My pantry

On Honeymoon With a Superstar….Vietnamese Pork with Coconut Rice

August 18, 2012

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to hang out with Brad Pitt at a Brad Pitt Appreciation Convention, then you could simply take a blond haired, blue-eyed baby to Vietnam to get the gist of the mania. Luckily, we didn’t have twins or it would have been akin to traveling with the Beatles and I don’t know if I could handle having undies thrown at me on my honeymoon.

D Man had the honour of accompanying Mister H and I on our ‘month of honey’ when he was 9 months old. It was a little less like mead moon and a little more like Bia Hanoi but D Man refrained for the most part, sticking to breast milk, possibly occasionally tainted with a touch of said Hanoi nectar.

I had traveled in Thailand when I was a stinky backpacker, and I’d also been to many of the Indonesian islands but Vietnam had been high on my itinerary wish list for a rong rong time….it seemed the perfect time to go, as we were heading to Holland for a white Christmas and it was practically on the way……and it was OUR HONEYMOON.

It really was like traveling with a superstar. People would come running to touch him, grab him out of our arms, once even reefing him off my shoulders practically decapitating me in the process. The kid was a hit.
He was a bit of a reluctant hero though. I dare say the experience was somewhat overwhelming as ‘personal space’ is not a commonly used term in most not-quite-third world countries.

We tried to protect the little fellow from too much man-handling. We found him safest in his backpack, but a kid cannot spend an entire three weeks in a backpack. Besides, it squashed his nuts.

He was a brilliant travel companion, and I thoroughly recommend inviting your children to your honeymoon. If you don’t have children, don’t take someone else’s though because they do cramp your style somewhat (i.e. bonking romance is not the same with imminent squawking, or wakeful babies). Just a little warning.

The food in Vietnam was awesome. It not as chilli-burn-your-face-off as Thailand (although I do love that), and I just adore the big, fresh flavours.
This recipe was inspired by our trip, or more accurately, a desire to eat Vietnamese without taking off my slippers and getting a babysitter. It’s not totally authentic, because I made it up, and I’m not Vietnamese, but it hit the spot.
This would be awesome with a couple of birds-eye chillies chopped into the meat, but I was serving it to D Man – who enjoyed it considerably more than the kofte, thanks for asking.

Yield : 4 serves

You will need :

For pork –

  • 500g pork
  • 5 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass, white part only chopped and bashed (I found a jar in the fridge and used that. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, use a little lemon zest, or omit. It’s not make or break.)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shao Xing wine, or sherry
  • 1 handful chopped coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

For coconut rice –

  • 1.5 cups Jasmine rice
  • 1.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk
  • 2 bunches Chinese greens, to serve

Put your rice on first as this will take half an hour to cook. Aim to get the rest done and cooked in that time…..or turn your rice off.
Throw rice ingredients into a heavy passed pot with a lid. You could chuck it into the oven on 180C for half and hour, or you can get it to the boil on the stove, then turn it right down and pop it on a diffuser if you need to….Do not stir. Just ignore it for half an hour, or until liquid is evaporated. Turn of an leave to sit, especially if it looks gluggy. Sitting will be good for it.

Throw all of your pork ingredients into a bowl and give it a good mix with your hands. Remove your wedding rings first cos getting this out of the grooves is not cool.
Using tablespoon sized portions, roll into balls and give them a little pat to flatten.
I cooked mine on the BBQ but you could pan fry or grill. Whatever floats your boat.

Steam your greens giving them a nice drizzle with oyster sauce, or soy, plus some sesame oil and maybe a squeeze of lemon.

Serve it all together and throw some of those tasty little fried onions that you get from the Asian supermarket. I bloody love those crunchy, little morsels.

Take a little walk down memory lane with me….I loved hunting these photos down. That’s the arse about hard drives. Pictures aren’t as present as they used to be.

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  • Reply Jeff Steller August 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Hi D, recipe sounds great. Definitely gonna do this one..
    Hey try a viet dipping sauce over the top. Many vietnamese dishes depend on it.

