Recipe: Thit Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly with Eggs)

I’ve seen Thit Kho up and down social media and usually from Vietnamese folks who were raised eating this so they were I guess tired of being served it? Excuse me! This dish looked delicious to me and I don’t think I’ve seen it on menus here so I knew I had to try to make it myself. The stars aligned for me one day, I saw quail eggs at Costco and got myself the skinless pork belly, game on!

Woohoo! So many eggs…

My first time cooking quail eggs…tried to cook it the least time possible because I knew I would have to cook it additionally in the dish too. No one wants the grey ring of death. I also had to peel all 36 of these mini eggs, heh.

Slice up the pork belly and boil it for a few minutes, helps to “clean” the pork belly!

What is this you ask? It’s a heaping amount of sugar with oil. I had to heat this up over low heat to get it browned up but not burnt, you know? Caramel!

I had to move fast! Once it got browned up, I added the pork belly. Look at the nice color!

Yum, the aromatics. Garlic. Shallots. Thai Chilis. No can go wrong. I should use more shallots in my cooking.

Smelled so good…

Add the eggs in and then let it simmer a bit. Make sure you mix it around good so the eggs get coated in the wonderful caramel sauce too. I didn’t add too much shoyu and salt to this because it asks for so much fish sauce! Recipes ask for coconut soda but I don’t have access to that so I just used coconut water. The dish was super good. I actually followed three different recipes to make this dish so I’ll just link them below!

Recipe inspirations:
Wok & Kin
Cooking Therapy
Simply Recipes

Pho K&A Local Vietnamese Cuisine – Kapahulu, HI

I got to try Pho K&A the other week and was very pleasantly surprised! Their parking is horrific. If you know this building, you just hope to score street parking right up front or you’ll have to circle the area for other parking options. There is a tiny lot behind the building so we gave up and parked in it. Here’s where it’s messy. I do not like that parking lots now have QR codes to pay for parking. I know it’s supposed to be easy but using random QR codes can be sketchy. Also, within this lot – there were TWO QR codes. Both on signs that was for parking in the lot….the QR codes went to two different websites. And one was more expensive than the other? My god. I was like huh? I finally went with the website that at least said Diamond Parking – the other one didn’t even mention Diamond Parking on their site. What a mess. So yeah, I wouldn’t park in that park lot unless you absolutely have it.

Updated Note: Okay, while I have no proof that this was the origin…my card was compromised, the weird parking QR codes situation is the only thing I can point to right now. Do not park in the back and scan those QR codes to pay parking. Find street parking!

Sorry for the parking rant, the food there is super good. The folks who run it are super friendly and the restaurant is SUPER CLEAN. If that matters to you, but it is. My companion said the bathroom is crazy clean, old but clean.

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp | $15.00
shredded green papaya, shrimp, basil, peanut, special salad dressing, fried onions served with fish sauce

Star of the show, hands down. If you’ve seen papaya salad in other restaurants, you know they generally chop it into like big matchsticks. Look at how finely julienned this is, it really made a difference. The seasonings and toppings were on point, drizzle some of their homemade chili saute sauce on and it’s just chef’s kiss. Highly recommendeed! They are generous with the shrimp too!

Beautiful clean veggies for the pho (lol)

Build Your Own Pho (Steak/Brisket) | $15.00

Beef Short Ribs Pho | $22.00

I felt like I wanted more meat this day. I needed to help my depleted blood supply (iykyk). I’ve seen pictures of this type of pho at other restaurants and just wanted to go for it. Looks pretty generous, three ribs. I’d say it was a good amount of meat, but don’t expect the ribs to be full of meat, you know? How was it? Well, good not great. This is the only thing in the bowl with the noodles and greens. I guess I just prefer my combination pho, with all the different types of meat to munch on. Nice to try but wouldn’t get it again. Will try the combination pho next time!

Le’s Banh Mi – Ala Moana, HI

I love myself a good banh mi and am always in search of a good one. I grew up with the ones from Bale, and while they are good, they are not great. Can’t go wrong when you go to a shop that specializes in them! I’ve wanted to try Le’s Banh Mi for a while now and recently got a chance to try them! They are located in the 808 Sheridan building on the 3rd floor.

