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Hands using a knife to slice the Cha Lua

Cha Lua (Vietnamese Ham aka Pork Roll)

Course: Asian
Cuisine: asian
Keyword: Pork Roll, Vietnamese cuisine
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 276kcal
This Cha Lua (Vietnamese Ham aka Pork Roll) is a must when you're making the classic Banh Mi Sandwich. But it is so good for so many other uses. Traditionally, the ham is steamed in banana leaves, but wrapping tightly in wrap works just fine. (And I did the research, using a brand like Saran Wrap is safe...it does not contain any harmful plasticizers and is safe to use during the steaming process). Bottom line...this Cha Lua is delicious! You'll need to start the Cha Lua the night before you cook it.
Print Recipe


  • 2 1/2 lbs lean ground pork
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce*
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 package Alsa baking powder about 1 tablespoon**
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour**
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 package banana leaves** or quality plastic wrap
  • *available in the Asian section of supermarkets or in Asian Food Markets
  • **available at Asian Food Markets


  • Place meat in food processor and add the fish sauce, salt, sugar, pepper, garlic and onion powders. Pulse until fully incorporated.
  • Add the baking powder and flour to the warm water (do not prep this mixture until just before you are ready to add it to the meat mixture).
  • Pour the wet mixture into the meat mixture, and process for 30 seconds.
  • Place the meat mixture in a medium bowl, cover, and place in fridge for overnight.
  • The next day, remove the meat from the fridge, and divide into two loaves.
  • Wrap each loaf tightly with banana leaves, or plastic wrap (Saran Wrap works well). Repeat with another layer.  If using banana leaves, wrap one more time with plastic wrap. 
  • Tie kitchen string around each loaf, lengthwise, and several times width-wise.
  • Steam the loaves for 50 - 60 minutes. (Internal temp should be 145°F.  Slice and check for doneness, if not fully cooked, re-wrap and steam for another 15 minutes). 
  • Remove the string and plastic wrap and slice.



Calories: 276kcal