Vietnamese Five Spice Pork

If you’ve never tried five-spice before, I highly recommend it. It is primarily used in Chinese cooking, but it is featured in other Asian cuisines as well. It is a blend of cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, anise and szechuan peppercorns – most spices that I would typically pair with sweet foods, not savory. However, it works really well with this pork recipe, and I can’t wait to try it in different recipes as well.

vietnamese-five-spice-porkThis recipe starts with searing pork shoulder on the grill, creating a light crust of texture in the pork.

grilled-five-spice-pork-2Then the pork is simmered over low heat with a flavorful marinade of five-spice, garlic, fish sauce and soy sauce until tender.

vietnamese-five-spiceWhen the pork is tender and shreds easily, it’s ready to serve!


Vietnamese Five Spice Pork

Vietnamese Five Spice Pork

Vietnamese five-spice pork is a flavorful, tender meat for banh mi sandwiches or tacos.


  • 4 lbs pork shoulder, cut into strips
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs five spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Sear the pork on a hot grill, 2 minutes or less per side. This can also be done in a hot skillet on the stove.
  2. Place the pork in a heavy pot on the stove, with the burner turned to medium-low. Add in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Simmer the meat for 2 hours or until it is tender and easy to shred. This can also be done in a slow cooker turned on low.

Homemade five-spice is easily put together using 1 teaspoon each of the following ground spices: cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, anise and szechuan peppercorns. Otherwise it can be purchased pre-mixed.

adapted from allrecipes



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