Chinese Style Crispy Pork Belly

My last post has only been a few days ago, but I’ve always been accustomed to my daily routine of visiting my blog, seeing my site stats, cleaning my google reader by visiting other food blogs, that a few days without a lot of blog activity from my end seems like forever. Not really forever, a hundred years perhaps.

But I do have good reason for being strangely inactive – I have a new job! Well, like my old one, it’s only part-time, two months tops, but right now, this new responsibility keeps me busy. The workload is pretty intense despite my short stint,  so the past few days have seen me adjust and push blogging to the backseat. This is really because food blogging takes a lot of time and energy – from editing photos, encoding/editing recipes to creating the story. It’s time and energy I need to exhaust elsewhere, because I desperately need money and food blogging doesn’t really pay the bills. And man does not live off his mom alone.

Since I don’t get to channel every ounce of energy into cooking, blogging, and eating (ehem), I just really hope I can still churn out great attempts at cooking. BUT I’M HERE and I’M BLOGGING!

Over the weekend I did get to cook pure awesomeness for my grandma’s birthday.

Let me tell you about my grandma: she’s eccentric, loud, incredibly thrifty and, dare I say it, an amazing homemaker, cook and baker. She defied the odds by proving that you don’t have to be a victim of your past and circumstance. Born into poverty and without making it past the 6th grade, together with my grandfather, she managed to build a name for herself in the direct sales industry, send her children, including my mother, to school, and pretty much pave the way for a good, secure future for her children and their children. You can’t really do that without determination and intelligence. One time my mom hinted that if grandma would have just finished her education, she would be smarter than all her children put together.

Growing up with her, she would be quick to declare my laurels to anyone who would listen. Embarrassing, really.

According to her, it’s a fact that all her grandchildren are good singers and dancers. Well, I beg to digress but that’s not really the point. My mom always tells me that she’s proud of all her grandchildren.

Because she’s Chinese and I’m extremely subtle, I made her a Chinese-style oven baked roast pork belly with the crackling. This was a gargantuan achievement for me because Grandma (and the whole family) enjoyed it and was amazed at how the skin was so crispy like chicharon. I got this from Christine’s Recipes, a food blog dedicated to Asian cuisine.

This recipe reminds me of two things: 1. this tastes exactly like Lutong Macau’s roast pork belly and 2. the aroma really reminds of the food courts and restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau, which makes sense because Chinese five-spice is an essential spice to have in Chinese and Macanese cuisine.

Watching the skin silently crackle and explode in the oven, from little tiny bubbles to full-blown crispy crackling, is an amazing sight. The trick here is to get the skin really dry.

This is something best reserved for a weekend lunch with the family. In order for you to get this on the table by lunch time, start at around 9:00 AM because cooking times may vary depending on how large the pork belly is. Forget the lechon kawali, because this is so much better and less oily because it’s baked, albeit still fatty.  And trust me, this is magnificence on a plate that really deserves a place at the table.

Chinese Style Crispy Pork Belly/Siew Yuk (adapted from Christine’s Recipes; serves 6 – 8)

  • 2.5 kg pork belly
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine, optional
  • to taste, rock salt
  • 6 – 7 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 4 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  1. To prepare the seasonings: Combine salt with sugar, pepper and five-spice powder well. Set aside.
  2. Use a knife to scrape away any impurities and hair. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Blanch in boiling water for about 20 minutes, until around 70% done, and the skin is softened. I used a large wok and filled 1/4 of it with water. I carefully placed the pork belly in, and to make sure that the meat is fully submerged in water, I just added a glass or two as needed and allowed it to boil. Photobucket
  4. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towels.
  5. Place the belly on a large platter or tray, meat side up and skin side down
  6. Use a knife to make a few small slits on the meat and up the sides but not on the skin, so the seasoning will be absorbed better.
  7. Evenly brush the meat with the rice wine (optional). Let it rest for around 20 – 30 minutes.
  8. Coat the meat BUT NOT THE SKIN with seasoning mixture, otherwise, the five-spice will darken the skin.Photobucket
  9. Flip the meat so the skin is now facing upwards.
  10. Using thick kitchen towels, evenly pat the skin dry. This is important so the skin can properly crisp up.Photobucket
  11. Using a small knife with a sharp tip OR fondue forks, gently poke the skin to make little holes all over the skin. Christine recommends not exerting too much force that the holes have gone through deep into the fat. But still, you can go crazy poking holes all over. During this time, preheat the oven to 200 C/395 F if you intend to cook it immediately.Photobucket
  12. Pat dry the skin a second time, making sure that there is no visible moisture left behind. Alternatively, you can also wrap the meat, but not the skin, with foil and leave it to dry inside the refrigerator overnight. I didn’t do this but the skin was still really crispy and the meat flavorful. Leaving it overnight however, most probably intensifies the flavor.
  13. When ready to cook, place the belly in a large roasting rack lined with aluminum foil to catch the drippings. Pour around ¼ cup water onto the foil so when the drippings will fall, it will not burn.
  14. Evenly season the rind with rock salt.Photobucket
  15. Bake in the preheated oven for about one hour to one hour and ten minutes.
  16. Turn the heat dial to ‘broil’ and roast for another 20 minutes, or until the rind has sufficiently and evenly crackled. Photobucket
  17. At this point you may notice that some parts of the skin appear to have charred too much. DO NOT PANIC. You can easily remove the charred bits by scraping it with a knife.Photobucket
  18. When done, remove from oven, chop it into your desired serving sizes – cubes or strips and serve warm with rice, with soy sauce and vinegar on the side. Enjoy!

