Recipes and Links

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Tenderloin in Lettuce Leaves


I know, the list of ingredients seems overwhelming! Many are repeated, I just divided them into sections to make putting this together a bit easier. As Andrea Nguyen says, “Do not fear the fish sauce! It’s the essential source of umami (savory flavor) in Southeast Asian Cuisines.” A thunderstorm started just as we were ready to start the grill. Instead, we broiled these in the oven—not as beautiful, but still, nice and tasty. It really is amazing what you can make at home!--Barb L.

Serves: 4


For the Marinade:

1 ½ Tbsp sugar or sugar substitute, divided

1 tsp black pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 shallot, halved

1 (4” piece) lemongrass OR 1 tsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

1 (1” piece) peeled ginger, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp fish sauce, divided

1 Tbsp Flying Olive Lemon, Garlic, or Cilantro and Roasted Onion Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus a little more for oiling the grates

1 pork tenderloin (approximately 1 pound) trimmed and cut crosswise (like pennies) into 1/4 “ thick slices

For the Dipping Sauce:

1 ½ Tbsp sugar or sugar substitute, divided

1 ½ Tbsp Fish sauce

1/3 cup grated (I used my microplaner) carrot

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

¼ cup Flying Olive Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp minced fresh garlic

½ -1 Thai, Serrano, or jalapeno chile, thinly sliced

For Assembling the Lettuce Leaves and Toppings: (except for the lettuce leaves, here are some suggestions of toppings to use. Choose what you like, sort of like tacos!)

2 ounces cooked rice vermicelli

16 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 cup sliced English cucumber

1 cup bean sprouts

½ cup finely chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

16 fresh basil leaves

16 fresh mint leaves

2 Thai, Serrano, or jalapeno chiles, sliced thin


Place 1 ½ Tbsp of sugar or sugar substitute in a mini food processor. Add black pepper, 2 cloves garlic, the shallot, lemon zest or lemongrass piece, and peeled ginger. Turn the processor on. Add the soy sauce, 1 Tbsp fish sauce, and the Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil of choice. Process until well blended. Combine the mixture and pork in a zip-lock bag and seal. Flip the bag a few times. Refrigerate for 1 hour, turning occasionally.

While the pork is marinating, make the dipping sauce. Combine the carrot and the remaining 1 ½ Tbsp of sugar in a medium bowl. Let it stand for 10 minutes. Add the juice, Flying Olive Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar, 1 ½ Tbsp fish sauce, garlic, and 1 sliced chile. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Cook the noodles according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Drain well and set aside.

Preheat the grill or broiler to high.

Remove the pork from the marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Thread the pork evenly onto 6-8 (12) inch skewers. For grill: Oil the grill rack with a bit of EVOO soaked on paper towels and held with tongs. For the broiler, cover a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place the skewers on the grill rack or cookie sheet. Cook about 2-3 minutes until the meat is lightly charred or browned.

To serve: Place 2 lettuce leaves on each plate. Top each with pork, noodles, and remaining desired ingredients. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Inspired by a recipe in the fascinating and beautiful cookbook by David Joachim, Global Kitchen. Oxmoor Press, 2014.

Submitted by Barb L.