Vietnamese Pork Skewers with Lettuce Cups (Nem Nướng)


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A tasty pork dish. It needs quite a few ingredients but it’s well worth it! This can be made on a BBQ or broiled in the oven.


For the pork:

  • 1 lb ground pork butt
  • 6 water chestnuts, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small green onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Bamboo skewers - 5 to 6 -inches long

For the garnishes: 

  • 12 Boston lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


For the pork: 

1. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl by hand. Shape into 12 cylinders about 3 inches long and no more than 1 inch thick. Insert a bamboo skewer through each one and put aside.

2. Heat coals on barbecue until gray ash forms. Spread into overlapping layer, knocking off ash so coals are hot and glowing. Place grill 2 to 3 inches above coals. Or, preheat oven to broil.

3. Arrange pork skewers on grill or broiling pan so they do not touch. Cook until meat is crisped, browned and firm, turning often with tongs, about 10 to 15 minutes.

4. To serve, have each diner sprinkle lettuce leaf with other garnishes. Slip pork off skewer onto lettuce. Wrap around pork and use sauce for dipping. Meat mixture can be prepared and skewered up to 24 hours before barbecuing.

For the sauce:  

1. Place all ingredients in a small pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and then simmer for 5 minutes - let cool.

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