Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho Gung)

Recipe Video: How to Make Vietnamese Ginger Chicken

One of my favorite Vietnamese braised dishes is ginger chicken or Ga Kho Gung. It’s a simple dish of bite-size pieces of chicken, braised and caramelized in a clay pot with ginger, garlic, shallots and fish sauce. It is typically served family-style with steamed rice and a vegetable dish.

This recipe is a simple version of Ga Kho Gung that doesn’t use coconut soda (Coco Rico) or coconut juice. For the Ga Kho Gung recipe that uses coconut soda/juice, click here. The below recipe also includes the traditional method of using sugar to caramelize or brown the chicken before braising.

This dish is always tastier the next day as the marinade seep into the chicken more. Double the recipe for a delicious leftover. The future-hungry-you will be thankful.

Vietnamese Must-Have Pantry Items (Condiment Box)
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Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho Gung)

Serves 4-6



  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken (legs, drumsticks or thighs)
  • Salt for washing chicken (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon chicken or mushroom stock powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

    Caramel Color

  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • Aromatics

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-inch piece ginger (thumb size, peel and slice into thin strips)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peel and dice)
  • 1 large shallot (peel and dice)
  • Garnish

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro/green onions


  1. Chop up chicken into large 2-inch pieces. Coat the chicken generously with salt. Rub salt into the chicken to give it a good scrubbing. Scrap chicken skin clean with a knife if needed. Rinse with cold running water then drain dry.
  2. Marinate chicken with chicken stock powder, sugar, salt, MSG and black pepper for at least 15 minutes. Fish sauce will be added later to subdue the fishy smell.
  3. Make the caramel sauce: To a large skillet with a lid, add sugar and heat on medium high. Wait until sugar melts and caramelizes to a dark amber color. Sugar will burn quickly with lots of smoke (best to do this outside if possible). Do not walk away. Wait until sugar caramelizes to dark amber, not black. Immediately add marinated chicken. Toss chicken with caramel sauce to get a nice brown color. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  4. To the now empty skillet, add vegetable oil and heat on medium-high. Add shallots first. Toss until fragrant. Add ginger next. Toss until fragrant. Lastly, add garlic. Toss until fragrant.
  5. Add chicken to the aromatics in the skillet. Toss until coated. Add fish sauce and toss until evenly coated. Cover skillet with a lid for 10 minutes and reduce heat to a low simmer. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and continue to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until liquid is mostly evaporated.
  6. Garnish with a dash of black pepper and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Serve with steamed rice for a full meal.