The traditional way of making thit nuong is to cut the meat into 2-3 inch strips, then marinade the meat and grill it in between two wire baskets over a charcoal grill. The marinade consists of caramelized sugar syrup (nuoc mau) and fish sauce, two cooking essentials in the Vietnamese kitchen.
The fish sauce is very salty (and a bit smelly), but it has a lot of flavor. I often add a few dashes to my chicken, pork, and shrimp instead of salt and a little bit of sugar to get the protein crispy.
There are a bunch of traditional Vietnamese dishes where thit nuong is included, but here are a few of my favorites:
• Rice with grilled meat (‘com thit nuong’ as seen on the top picture)
• The Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi thit nuong)
• Angel hair rice noodles with grilled pork, served with lettuce for wrapping (banh hoi thit heo nuong)
As a city-dweller I am not privileged to have a garden with an outdoor grill, so unfortunately I have to make this in my oven. For this I use pork chops, which are on the more fatty side. If you do have a charcoal grill, you can make it the traditional way and use pork butt or shoulder instead.