A huge rise in pork consumption in the past 10 years has made Vietnam the world’s third-largest per capita pig consumer, and by the end of the decade it is likely that the Vietnamese will eat more pork per person than their famously swine-loving Chinese neighbors, who are currently number one.
Vietnam’s boom in pork consumption is largely due to rising income levels, which are also contributing to increased demand for beef and fish. But due to local culinary preferences, pork is the country’s “single most important source of animal protein.” As a result the country is investing heavily in bigger, more centralized pork farms and in higher-yielding genetically modified corn to serve as pig feed.
The country’s desire for pork-based dishes like thịt kho tàu (caramelized pork and eggs braised in coconut juice) is even more stark when you consider that its GDP per capita is just a quarter of China’s, and just 11% of the European Union, which is currently home to the world’s second biggest pork eaters, and whom Vietnam will also surpass by 2020.
Here’s a recipe for thịt kho tàu: