The Local Palate Newsletter
Sign up to recieve news, updates, recipes, cocktails and web exclusives about food culture in the south

Share this article via email


Save 72% off of newsstand price now!

Subscribe to The Local Palate
Shop Marketplace Savor the South Newsletter Tableaux Newsletter Subscribe Digital Edition Customer Service Send a Gift App Store Google Play

Get the latest from the Local Palate, straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Get the latest from the Local Palate, straight to your inbox.

Nem Nuong Cay Mia (BBQ Pork Meatballs on Sugar Cane Skewers)


7 4-5-inch canned sugarcane sticks

1 packet of Alsa baking powder

2 tablespoons cold water

2 tablespoons rice wine

2 pounds ground pork

2-3 tablespoons fish sauce (Phi suggests 3 Crabs brand )

3 1/3 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground white pepper

5 – 6 tablespoons fresh garlic, finely minced

5 – 6 tablespoons shallots, finely minced

2 drops red food coloring (optional)

1 bunch of spring onions, sliced

1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil


  1.  Cut each sugarcane stick lengthwise into 7 smaller sticks by first cutting it into 3 major portions the long way, then cut the end of each skewer into a point, like a spear, in order to smoothly slide the meatballs onto sugarcane skewers. Reserve leftover sugarcane juice.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine baking powder with cold water and rice wine and whisk. It will begin to foam.
  3. Thoroughly mix (hand mixing is fine) ground pork, fish sauce, sugar, salt, white pepper, garlic, shallots, red food coloring, and the foaming baking powder mixture until ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  4. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to develop and meat mixture to tighten.
  5. After meat is chilled, form meatballs.
  6. Gently push sugarcane skewer through formed meatballs. Leave a little bit of space at both ends of the skewers.
  7. Grill or broil until internal temp reaches 145 degrees. Baste skewers on the grill with leftover sugarcane juice.
  8. Sauté spring onions in a pre-heated pan on high with canola or vegetable oil for 15-30 seconds.
  9. Top skewers with spring onions and oil.
Print Recipe