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Vietnamese Nem Lui

Nem Lui are genius. Succulent pork molded around lemongrass sticks create a Vietnamese infusion that are ideal for dipping in the sweet, hot sauce.

Trust us when we say that the Hue sauce is well worth the time to make.  It really is like nothing else and is a truely local taste of Hue in Vietnam.  The good news is that it can be frozen and is also served with Banh Khoai Hue. So why not try both and use this deliciously unique sauce?


250g minced pork
20g cooked and shredded pork skin (purchased from Asian market)
1 tbsp pureed garlic
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp fish sauce
½ tbsp brown sugar
12 lemongrass stalks, trimmed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp chilli sauce
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
warm rice paper

Hue Sauce:

100 g pork liver
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic,
1 medium shallot
1 tablespoon peanuts
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tsp shrimp paste or 3 tsp fish sauce
75 ml water
100ml pork stock
100ml hoisin sauce
½ tsp salt or MSG


For the sauce…

Finely chop the shallot and garlic so they almost make a paste. Roughly crush the peanuts so they are broken into small pieces, some larger than others. In a frying pan add the oil and fry shallots garlic and peanuts on a medium heat.

In the meantime finely chop the liver. When the shallots and garlic starts to turn brown add the peanuts, pork stock and water before cooking for 15 minutes for the peanuts to soften. Then add the rest of the ingredients and gently simmer for a further 20 minutes until the liquid reduces by half. Add salt tor MSG at the end and leave to cool.

For the Nem Lui…

Vietnamese Nem lui pork on lemongrass sticks

Vietnamese Nem lui pork on lemongrass sticks

Mix the beef, minced pork, pork skin, pork fat, garlic, shallots, sugar, pepper and fish sauce.

Knead for 5 minutes until all ingredients have combined well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to over night for the flavours to marinate the pork.

Divide the nem lui mixture into 12 portions.  Firmly roll each portion into a sausage shape around each lemongrass stick and brush with a little oil.

Heat a barbecue grill or char-grill pan and cook the Nem Lui skewers for 6 minutes, turning every few minutes, until cooked and slightly charred.

Serve with a watercress and dried coleslaw with rice pancakes so people can build their own rolls to dip into the sauce.