Sweet and Salty Vietnamese Chicken

Sweet and salty, this Vietnamese-style chicken recipe is sometimes called caramel chicken.

Caramel in Chicken? Well it might sound odd but if you come to think of it salty and sweet will always be a perfect combination whether it a dessert or a savoury dish. Time and time again these two flavours had made desserts like salted caramel anything, ginataang halo halo with a pinch of salt, bacon chocolate cupcakes and most of Thai dishes really stand out.

So, what is Caramel Chicken? Basically, this Vietnamese dish is a simple pan-fried chicken coated in a sauce made with melted palm sugar, vinegar and fish sauce with a slight kick of green chillies. Most of the flavour profiles can be found in this one dish, salty, sweet and spicy, it is definitely delicious, it is amazing! Great to serve with Asian side salad alongside some freshly steamed jasmine rice.

We have enjoyed this chicken with Kangkung Belchan, an Asian vegetable dish. Click here for the recipe.

Sweet and Salty Vietnamese Chicken
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Serves: 5 servings
  • 1 kg chicken thighs
  • 3 tbsp palm sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 pcs green finger chillies, sliced
  • oil
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Marinate the chicken in the marinade ingredients for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat up a heavy pan in high heat, add a small amount of oil then once it starts smoking pan fry the chicken on all sides until it turns golden brown and crispy. Remove the chicken then set it aside.
  3. Lower the heat to medium, add more oil then sauté garlic.
  4. Add the water together with the sugar, fish sauce and apple cider vinegar. Bring back the chicken to the pan, put heat to low and continue to cook the chicken turning it over once in a while for 15 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the sauce becomes thicker in consistency.
  5. Add the finger chillies, toss it with the chicken then turn off heat and serve.

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