We were so enamored with the majority of dishes we had in Hanoi that I couldn’t help but experiment with some barbecued pork when I got back home. The results, on the first try, were pretty darned good. :) I used a whole slab of pork belly and sliced it into thick long pieces, then marinated the slices in a mixture of good Thai patis (didn’t risk bringing back fish sauce from Vietnam in my luggage for fear I would have leakage), light soy sauce, lots and lots of chopped lemongrass or tanglad, lots of minced ginger, some palm sugar, black pepper and a touch of kalamansi juice. I didn’t measure ingredients, just eyeballed it. But take care not to overdo it as patis and soy sauce are quite a salty combination.
After about 2 hours of marination, we skewered the pork belly onto very large bamboo sticks (meant for chicken inasal I think) and we had really substantial looking servings of pork. Grill this over a charcoal flame, taking care to turn the pork often and avoid burning it too much, and serve immediately. All this needed was some freshly squeezed lime juice (from the bush outside), and if you wanted more authentic Vietnamese flavor, a lime/patis/sugar/chili sauce and lots of fresh herbs like coriander, basil, mint, etc. This Vietnamese style barbecue was absolutely delicious. The pork belly was fatty but incredibly tender. The marinade really had a punch of flavor. And the sweetness was just a slight hint, not an overwhelming presence. The lemongrass and ginger really provided nice flavor notes, and that final squeeze of lime pulled it all together quite nicely.
We ate this with rice. But if you wanted to replicate a meal in Hanoi, you would serve this with rice noodles and herbs. I think this would also work brilliantly in some freshly baked pan de sal for a Filipino style version of banh mi. Just throw in some acharra for the pickled vegetable component.