Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Pulled Pork with Char Sui Sauce and a Wombok Salad


Vietnamese cuisine is one of our favourite styles of cooking, and whilst we enjoy eating out occasionally at a very good Vietnamese restaurant here in Mackay, it is also very easy in this tropical weather we are still experiencing to place all of the ingredients for the Char Sui Pulled Pork into the slow cooker, set it for 8 hours, make a delicious Wombok salad to accompany it, cook some rice, and eat in the comfort of our own home. The flavours of the Pulled Pork combined with the Wombok salad will excite your taste buds, I promise you, and you will be looking for seconds. 

Let's Cook:


2 kg piece of skinless shoulder of pork
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of lemon grass, bruised
3 cloves of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup char sui sauce (almost a full bottle)
1/2 cup rice wine or sushi vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar

  1. Using a sharp knife, remove the layer of fat from the pork and discard the fat
  2. Place chopped onion over the base of the slow cooker and place pork on top. 
  3. Add the Lemon grass
  4. Combine garlic, ginger, char sui sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl and stir to combine. 
  5. Pour sauce over the pork and  cover the slow cooker. 
  6. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  7. When cooking time has finished, remove the pork from the slow cooker and keep it warm on a large serving plate in a warm oven, 100 deg. C, covered tightly with alfoil.
  8. Skim excess fat from the sauce and and remove the lemon grass. If there is a lot of sauce which seems a bit thin it can be reduced down in a saucepan on the stove for 10 minutes if you have time.
  9. Remove meat from the oven and pull apart. It will be juicy and succulent. To serve, drizzle pulled pork with the Char Sui sauce, a few finely chopped spring onions,  and serve with more sauce in a jug on the table.
  10. I sometimes like to serve this dish with a bowl of purchased pink pickled galangal, often served also with sushi,  or you might like to make your own. Galangal is often available fresh at Farmers Markets. Here is my recipe for Pickled Galangal. Our galangal will be ready to harvest in a month or so I hope.

The pork can also be roasted in a covered baking dish at 110 deg. C for 8 hours. It is much easier though to use a slow cooker for this.

Wombok Salad and Dressing (gluten free option as well) 

I haven't written about the Wombok salad recipe before because I thought everyone knew about it, bought womboks regularly and that I would be putting up something as common as sliced bread. Well I've realised that's not the case,  and whenever I make this salad for dinner parties and friends I am always intrigued how little is known about the wombok and the wombok salad.This is one of the most popular summer salads in our family, and I always make it as part of our Christmas festivities, as it has become a tradition. 

Wombok salad is also delicious with shredded cooked chicken tossed through it, which extends the life of a cooked chook that bit further.  It is a satisfying meal in itself. This recipe can be easily made as a gluten free option just by ensuring the Dressing ingredients are gluten free. and replacing the Fried Noodles with the gluten free version of the product. (see below)

I know this is sure to become your new favourite salad. It is perfect for when you need a big yummy salad, there is a BBQ on or when it's your turn to make a salad. It will be perfect to serve to the family over Easter.  So here it is, even though I feel as if I am preaching to the already converted. 
Ingredients:  (Serves 8) 

1/2 a Wombok (Chinese cabbage)
1 packet Changs Original Fried Noodles,(found in the Asian section of the supermarket) also now available in a gluten free range

4-6 Spring onions 
1/2 cup toasted pinenuts or slivered almonds, for crunch
6 Kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded with middle vein removed
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander (or more if you just love it)
1 grated carrot (optional) 
1/2 finely chopped red capsicum
(If you are making this for a large party, just buy a whole wombok, double the salad dressing and the other ingredients.)


Wash the outer leaves of the wombok, dry them and shred the wombok finely, right down to within about 5 cm of the base.

Toast the pinenuts or slivered almonds in a frypan, stirring continuously, being very careful not to burn them. This won't take long. I often toast a few packets at a time and keep them in a bottle for easy use when I need them. 

Place all of the salad ingredients except the pinenuts and the noodles in a large covered container in the frig until you are ready to serve your salad. 

Essential Dressing for the Wombok salad:


1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup Light olive oil (Extra Virgin Olive Oil is too heavy for this dressing)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup castor sugar


Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and heat on low until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.

