is cooked through but remains tender and juicy.
  1. While the pork is cooking, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan.
  2. Bring the marinade to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. This step is crucial as it concentrates the flavors and kills any bacteria from the raw pork.
  3. Baste the pork with this heated marinade every 10 minutes during the cooking process. Use a basting brush to evenly distribute the marinade over the pork, adding flavor and moisture.
  4. In the last few minutes of cooking, apply a final coat of marinade to the pork and turn up the heat in the oven or on the grill to caramelize the surface slightly. This gives the pork a delightful glaze and enhances the flavor.
  5. Once done, remove the pork from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it even more tender and tasty.

Follow these steps meticulously to achieve the perfect thit xa xiu, ready to be garnished, and served as discussed in the previous sections.

Assembling the Dish

Now that your thit xa xiu is beautifully roasted with a delightful glaze, it’s time to assemble the dish for serving.

Slicing the Pork

Once the pork has rested and is cool enough to handle, place it on a clean cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice the pork into thin, even strips about half an inch thick. Ensure each slice is consistent to allow for even presentation and cooking if you plan to reheat. The pork should be succulent and slightly pink in the center, with the edges caramelized and crispy.

Serving Suggestions

To serve your thit xa xiu, spread the pork slices neatly on a platter. Drizzle any remaining juices over the meat to enhance its richness. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds, and garnish with fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, and red chili slices for a pop of color and flavor. For a complete meal, serve the thit xa xiu alongside steamed white rice or rice noodles, and consider adding a side of pickled vegetables or a fresh cucumber salad to balance the richness of the pork. This dish is perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion, ensuring a delicious and visually appealing meal that captures the essence of traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Preparing thit xa xiu in advance can save you considerable time, especially if you’re planning to serve this delightful dish for a special event or a family gathering. Follow these simple make-ahead instructions to ensure that your thit xa xiu is not only delicious but also ready to be finished off when you need it.

Marinating the Pork

  1. Prepare the Marinade: Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, five-spice powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Ensure the mixture is thoroughly blended to create a harmonious flavor.
  2. Marinate the Pork: Slice the pork shoulder into even strips and coat them generously with the marinade. Make sure each piece is well-covered to absorb the rich flavors.
  3. Refrigeration: Place the marinated pork strips in a sealable plastic bag or a container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate the pork for at least 4 hours, though overnight is preferable for deeper flavor infusion.

Pre-Prepping Garnishes

  1. Chop the Garnishes: While your pork marinates, chop the cilantro, green onions, and red chili slices. Storing them in separate, airtight containers in the fridge will keep them fresh.
  2. Toast the Sesame Seeds: Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until they’re golden brown. Let them cool, then transfer to a small container. This can enhance their nutty flavor and crunch.
  1. Prepare Serving Plates: Have your serving plates ready the day before, especially if you are hosting a large gathering. Arrange the plates in a stack and cover them to keep dust-free.
  2. Organizing Cutlery and Napkins: Arrange all necessary cutlery and napkins beforehand. This setup allows you to focus solely on cooking and serving on the day of the event.

By tackling these tasks ahead of time, you can concentrate on roasting and assembling the thit xa xiu when it’s time to serve, ensuring everything comes together flawlessly for your meal.


Now that you’ve got all the tips and tricks for making thit xa xiu you’re ready to bring a taste of Vietnam right into your kitchen. Whether you’re planning a special dinner or just want to spice up your meal routine this dish is sure to impress. Remember the magic is in the marinade and the beauty in the presentation. Gather your friends and family and enjoy the rich flavors and joyful moments that come with homemade thit xa xiu. Happy cooking!

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