Learn all about how to make a Vietnamese savory braised spare rib and pineapple dish that combines a sweet caramelized sauce with a bit of a pineapple punch.
The best homestyle meal for a Vietnamese family might just be a pineapple-infused braised spare pork ribs with hints of caramelized flavors atop a bowl of fluffy jasmine rice. It's mouthwateringly delicious because of it's absolutely rich and savory sweet and sour sauce.
I want to share this recipe because I know my kids and grandkids absolutely delicious. This is definitely a messy dish, kind of like eating barbecue, with its delicious flavors that you pick off the small rib bone. It's great about any day because of all of the wonderful flavors it brings.
On a gloomy day, the sweetness just takes you to a happy place. On a hot day, the pineapple gives you that swift sour kick that you were craving. On a fun day, the sweet caramelized glaze atop a bed of rice just makes your day even that much more awesome.
In this post, I'm going to share with you the details around this recipe and my absolutely favorite way to make it authentic Vietnamese style!
All About Vietnamese Suon Ram Voi Khom - Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs with Pineapple
Pork spare ribs with pineapple is a dish that has its origins out of Vietnam. There are a lot of variations of this recipe in different regions in Southeast Asia. There are also different recipes that also omit the pineapple completely or replaces it with a different fruit. Generally, the result is the same - a melding of the delicious hearty spare rib bites with the sweet and sour notes of the fruit.
It's a dish that is very messy to eat because you have to use your hands to remove the meat from the small pork bones. You'll want to try to remove each piece of the marinated, pork rib meat because the caramel sauce that develops provides a savory sweetness paired with every spoon of jasmine rice.
How is Suon Ram Voi Khom (Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Pork Spare Ribs) served?
Vietnamese Suon Ram Voi Khom is generally served atop a bowl of hot jasmine rice. The braised pork spare ribs with pineapple caramelized sauce is ladled on top of the rice, allowing the sweet fruity juices to be absorbed into the grains of rice.
What does it taste like?
Vietnamese sweet and sour pork ribs with pineapple is a savory concotion that combines caramelized sugar, coconut water, and pineapple with a bit of tropical sweetness, which is a perfect complement to a steaming bowl of rice.
Other Names for Vietnamese Braised Spare Ribs with Pineapple
There are variations of this recipe that includes hard boiled eggs, sweet bell peppers, and other ingredients, giving it a variety of different ingredients and names. Below are the most common names for this specific Vietnamese dish:
- Suon Xao Chua Ngot
- Suon Chua Ngot
Suon translates to ribs/bone. Ram means braised. Voi means with. Khom (also known as dua) means pineapple.
Thit Kho is a very similar dish that omits the pineapple all together.
Tips for Making Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Braised Pork Spare Rib Recipe
Every Vietnamese family has their own variation of this spare rib recipe, using different ingredients. For example, some families will add bell peppers, use tamarind instead of fish sauce, use apple cider vinegar, use Coco Rico, or add in hardboiled eggs.
I prefer using a coconut water that is tried and true for this recipe. I know that my Thit Kho recipe used Coco Rico, but for this specific recipe with spare ribs, I find that this coconut water allows the meat on the ribs to become more tenderized and absolutely flavorful.
Before cooking this delicious braised spare pork ribs with pineapple recipe, here are some tips worth mentioning:
Choosing the Right Spare Ribs
If you can find meaty ribs that have smaller bones, those are the best ones to get. The goal is to find ribs cut into 2-inch long sections. Generally, you can find this readily available at regular western grocery stores.
Removing Impurities by Blanching
You'll want to put the ribs into a pot of boiling water to remove the smell of the pork ribs and the impurities. This is important, as it will impact the flavor and taste of the dish once the spare ribs are cooked and caramelized.
Marinating the pork ribs allows layers of complex flavors and textures to build, allowing the savory flavors of the ingredients to all come together.
Because of the use of fish sauce, this dish may cause your house to smell. To combat this, the last part where the ribs are simmered can be done in the oven or you can do like I do, which is have a small portable stovetop (like what you would use during a camping trip) outdoors to simmer the ribs. If you don't mind the smell, then have at it! I know my son-in-law can't stand the smell of fish sauce, so I figured there are some of you guys might want to be aware of that as well.
Asian Grocery Store Shopping List
Below are the general ingredients I would recommend getting at the Asian grocery store. In this section, I generally will list only the things you won't find at your local western grocer.
This is my FAVORITE coconut water to use with this recipe. Grab this brand for sure. If you can't find it, Coco Rico is the second best alternative.
Shallots are super inexpensive and LARGER at the Asian market. I would recommend getting these here.
How to MakeVietnamese Suon Ram Voi Khom - Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs with Pineapple
Ingredients for Vietnamese Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs with Pineapple
- 2 pounds of short ribs, cut into 1-to-2 inch bone sections
- 4 tablespoon of ginger, minced, divided
- 4 tablespoons of shallots minced, divided
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of pineapple, cut into small 1 inch chunks
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 10.5 ounces of coconut water
- 2 Thai chili peppers (optional)
- cilantro, roughly chopped
- scallions, roughly chopped into 1-inch sections
Directions Suon Ram Voi Khom
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting, cut the ribs so there are single bones in each segment.
- Once water is boiling, add in the ribs to blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain with cold water and wash off impurities.
- Drain the ribs and pat dry.
- Add the blanched ribs, ginger, shallots, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper into a large bowl. Mix and combine well. Set aside.
- While the mixture marinates, heat a large pot over medium high heat with vegetable oil.
- Add in shallots and ginger until golden.
- Add in pineapple. Cook until golden yellow.
- Remove pineapple and set aside.
- In the same pot, add in the mixture that has been marinading. Cook on medium high heat until spare ribs are cooked through.
- Next, add in pineapple, coconut water, water, and chili peppers (optional). Turn the heat down to medium heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve atop a bowl of jasmine rice garnished with cilantro and scallions.
Summary of Authentic Vietnamese Suon Ram Voi (Braised Pork Riblet with Pineapple and Coconut Water)
This sweet and sour pork rib recipe over delivers on the sweet and savory notes due to the caramelization of the sweet pineapple juice, slight fish sauce, and use of sugar. There aren't a lot of complex cooking involved here. Sweet and sour dishes are a traditional pairing in Vietnamese cooking as well as most Southeast Asian countries. The pineapple paired with the fish sauce help not just with flavors, but allow the meat to tenderize and fall off the bone.
Other Vietnamese Recipes You Might Like
If you liked this savory dish, you might also love the following Vietnamese recipes as well:
- Homestyle Thit Kho
- Simple Bun Bo Hue
- Homestyle Banh Canh
- Savory Banh Xeo
- Authentic Chai Gio
- Fried Crispy Quail
- Chayote and Pork Stir Fry
- Vietnamese Pork Ribs