Caramelized Pork Belly & Shrimp

This flavorful Vietnamese dish is easy to make and does not need any spices, as the flavor comes from the caramelization process. It is improved with an easy-to-make sauce, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have the ingredients. Caramelized pork belly and shrimp is very easy to make and takes a little less than an hour. It’s best served with rice. The Feral Cooks have yet to meet anyone who ate this and didn’t ask for the recipe.


6 Tablespoons sugar
1-pound slab rindless pork belly, cut lengthwise into 1/3″ thick slices, then crosswise into 5″ lengths
1.5 cups water, divided
1 pound large, uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined with tails intact
2 green onions, thinly sliced into strips (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
For the sauce (optional)
5 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 red Jalapeno chile, minced (with seeds)
1 large garlic clove, minced


1. To make the optional sauce, just whisk all the ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 30-120 minutes.
2. How to make the pork belly and shrimp:
3. Sprinkle sugar over bottom of heavy large skillet NOT nonstick—the Feral Cooks use cast iron.
4. Place the skillet over medium heat without stirring, until sugar melts, then caramelizes to medium golden color, about 7 min.
5. Arrange pork belly strips in caramel in single layer. Pour 1/2 cup water over. Cook until water evaporates, turning pork occasionally, 12-14 min.
6. Add 1/2 cup more water. Cook until water evaporates again, turning pork occasionally, 12-14 min.
7. Add 1/2 cup water one final time. Cook until pork is tender, deep brown, and crisp and water has evaporated again.
8. Remove skillet from heat and remove pork to a plate.
9. Cut each pork strip in half, crosswise. Sprinkle lightly w/salt and generously w/pepper.
10. Return skillet w/drippings to med-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until golden, turning once, about 2 min.
11. Return pork to skillet. Toss pork and shrimp until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 1 min.
12. Mound on platter. Sprinkle with optional onions and cilantro.
13. Serve w/rice and sauce. If possible, use Jasmine rice, as it has such a nice flavor.
Credit: Foodista

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