The customer service was a bit lackluster but that’s okay, I’m there for the food. Maybe I went on an off day for service. This place was pretty warm when I walked in, like it was the oven. But I was excited to see that they bake their own bread! So I waited outside for my sandwiches in anticipation.

Roasted Pork Banh Mi | $10.50

Sorry the pic is a bit blurry, but take a look at the innards! They pack it in! And roast pork, they mean Chinese style roast pork, you know…with the crispy skin. Although, by the time you eat the sandwich, not really crispy. It still tasted great!

Saigon Special Banh Mi | $10.50

My favorite one, hands down. Anytime I see the saigon special, I know that’s the one I need to get. They put in a variety of meats and a handsome dollop of pate. If you don’t like pate, don’t get this sandwich. Can I praise the bread please? It is SO good. I don’t know if you can tell but it’s not at all doughy, perfect amount of fluff and it’s super light and crispy. Such a good sandwich…I like go back already. Highly recommend!

Mixed Plate Friday

Get this. I was in a mood but still always follow the rules. So I’m driving up Piikoi to go onto the freeway right? And you folks know, the right and left lane people always be trying to cut us rule followers. I don’t let them cut because why should I have to wait forever to get on the freeway while you folks just cut last minute? It is so maddening! Anyway, earlier this morning it happened. This stupid jeep was on the left trying to cut me, we were bumper to bumper at the red light. I was not going to let him in. But he kept moving forward and steering his car like he was just gonna cut anyway.

Well guess what. No. I didn’t let that happen. And as the light turned green and I went gas em, his passenger, some white lady busts out her phone and points it at me out of the window. Yeah! Like she’s trying for record me for not letting them in??? Girl are you crazy. I hope you enjoyed the view of me pissed off in my big black sunglasses I got from my eye surgery. It was obviously a rental car (dumb tourist). I was hopping mad but I ain’t going to engage with them. I just drove off. How rude right??? I almost like her post the video and me find it to tell everyone exactly what happened.

Spicy & Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl | $12.99

Before the pandemic, Aja used to fill up the cold case with sushi and bibimkooksoo. Still no bibimkooksoo but I did try this poke bowl the other week! Pretty good! Pretty good portion for $12.99 even if it’s a lot of rice.

Homemade Bahn Mi Toast

Haha I’m calling it toast because I didn’t have any french bread. But I just toasted up one slice of bread, shredded Sam’s Club chicken with mayo, made my own carrot/daikon pickle, fresh cilantro and some homemade pickled jalapenos too! It was delicious! The boys loved it too, all three of them! Hard to find dishes that all three enjoy.

Homemade Tuna Pasta Salad

Did I post this before? I just made my own pasta salad one day and used cottage cheese as a base for the dressing to make it healthier. I just needed the wetness of the cottage cheese to make a dressing and for me it works. I added fresh dill too to make it even more flavorful. I forget the recipe already, if you want it, let me know and I can try to type one up and post. I enjoy this dish!

Bac Nam – Honolulu, HI

I’ve done a few postings here and there about Bac Nam but I don’t think I ever did a full post! How can?? Great Vietnamese restaurant, one of my favorites. Though…not for their pho. Sorry! I like their other dishes moreso than the pho so I recommend you coming here if you are not wanting pho. Well you can order the pho but you won’t be trying their best dishes!

Vietnamese Steamed Dumplings | $12.95
marinated shrimp, pork and onions wrapped into a thin layer of tapioca flour dough, then steamed – served with special House fish sauce

It went up one dollar within a few months but still as good as ever. I assume this is homemade, I think it would be hard to reheat this dish from frozen. Tapioca based flour is hard maintain after freezing or even putting in the fridge, delicious!

Crab Curry | $26.95
French Bread | $3.50

Wow, good thing I keep notes on my meals. The curry went up $2.00 and the bread went up 50 cents lol within a few months. Still one of my favorite dishes even though it pains me to pay for the french bread. While I am a huge fan of rice especially with curries, somehow, the bread just works best with this curry. Get plenty Japanese tourists at this restaurant and you know they all order the crab curry. It’s delish!

