Luke Nguyen is back this summer with the second season of Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam airing on SBS ONE from Thursday 2 December at 7:30pm.
In this season, Luke will journey through the northern regions of Vietnam, starting in imperial Hue, and travelling north toward Hanoi and Sapa. Luke explores nine regions of Northern Vietnam over ten colourful half hour episodes.
We were so inspired by the first season that we decided to visit Vietnam for our honeymoon at the end of the year. We’ll be spoiling ourselves silly with food, markets, scooter tours and stays at some beautiful resorts. More importantly, we’re going to retrace Luke’s steps and journey from Saigon up to Hanoi, visiting Con Dao, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue and Ha Long Bay along the way.
Braised pork spare ribs, or suon ram man is featured at the end of the second episode in Vinh. Despite the rain, Luke attracts a small congregation of locals at the central market who aren’t shy about bossing him around. This is what I love most about the series, Luke really does get ‘down and dirty’ with the locals and they’re all keen to help out.
I decided to cook this dish in a clay pot to obtain a richer flavour from the pork. The longer you simmer, the more flavorsome it becomes. Just make sure the fire is on low and there is plenty of coconut water to keep the dish moist. The coconut water adds a lovely sweetness to the dish and is surprisingly light on the palate. The pork is slightly sticky, very aromatic and great to tuck into with some steamed rice.
Braised pork spare ribs with coconut
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 red Asian shallot, chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
500g pork spare ribs, cut into 2 x 3cm pieces
1 can or 300ml young coconut juice
1 onion, sliced into thin wedges
2 red chillis, sliced
A few small coriander sprigs
1. In a bowl, combine garlic, shallots, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well, then add the pork ribs and stir to coat well. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 20 minutes.
2. Pour the oil into a wok and heat until the oil begins to bubble when a wooden chopstick is dropped in (Luke’s signature method!). Add the pork in batches and deep-fry over medium heat for 3 minutes or until brown. Remove the pork and drain on paper towel.
3. Bring the coconut water to boil in the claypot and add the pork ribs. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the coconut water forms a thick syrup.
4. Add the onion and chilli and cook for a further 10 minutes.
5. Garnish with pepper and coriander and serve.