Cha Oc Recipe Vietnamese Ham & Periwinkle

cha oc

There are so many types of chả in the Vietnamese food lexicon, it’s hard to keep track, even for us.  From a simple pork paste giò sống, the Vietnamese have elevated this humble mixture into variety of “hams,” if you will, with the most common being chả lụa, found in many banh mi, and to a lessor but still well known chả Huế, chả que, and finally chả ốc.  Other Vietnamese foods include the term chả in it as well, such as chả giò—Vietnamese egg rolls, simply because chả giò often contains a ground pork filling. As previously mentioned, all these chả products are derivatives of giò sống, the multi-purpose pork paste that’s easy to make at home, or bought in most Asian groceries. One of these days we’ll have a recipe for all varieties of chả we listed, but for now we want to feature what’s most likely the least known, chả ốc.

cha oc

What we love about this Northern Vietnamese snack is the texture and fragrance. Small bits of chewy periwinkle or conch adds a great texture to what’s normally smooth bologne like texture of pork.  Pork and Periwinkle, sounds like a name of hip new restaurant doesn’t it? You can find cooked periwinkle or conch in the frozen section of your Asian grocer as well. But that’s not all folks, add to that fragrant lemongrass and citrus scent of kaffir lime leaves, it’s easily the most aromatic and texturally interesting type of chả of all.

cha oc

Just like chả lụa which can be eatened steamed or fried, chả ốc is also often skewered and fried, a great snack on the street corners of Vietnam or now, in your own kitchen! It’s so simple to make and here’s a short video on how you make chả ốc and roll it together:


Chả ốc Vietnamese Ham with Periwinkle

Yield: About 15 rolls 3-4 inch long


1 lb pork paste (giò sống )
1/2 cup cooked periwinkle or conch, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely minced lemongrass (only the white thicker end)
2 tbs minced kaffir lime leaves
2 ts fish sauce
Banana leaves, cut roughly 4 x 2 inch rectangles
Aluminum foil, roughly 4 inch wide


In mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Lay banana leaf on one side of aluminum foil and place about 2 tbs of the mixture onto the banana leaf. Mold the mixture into a log and roll tightly roughly, dime size thickness. Seal the ends one at a time by twisting the foil.

Bring a steamer to boil. Add the uncooked cha oc into the steamer tray and steam about 10-12 minutes. Enjoy as a snack hot or cold, or pan fried with touch of oil until golden brown.

Cooks note: Giò sống , uncooked pork paste can be purchased in the refrigerated or frozen section of most Asian markets--we like the brand with the laughing pig. It's typically already seasoned so we account for that by adding only 2 ts of fish sauce, but check the particular brand.

This is our entry to Delicious Vietnam, a monthly blogging event to celebrate Vietnamese cuisine created by Anh of Food Lovers Journey and ourselves! This month, Delicious Vietnam is hosted by Angry Asian Creations. Please submit your posts to Lan at angryasiancreations[at] by July 10, 2011.

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21 Responses to “Cha Oc Recipe Vietnamese Ham & Periwinkle”

  1. 1

    Quan — June 18, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    Thank you Hong and Kim for the delicious recipe! I definitely will have to try it!

    btw, brain in Vietnamese is Óc and snail is Ốc (with a “^” on top of the O, so the two words are not the same 🙂

  2. 2

    The Ravenous Couple — June 18, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    Darn accents! Let’s just call it poetic license in the video to make a joke out of it! 🙂 Do let us know how it goes!

  3. 3

    Peter — June 18, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    It’s very much like chao-tom with the shrimp paste? Looks delish–thanks for the video clip too!

  4. 4

    The Ravenous Couple — June 20, 2011 @ 8:44 am

    yes, it’s similar paste mixture, but of course this is very fragrant with the herbs

  5. 5

    Jen — June 19, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    I love your website and have tried quite a few of your recipes. I love them all. Thank you for doing what you do. Hong and Kim, you guys are Awesome!!!

  6. 6

    The Ravenous Couple — June 20, 2011 @ 8:45 am

    thank you so much Jen…it is like a part time (sometimes feels like full time job) but we love that people are inspired to cook more and learn more about Vietnamese food via our blog.

  7. 7

    Van — June 19, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

    I just made them. It was so good. My whole family love it. Yum Yum Yum! Thank you for taking the time to inspire people to cook!

  8. 8

    The Ravenous Couple — June 20, 2011 @ 8:43 am

    That’s fantastic to hear! So glad you family enjoyed them.

  9. 9

    Gastronomer — June 19, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

    Got any left?! I’ve never tried cha oc, but it sounds exquisite. I bet the kafir lime and lemongrass do wonders for the cha!

  10. 10

    The Ravenous Couple — June 20, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    we’ve stopped cooking for the last 1 month in anticipation..but when we’re neighbors, we’ll be sure to invite ya! 😉

  11. 11

    bumblebee — June 20, 2011 @ 11:15 am

    Love your website!
    I am going to try since this is my husband and dad’s favorites. Thanks you guys!

  12. 12

    Jackie — June 20, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    I also get confused with Vietnamese accents lol!

    Just discovered your wonderful how to videos. Great job!

  13. 13

    Carolyn Jung — June 22, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

    How beautiful these look! I just want to gnaw on a few right now. I had no idea periwinkles were even mixed in with the pork.

  14. 14

    wizzythestick — June 23, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

    You are always so original with your recipes as well as your photographs. Love conch and must give this a try. I never would have thought to pair it with pork. Very surf and turf:-)

  15. 15

    The Ravenous Couple — June 25, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    those are definitely not common pairings, but we think it works!

  16. 16

    Bonnibella — June 23, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    Fantastic way to combine snails and pork. I am going to try your recipe soon.

  17. 17

    The Ravenous Couple — June 25, 2011 @ 8:53 am

    definitely let us know how it goes!

  18. 18

    Phil — June 30, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    Let me first begin with how I love your website. Every minute and article I read takes me to my childhood and memories of the food my grandparents make in Vietnam. My mom knows a lot of Vietnamese recipes but there were some that were lost that I found here. The more I read the more I crave and now I can make these dishes Thanks!

  19. 19

    clare — July 12, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

    where can u get the kaffir lime leave? Do they sell it at an asian market?

  20. 20

    The Ravenous Couple — July 13, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    thai markets will have them

  21. 21

    Quan — February 3, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

    I made 50 of these for my birthday and it was a big hit! Thanks for the recipe, Hong and Kim. I skipped the aluminum foil and only used banana leaves, I loved how the aroma of the banana leaves infused into the cha oc…This is such an excellent dish!

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