Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vietnamese Ham(Cha Lua)

yes new ham

Vietnamese ham may seem intimidating at first, but let me reassure you that it is SUPER easy to make. I've been making them for the past 2 years and honestly speaking, they don't really last that long in my home.

Vietnamese Ham, also known as Cha Lua, is commonly used in Vietnamese Sandwiches aka Banh Mi and many noodle soup recipes. When I am really lazy and don't feel like cooking, I like to add pieces of ham into my instant noodles. It's even good served with rice, a little bit of soy sauce, and lots of Sriracha hot sauce! YUM!

The possibilities are endless with this one, and I hope you guys really enjoy it just as much as I do!



2 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin
3 tsp of fish sauce
1/2 tsp of salt
1 Tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp of white pepper
WHOLE black peppercorns(optional)

For the wet ingredients:

1 bag of Alsa baking powder(or 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp of tapioca starch
2/3 cup of warm water
*Don't make this mixture until the very last minute. It will start to bubble and that's normal.

You will also need:

good quality saran wrap
kitchen twine/string
a steamer


Take your pork tenderloin, rinse it, and then pat it dry. Remove any excess fat or silver skin. Chop into small pieces and add it into your food processor.

Pulse meat until it is fully grounded. Stop the motor and then season your pork. IF USING PEPPERCORNS, DO NOT ADD THOSE IN YET.

Continue to pulse for about 30 more seconds. Stop the motor, mix your wet ingredients, and then immediately pour it into your pork. Continue to pulse for 30 more seconds or until smooth.

Pour your pork mixture into a bowl and if you are using peppercorns, go ahead and add them now. Mix well with a spatula, cover with saran wrap, and store in the fridge OVERNIGHT.

The following day, wrap your pork tightly in saran wrap. Follow with two more layers of saran wrap, and then with some kitchen twine.

Steam until no longer pink. If your pork weighs 1 pound, you should steam them for ABOUT 30 minutes. Anything more or less, please adjust cooking time as needed.

NOTES: After steaming, you may freeze your leftover ham for future use. Just thaw and serve. I've always used the French baking powder so I do not know if it will yield the same results, using regular baking powder. You can purchase Asla baking powder in most Asian markets. They come in little pink packages and can be found next to the corn starch.


  1. Thank you so much for your videos! I have been making the Spring rolls three times and always turned out perfect! Pork is in the fridge and will be ready to steam in the morning. Again, thanks so much and I think you are awesome!

  2. Hi, there! Aren't they delicious?! I just looove spring rolls! Matter of fact, I'm making some today! And you're awesome because you think that I'm awesome. Lol.

  3. Hi Sav, l just want to say l love watching your videos and l find its very simple and easy to follow step by step. About this video Vietnamese ham, if l cant find the Alsa baking powder what could l substitude with? Thank you and keep it up with your videos

  4. Hi Kim,

    You can try using regular baking powder. I've never tried this before so I'm not sure if it'll work.

    Thank you for your kind words and best of luck!

  5. Hi Sav,

    Where can I buy the machine used to ground the meat for making Vietnamese ham? Thanks a lot.


  6. traditionally, isnt cha made with banana leaves? so when you used saran wrap (plastic wrap) to steam the meat, the plastic is seeping its way onto the meat making the cha unhealthy and kind of unsafe to eat. Idk these are my opinions. Thanks for sharing your recipe, it looks great!

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