    Nuoc cham (dipping sauce)
    60ml (1/4 cup) water
    60ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce
    2 tbs fresh lime juice (or lemons)
    2 tbs rice wine vinegar
    1 tbs finely chopped palm sugar
    1/2 stem lemon grass, pale section only, finely chopped (optional)
    2 long fresh red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    Combine the ingredients in a jug and stir until the sugar dissolves.
    This will really set your dish off.

    • Reply mrsdsmaunderings August 18, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Yep. That is the mainstay of most of the dishes & its yummo!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 18, 2012 at 11:24 am

      That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!!! Nice one on the recipe co-op.

      I put sweet Chilli and Chinese hot sauce last night but that Viet dipping sauce is the bomb!!!

      Sent from my iPhone

  • Reply mrsdsmaunderings August 18, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Love the sound of this dish. I too was a stinky backpacker around Asia & like you never got to Vietnam..still haven’t..high on my wish list…maybe one day when I’m old & grey I’ll be able to do it…oh hang on I am old & grey…dearie me..
    After moving to Tas I found the one thing I couldn’t get AT ALL was vietnamese food, so I’ve taken to making my own as well. I’m currently working on the 3-colour drink/dessert thing that I adore…forgot the sugar syrup last time…words cannot express the look on my 11 yrolds face when I he tried it..Back to the drawing board for Mama I think.

  • Reply hannahinhanoi August 19, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I don’t have kids but I always thought that Vietnam would be a great place to take them. The Vietnamese love kids so it would be a fabulous ice breaker. I’m glad you had fun traveling there. This post made me really hungry so I’m going to have try this recipe ASAP!

    Nice photos, too. I really like the one of the guard standing in front of the sculpture.

  • Reply sybaritica August 19, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Lovely … I think those pork patties (balls?) would go great in a spicy red curry sauce too 🙂

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 19, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Thai style? Why not, I say!?

      I reckon they’d also work in a Bhan mie (sp?) those delicious Vietnamese sandwiches.

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Reply sybaritica August 19, 2012 at 10:11 am

        Oh yes!! … great idea. My wife would LOVE that!

  • Reply Roar Sweetly August 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Very funny! I love the photograph of the two birdcages in front of the wall.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Me too. I printed it and stuck in into a beautiful gold frame on my bedroom wall. One of my faves.

  • Reply bel wicks August 22, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    We honeymooned in Vietnam also – how I would sell my soul to the devil for a daily fix of Pho (and 10 cent litres of beer!)

  • Reply mymezzaluna August 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Great Blog and I love your pics. Thanks for stopping by my blog too.

  • Reply lifeonwry September 2, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Those photos are awesome.

  • Reply ginasmom September 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    The recipe sounds yummy, but Vietnam sounds, smells (I think I can smell the dishes) and looks pretty cool.

  • Reply krystynacooks January 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    G’Day to the Holsbys & a belated but not too belated very Happy & productive New Year for 2013 from Sydney Australia Somewhere in your blog I saw something about your nipples being very sore I have heard (though not having any children of the human kind to try this) that putting cabbage leaves/leaf on sore nipples from breast feeding & wearing the cabbage leaves under your bra HELPS AN AWFUL LOT – it is supposed to give major relief for the said sore nipples NOW back to – I love this recipe for these Vietnamese Pork patties/rissoles Having a Polish/Ukraine background my late Mum was an excellent cook & used to make the best KOTLETY rissoles Although I am good in the kitchen I do like to try different recipes these sound very tasty Thanks

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys January 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks for the nip tip, Krystyna! I’ve done ye olde cabbage trick and it is very for sore mams! Sadly, mine is not to be helped by cabbage as I have a little infection rocking down my bra……boring!
      These are seriously yummy pork balls…..we eat them regularly.
      I’ll google kotlety….those Poles have some seriously yummy things up their sleeves….especially cake wise!

  • Reply Gemma Fowler January 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    OMG – I just made this dish tonight (from your cookbook) and it was AMAZING! I mean seriously good. Thanks for bringing this into my repertoire.

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