No-fail marinade for grilled meats


This sauce can be used to marinade any meats or even tofu and mushrooms. When marinating tofu or mushrooms, omit the oil as these will be extremely oily in taste! If you’re eating the meats as a snack, reduce the amount of fish sauce by one tablespoon. Please don’t reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe! If you’re on a special diet or have a sugar restriction, then eat something else as your dish won’t be authentic Vietnamese but your own fusion which isn’t the same thing!

The secret ingredient in the marinade is five-spice powder. This is used in Chinese cooking as well as Asian cooking.  The five spices in the powder are star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper and ground fennel seeds. You can make your own 5-spices and adjust the amounts to suit your personal preference.

Your marinated meat can then be a topping for banh mi, on broken rice or sliced in summer rolls. Enjoy!


  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil


Step 1

Combine all the ingredients together until well blended and the sugar has dissolved.

Step 2

Use the marinade on meats, tofu or mushrooms. Marinade at room temperature for 1 hour (2 hours for tofu) or in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Step 3

Grill on the stove top or on the barbie.

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