Vietnamese Shrimp and Pork Wontons

Chef Thai Phi shares his simple recipe for Hoành Thánh from Pink Bellies, his new Charleston restaurant

Photo: Courtesy of Pink Bellies

After successfully running a food truck and pop-up in a local food hall, chef Thai Phi opened Pink Bellies as a permanent brick and mortar on Charleston, South Carolina’s King Street this spring, serving classic and reimagined Vietnamese comfort food such as banh mi and pulled pork-topped garlic noodles.

Phi also created his take on hoành thánh, spicy pork shrimp wontons served with chili oil, chives, and scallions, a dish Phi based on memories of visiting Vietnam as a child. “We’d walk around District 5 in Ho Chi Min City,” he says of the city’s vibrant Chinatown filled with food stalls and hole-in-the-wall eateries. “There’s one street that serves just this dish.” 

Of all the intricate dishes on his new menu, Phi says this is one of the easier ones for a home cook to replicate. “Most of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store, and they’re just so fresh when you make them at home,” he says. 

To balance out the subtle sweetness of the wontons, Phi recommends serving it in a spicy soy sauce concoction. “I like a low sodium soy sauce (you can dilute regular soy sauce with a bit of water to taste), a splash of black vinegar, and some chili oil. Sriracha or sambal work great as well,” he says. “And keep in mind that the wrinklier they are, the better.” 


  • Pink Bellies’ Shrimp and Pork Wontons (Yield: about 25 wontons)

  • For the filling:

    • 4 oz. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped (Phi gets his shrimp fresh from Tarvin Seafood and the Miss Paula in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina)

    • 4 oz. ground pork

    • ¼ cup jicama, finely diced

    • ½ green onion, thinly sliced

    • 1 sprig cilantro, thinly sliced

    • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce

    • ½ tsp. sugar

    • 1 tsp. sesame oil

    • 1 pinch black pepper

    • ⅛ cup corn starch

  • For the wrapper:

    • ½ package wonton wrappers (a typical package contains 50 wrappers)

    • 1 bowl cold water

    • Sprinkle of cornstarch

  • For the sauce:

    • 3 tbsp. soy sauce

    • 1 tsp. hot sauce

    • A splash of black or rice vinegar

    • Cilantro, for garnish

    • Green onions, for garnish


  1. Combine all of the filling ingredients. Place 1–2 tsp. of filling inside a wrapper. Lightly wet the interior edges of the wrapper with water and pinch the edges together to form a triangle. Try to push out any air while sealing. Repeat until all filling is used.

  2. Lightly dust wontons in cornstarch to prevent sticking. Boil a pot of water and add the wontons for 3–5 minutes until they float to the top. The wrinklier they turn out, the better.

  3. For the sauce, mix soy sauce, vinegar, and a touch of hot sauce. Make more as needed, to your taste. Pour over wontons in a dish and garnish with cilantro and green onions.