Side Order Rice | $3.00

Braised Large Prawn | $23.95

Okay, here’s the funny story. They have either entree style of this dish or a rice plate. The rice plate costs $20.95 while the entree costs $23.95…we asked how many prawns come in each dish. The rice plate comes with 2(!) prawns versus the entree which comes with a whopping…3. Well this was my main dish and I wanted to share my prawns but well…I didn’t really just want one freaking prawn for dinner so I went for the prawns entree along with a side of rice. Ridic. Well I ended up only eating one prawn cause I was full from the appetizers anyway. I wouldn’t get this dish again because it’s just not worth it. And if I were to, I’d get the rice plate. Blah! Anyway, tasted good just not worth the price.

Parking, they have a back lot that is a bit horrendous. If you go dinner time, I believe the metered street parking is free from 6PM – you gotta go read the sign.

Mixed Plate Friday

Steamed Tapioca Pearl Dumplings Stuffed with Peanut Pork

I know nothing about this dish. All I know is it was delicious and I would probably never attempt to make it, I found it at Lao Asian Market and would absolutely get it again.

Vietnamese Steamed Dumplings | $11.95
marinated shrimp, pork and onions wrapped into a thin layer of tapioca flour dough, then steamed – served with special House fish sauce

Absolutely banger of a dish from Bac Nam – I don’t see these dumplings in a lot of Vietnamese restaurant menus so I was ecstatic to try it! They did not disappoint.

Braised Mackerel with Radish

I don’t have much information on this. I got it from Palama Supermarket and ate it hot with some white rice at home. It really hit the spot, a real comfort dish.

Mixed Plate Friday

Crab Curry | $24.95
French Bread | $3.00

Bac Nam has great crab curry. That is clear. The restaurant is very popular. That is clear. The crab curry is freaking $25 and comes with no rice or bread…so we had to pay $3.00 for one french bread. No ma’am. But was it good? Oh yes. The nicely toasted crunchy bread with the crab curry was delightful. We had leftover curry so I went to Bale the next day and paid $4.00 for 3 FRENCH BREADS which we toasted up to eat with the leftovers. So good. Next time just sneak in your own french bread like you from France (lol).

Fried Saimin Bento | $11.39
fried saimin, 2 pieces garlic chicken, egg omelet, 3 pieces portuguese sausage & rice with furikake

Mitsu-Ken Okazu and Catering reminds me of childhood days. Remember their old location? How popular they were even with zero parking? Well their current location get choke parking so no worry but for me, they are located completely out of the way. Also, they pack a lot of MSG into their food. Tastes ono but if you’re not good with MSG, avoid!

Roast Duck & Chicken Rice Plate | $13.50

Remember Mini Garden Express in Ranch 99? They re-opened by the Airport and they have online ordering for pick-up! Here is the website for the online ordering site. They are still located Salt Lake side so I can go grab food when I go out to Target. This is one of my favorite dishes, love it! It’s actually served over a simple fried rice, I love roast duck and chinese style shoyu chicken so it’s a winner. Give them a try if you’re in the area! I highly recommend ordering ahead, we had to wait quite a while.

Mixed Plate Friday

Vietnamese Sandwich | $10.99
nguoi (pork belly), cha lua (pork bologna), pate, house mayonnaise, cucumber, sweet onion, pickled carrot/daikon, cilantro, soy sauce

I think…I THINK I FOUND MY FAVORITE BANH MI place. Sorry for the caps. What a name for a place huh? It’s called No Name BBQ Sandwich. I highly suggest calling your order in first, they make it fresh and it’s a tiny little place run by a cute little couple so it takes a bit of time.

I was so hungry, I wanted to open it in the car to take a quick bite. Oh how fast does a quick bite turn into THE ENTIRE SANDWICH IN MY BELLY. The bread was so light and crunchy and warm…and I…I just couldn’t resist. It was the perfect sandwich and oh my gosh, they give SO MUCH CILANTRO. IT’S A DREAM COME TRUE. Anyway, I hope you folks will give them a try. No lemongrass chicken here but who cares, try something else, live a little. Trust me.

