This name of this dish may sound like the Chinese dumpling you order at yum cha, but it’s actually very different. The Vietnamese Xíu Mái are pork meatballs, often served in a light tomato sauce with a hot French bread roll, or inside a Banh Mi sandwich with cucumber, pickled daikon, shredded carrot, a few sprigs of coriander and if you like, chopped birds eye chillies.

This is my Dad’s family recipe and it’s a dish I’ve been eating since I was a kid. During my recent trip back to my parent’s hometown in Saigon (I cover this delectable experience in my book, I Ate My Way Through Singapore & Vietnam), I discovered that people all over Vietnam were savouring this wonderful dish too.

Bring a taste of Vietnam to your table and try this much cherished recipe.






Skill level

Average: 3 (67 votes)



  • 1 ½ large onions, diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 kg pork mince
  • 15 g black fungus, rehydrated and chopped coarsely
  • 30 g water chestnuts, chopped coarsely
  • 1 ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp corn flour


  • 5 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp corn flour mixed with ¼ cup cold water

To garnish

  • hot French bread roll
  • coriander leaves
  • Maggi Seasoning

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Sauté onions with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil. When done, set aside to cool.

Once the onion has cooled, combine all the meatball ingredients and mix well.

Roll the mixture into meatballs, about 4cm in diameter. You should be able to make about 30 meatballs.

Cook the meatballs in manageable batches of 5–10. Steam for either 15–20 minutes or place loosely in a deep plate or bowl, add 5 mm of water and microwave for 3 minutes on high.

To prepare the sauce, combine the tomato sauce with sugar and ½ cup water in a saucepan. Bring to boil then quickly add the corn flour mixture. Simmer for a minute or less and serve immediately over the meatballs.

Serve garnished with coriander, a few drops of Maggi Seasoning plus a hot French bread roll.

Tip: These freeze really well so double the portions and freeze away!