To serve your salad, place the refrigerated greens in a large serving bowl, add the pinenuts and mix through, add the dressing and toss into the salad, (you might not need all of the dressing), the greens only need to be lightly coated. Then sprinkle the noodles on the top of the salad. It's now ready to serve. The pine nuts and the noodles should always be added at the last minute before serving so that they stay crisp. Alternatively, you can serve the dressing separately in a jug and everyone can add their own dressing to their salad. Any salad leftovers will then stay fresh for a couple of days in a covered container.

The Wombok  (Brassica rapa var. pekinensis)  is an ancient crop and has been around for over 6000 years in Asian countries and belongs to the same family as the broccoli, the cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, and is also commonly known as a Chinese Cabbage or a Tientsin cabbage. We grow about 11,000 tonnes of the stuff annually valued at AUS $9.3 million, most of it being consumed domestically, however a small volume is exported mostly to Singapore. I read where it is grown mostly in South East Queensland and Western Australia. (AgriFutures Australia.)

Japanese Pickled Cucumber ( nice to serve with Char Sui pork as well)

1 large cucumber or 3 small ones
2 teaspoons salt

Pickling solution:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, white or black (I originally used 2 tablespoons which is in the photo however I think I prefer less)

Wash the cucumbers and slice into thin rounds. To remove excess moisture, place the sliced cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons of salt, and set aside for 5-10  minutes. Rinse off the salt with water in a colander, and drain the cucumbers thoroughly.

Combine all of the remaining  pickling solution ingredients in a bowl.

Place the pickled cucumber in a lidded container and leave it in the refrigerator if possible for 24 hours. They will be delicious to eat then, but they can be made a few days in advance by which time the flavours will have really developed.

Bye for now my friends and thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear from you and I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Best wishes



  1. Vietnamese cuisine uses lots of fresh produce and usually light yet very flavourful. That looks like a really tasty and comforting meal, not to mention it's healthy too!

    1. Thanks Angie, yes I think this combination ticks all the right boxes. We really enjoy this meal whenever I cook it.

  2. Wow. Two wonderful looking dishes -- both with such neat flavorings. And a new word for me! I know Chinese cabbage, of course, but have never heard the term "Wombok." Fun to learn new stuff. :-)

    1. Thanks KR, sometimes I forget that a wombok here is something else to people in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a strong Asian influence in Australian cooking, and Vietnamese is also probably the healthiest.Take care.

  3. yay to pickled cucumber! but sadly no to pork! i do like the freshness of vietnamese food.

    1. Thanks Sherry, I thought of you when I was writing this up and wondered how you would diplomatically tell me you don't eat pork :) I'll try this sauce with chicken one day and see how it goes. Since restaurants have sized down their menus with covid, Vietnamese is our best choice here at the moment. Hope it's cooling down in Bris, its not here unfortunately.

    2. still so warm here pauline. 31C tomorrow!!

  4. Thanks for those recipes, Pauline. I will try them. I know how much work is involved in writing up a blog post like that.

    1. Thanks Chel, that's very kind of you. I do enjoy it though.

  5. If you had not said that Wombok was Chinese cabbage I would have had to ask the google machine! We don't get Chinese cabbage here sadly. The pulled pork looks amazing and sounds delicious.

  6. Thanks Tandy, Chinese cabbage is a softer cabbage than the traditional cabbage, making it very easy to work with and enjoyable to eat. I hope you can taste it one day sometime in the future.

  7. This looks fantastic Pauline! I love Vietnamese food and flavours :D

    1. Thanks Lorraine, yes lovely tasty food perfect for this climate as well.

  8. I love pulled meat, so tender and yummy, Wonderful meal!

    1. Natalia so do I, long slow cooking does the trick. Thanks for your interest.

  9. Wow! This is so unusual to me! I've never heard of Char Sui Sauce or Wombok Salad!

    1. Thanks Jeff, It is so interesting that you say that. I've been making both of these for a long time now. I know you would enjoy them I'm sure any Asian supermarket would stock the Char Sui sauce in a bottle. Have a great Easter.


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