Udon Salad

An oldie but goodie, I brushed off the cobwebs to make this dish recently. I just love how it looks pre-mixed. Got to use my fancy carrying case too! Super easy recipe, check out my old post here. Refreshing, can’t go wrong!

Carry Along Shrimp

My coworkers talk about this recipe all the time, you can find it at the Electric Kitchen, here. This is my first time cooking it and trying it. Great dish! We threw it in the airfryer for about 10 minutes at 400°F. I think it tastes great, howw would I tweak it? I think I would add a bit less sugar. Delicious though!

Viet Chubby Boy – Kalihi, HI

Yes! Another Vietnamese restaurant opened up in Kalihi! And what a cute name, Viet Chubby Boy. Their menu is interesting, mostly Vietnamese dishes but also some fusion dishes thrown in. Yes, this place is located in a strip mall and maybe it’s not the prettiest restaurant you’ve been to but sometimes the best food comes from the humblest places. It’s a clean restaurant with friendly service, so how was the food?

Chubby Spicy Wings | $12.90
fried chicken wings mixed with house spicy sauce

Appetizer to share, I didn’t try one but it was certainly gobbled up by two teenage boys.

French Fries | $5.00

*shrug* look, I had a moody teenager who is a french fry fiend. I got this for him to calm him down. It was fried crispy but lacked salt I was told.

Vietnamese Ham Sandwich | $10.50
pork meat loaf in Vietnamese baguette, carrot and daikon pickle, cilantro, jalapeno, and cucumber

The sandwich was enjoyed by the diner. This wasn’t my dish but to be honest, as I look at the picture, it looks a bit skimpy for my taste. I like when they fill up the sandwich with all the good guts.

Beef Pho Combination | $15.50
our signature spiced beef broth with fresh rice noodle, rare steak, stewed brisket, beef trip, beef ball, white and green onion, cilantro, aromatic herbs. served with side basil, bean sprouts and jalapeno.

The other teenager is a pho fiend. Too many fiends – too much frenzy. I’m used to Vietnamese restaurants having pho as an option and then the crazy variations of toppings you can choose. This place has beef, oxtail or vegetable pho. They say you can customize toppings but I wonder who would know how to do that. And $15.50 for a bowl of pho is a bit…I get inflation but I think I can still get this pho from other places for a cheaper price and still as good.

Vermicelli with Spring Rolls and BBQ Pork | $13.95
BBQ pork, spring rolls, cabbage herb salad, mint, roasted peanuts, fried shallots, house fish sauce, vermicelli noodles

My dinner for the night! Delicious. I always love this dish and the spring rolls were fried to a perfect crisp. Love their BBQ pork, seasoned just right with a good amount of char in it’s cooking. I enjoyed it!

Mixed Plate Friday

Birria Banh Mi | $13.00 (maybe?)
vietnamese inspired sandwich with birria meat, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrots, and daikon (radish), and a sprig of cilantro. served on a toasted baguette and a side of consomme

I wanted to try Cocina De Roja when they opened during the pandemic. A birria banh mi? Sign me up. How was it? Okay, nothing great. I rather just get a regular bahn mi. Also when I go look at their online order site now, it’s not even an option to order so maybe this was pointless?

Beef Stroganoff on House-made Fettuccine | $29.00
mustard sour cream demi-glace

Just sharing a picture of this beef stroganoff from Tango Contemporary Cafe in case any of you were curious how it looked. It wasn’t my dish but it was enjoyed!

Seafood Chow Mein | $12.95

Assorted Dim Sum

I don’t usually crave chicken feet but this time, I did and ordered it. This is the only way I will eat chicken feet, it has to be prepared in this manner. I will not digest any other way. I don’t know why, please don’t ask. I can never pass up dim sum and yes, I like to order seafood chow mein as an accompaniment. It reminds me of childhood so I enjoy it. By the way, this is from Ginger & Garlic. I guess the final question is, do you chicken feet?

Have a great weekend folks.