Authentic Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops – Thit Heo Nuong Xa Recipe

Easy Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops (Thit Heo Nuong Xa) Recipe - Authentic and Flavorful

Discover the irresistible flavors of Vietnam with this easy-to-make grilled lemongrass pork chops recipe. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or impressing guests at your next barbecue!

Thit heo nuong xa is a beloved Vietnamese dish that brings the aromatic essence of lemongrass to juicy, chargrilled pork chops. This recipe captures the authentic taste of Vietnamese street food right in your own kitchen. With a marinade that’s bursting with flavor and a quick cooking time, you’ll have a delicious meal on the table in no time.

One of the key elements to this dish’s success is the use of a mortar and pestle. This traditional tool helps to extract maximum flavor from the aromatics, creating a marinade that truly penetrates the meat. If you don’t own one yet, this recipe is the perfect excuse to add this versatile instrument to your kitchen arsenal.

The Secret to Perfect Thit Heo Nuong Xa

The magic of this dish lies in the thin-cut pork chops, which allow for maximum flavor absorption and a delightful crispy exterior. Opt for blade end chops if possible, as they offer the best balance of fat and meat for this recipe. The sweet and savory marinade not only flavors the meat but also acts as a brine, ensuring your pork chops stay juicy and tender.


For the Pork:

  • 2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns, or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper (4g)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 to 5 inches only, outer leaves discarded, tender core thinly sliced (about 2 ounces; 60g sliced lemongrass)
  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped (about 1 ounce; 30g total)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (3/4 ounce; about 20g)
  • 1/3 cup palm sugar (about 3 ounces; 85g)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) thin-cut pork chops, preferably blade end, with plenty of fat and marbling

For the Sauce:

  • 1 recipe basic nuoc cham
  • 1/4 cup (30g) very thinly julienned or grated carrot (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (30g) very thinly julienned or grated daikon radish (optional)
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (preferably Thai or Vietnamese; optional)

To Serve:

  • Steamed white rice
  • Sliced cucumber


  1. Prepare the marinade: In a mortar and pestle, crush white peppercorns with salt. Add lemongrass, shallot, garlic, and palm sugar. Grind into a rough paste. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in fish sauce and vegetable oil.
  2. Marinate the pork: Coat pork chops in the marinade and transfer to a zipper-lock bag. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 3 hours, or refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
  3. Make the sauce: Prepare nuoc cham according to recipe. Add julienned carrot, daikon, and chile flakes if desired.
  4. Grill the pork: Preheat your grill for high heat. Grill pork chops for 4-6 minutes, turning frequently, until charred and cooked through. Watch for flare-ups and move to a cooler part of the grill if needed.
  5. Serve: Place grilled pork chops on a platter with steamed rice, sliced cucumber, and the prepared sauce. Enjoy your homemade Vietnamese feast!

Pro Tips

For an even more authentic flavor, use a mortar and pestle to make the marinade. The crushing action releases more aromatic oils than a food processor. If you must use a food processor, add the palm sugar last to avoid over-processing.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
373 Calories
18g Fat
22g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 373
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 22%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 1129mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 3mg 16%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 646mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

You may also like: