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Vietnamese sweet & salty chicken


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If you’ve ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant, you will always find the Sweet & salty chicken wings in the Appetizer section. However, in Vietnam, we consider it as one of the main dishes and enjoy it with hot rice in our daily meals. There are several ways to make it, such as frying the chicken till crispy then coating with sauce separately or marinate and grill it. My style is to marinating the chicken for long hours, then fry on medium heat and use the marinade as sauce for basting so that I could maintain the tenderness of the chicken and the bold flavor of the marinade/sauce at the end. And yeah, it’s another recipe from my dear grandmother!

Ingredients: (for 6 servings)


Total time: 3 hours of marinating (at least) + 1.25 hour of cooking = 4 hours 15 minutes


Hope you enjoy the recipe!!


Vietnamese sweet & salty chicken

The Sweet & salty chicken wings are usually found in the Appetizer section in Vietnamese restaurant in the US. However, in Vietnam, it’s a main dish and served with hot rice. Still, it’s delicious that you will want lick your fingers. And yeah, it’s another recipe from my dear grandmother!
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword chicken, fish sauce
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Marinating time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 649kcal


  • 2 lbs Bone-in chicken thighs (or wings, drumsticks) ~ 6 thighs
  • ½ cup Cooking oil
  • 3 clove Garlic can be replaced by 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 clove Shallot can be replaced by 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Black pepper
  • 6 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp Soy sauce optional
  • 6 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • Fresh cilantro and green onions as garnish optional


  • Finely chop garlic and shallot.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chopped garlic and shallot with fish sauce, soy sauce, honey and black pepper, mix well until homogenized.
  • Add the chicken to the sauce bowl and marinate for at least 3 hours. The more the chicken is immersed in the sauce, the better it tastes.
  • In a 10.25 in. frying pan, add cooking oil and put on medium-high heat. The temperature should be around 260 F.
  • Reduce to medium heat and add the chicken. It should be fried at medium heat to prevent fast caramelizing and burning. Each side of the chicken thigh should be cooked in about 15 minutes so it takes approximately 1 hour to fry 6 thighs in the mentioned frying pan. If you have larger frying pan, the total frying time could be reduce.
  • Once the chicken is fully cooked, set them aside. In the same frying pan, save the excess oil on top for fried rice or any stir-fry recipes and keep the sauce at the bottom. Increase the heat to medium-high heat, add the remaining marinade to the frying pan to combine with the sauce, stir well until the liquid is reduced to 2/3 or 1/2 of the original amount. Mix the tapioca flour with water then quickly add to the sauce and constantly stirring until the sauce is thickened. Add the chicken thighs to the pan again and coat well with the sauce for 5-10 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and it’s ready to be served. Top with chopped cilantro and green onions.


  • You can bake the chicken at 350 F in 30 minutes (turn every 15 minutes) and brush the sauce on and bake for 5 minutes more on each side of the chicken thighs.
  • A helpful tip to reduce strong smell while frying is to cover the pan with a lid. It also prevents splashing of hot oil while frying.
  • You can totally switch to a saucepan to make the sauce and coat the chicken thighs. Here, I want to take advantage of the sauce that is already in the frying pan and I don’t have to wash another cookware (Sorry I’m lazy!).
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