It's hard to believe that when I first made Vietnamese Caramelized Pork almost four years ago in China, I had the hardest time finding fish sauce. Beijing locals know what they like to cook at home, and it's not Cantonese or Southeast Asian. (Regional culinary borders are much stronger in China than they are here, so even wonton wrappers or thinner dumpling wrappers were available in only a handful of markets.) Luckily, finding fish sauce is much easier to find in my neighborhood in Park Slope, whose fish markets and Korean-run bodegas stock fish sauce now and then. (Being a short subway ride from Sunset Park helps too.)
Here's a revised version of the caramelized pork recipe I first posted on December 28, 2007. Updates include more braising liquid and a longer simmering time for more fork-tender, melty pork. I've remade this over the years with both pork shoulder and pork belly, and both are phenomenal with this caramelized sauce. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
I never thought I would have trouble finding fish sauce in China. Growing up, many of the Cantonese dishes my mother cooked contained fish sauce. In New York's and Boston's Chinatowns, Squid Sauce and other varieties of nam pla were staples in every market.Read More