Vietnamese-Style Chicken

From Geoff Last

2014 Jul/Aug



  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. hot sauce, mild heat, such as Frank’s
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. grated fresh ginger
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 chicken, cut up (alternatively you can use any combination of breasts, thighs and legs, skin-on, to serve 4)


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and add the chicken pieces, turning vigorously to coat. Marinate for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 8, turning the chicken from time to time.


Grilling Glaze:

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped shallots (about 2)
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 T. Asian fish sauce
  • 2 T. Sriracha hot chile sauce
  • 1/2 t. salt


Preheat the grill. Cook the sugar in a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, just until the sugar is melted and takes on some colour as it becomes a bit caramelized. Be careful – if you have the heat too high you’ll end up with hard candy. Add the shallots, lime juice, fish sauce, Sriracha and salt – the caramel will harden to some degree – and cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel is dissolved and the shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Set aside until ready to use and reheat if the caramel hardens.

Grill the chicken. I use the top grill because the intense heat of the main lower grill will burn the sugar in the grilling glaze. If that doesn’t work, keep the heat low under the chicken when you start basting.

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and grill them, turning, for about 10 minutes, until they’re close to being done. Baste the chicken pieces with the glaze and cook for a few minutes, then turn them and glaze the opposite side. Keep doing this until you have used up most of the glaze and the pieces are dark gold and cooked all the way through. The whole process should take roughly 20 minutes. Serve with the rice noodle salad. Serves 4.