143 thoughts on “Chinese Style Crispy Pork Belly

  1. Pingback: 10 Must Try Asian Inspired Recipes | Savoir Faire Abroad

  2. Nicely done pork belly! Was searching for a pork belly recipe and stumbled into yours. I loved the crispy and the crunchy skin; better than the usual lechon kawali. And you had extra steps done in achieving so. Others are more straightforward. Anyway, I just started my own blog…I hope you can visit back. To start, I i made some Chinese dishes as inspired by the wide array of food selection in an oriental supermarket here in TO. Cheers!

  3. I’m so glad i stumbled upon your blog! I’m second generation Filipino-American and have only been to PI a handful of times. That said, I grew up on Filipino cuisine. My mom, grandmas, aunties all cook Filipino food and passed on a few recipes that I serve my own tisay children. I attempted Lechon Kawali the other day and I nearly burned my house down! Still, it was worth having the few pieces that survived. LOL. Definitely trying your pork belly recipe this weekend!

  4. Pingback: Site recommendation: Crispy Pork Belly Recipe « chinesecochon

  5. Love your pics! They are literally making my stomach growl in hunger. I love love pork belly and your photos with the crispy skin glinting just makes me drool!! 🙂

  6. I’m always a fan to roast pork belly and have made quite a few myself. It’s not easy to make a perfect crispy roast pork belly (I’m quite a perfectionist on myself though).
    I was captured by your photo of the yummy roast pork. Tempted me to make some roast pork again someday.
    Thanks for sharing such lovely blog and keep posting ya!

  7. I had been looking for some crispy pork belly like I had in Beijing so I tried this recipe today with excellent results! This preparation was very straight forward and the clear instructions were quite good. I ended up blanching my pork belly in a roasting pan on the stove.

  8. Very nice, I will try it too. Roast pork – in his many incarnations – is pure heaven! In Italy we make Porchetta (pronounced Porketta) which is whole hog stuffed with herbs and spices and fire-roasted on a spit. I think it goes back to the Roman Empire. Very nice photos too, very good job!

  9. This will be a big hit with fellow Pinoys here in Holland, Gio. Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful post. 😉

  10. Oh. My. God.
    I’m not even going to attempt making that. I’ll just drool at your cooking and wait until I go to Hong Kong this summer to eat some of that good stuff. Aggh!
    Your grandma sounds awesome 🙂

  11. Oh my gosh! That looks amazing. I follow my dad’s recipe and the results are pretty good too. I must try this method and compare! Thanks for bestowing such wisdom to the world! haha

  12. I’m from Manado, North Sulawesi and there’s a local dish that’s really similar to this. The difference is we don’t use seasoning, we only marinate it in lemon juice and salt. And instead of roasting it, we deep fry the pork belly. And of course, it will never be complete without lots of spicy sambal! We call it “babi tore” (crispy pork). Yumm! Nice post!!

  13. Wow! I loved your blog–your story about your grandmother and although I just ate a huge lunch felt hunger pangs just looking at these photos. I must try this. So glad I found your blog. If I master this my husband will be under my thumb forever!!! (evil laugh)

  14. Reblogged this on What's Your Diet and commented:
    Oh my goodness, if you are a pork fan this is a great recipe. I came across the picture to this recipe while searching blogs. I am absolutely drooling and dreaming of making this. Recipes like this is the reason why diet’s don’t work. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to some good eating while trying to lose weight. If anyone knows where to find the spices in this recipe please let me know.

    “Chinese Style Crispy Pork Belly/Siew Yuk (adapted from Christine’s Recipes; serves 6 – 8)

    2.5 kg pork belly
    1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine, optional
    to taste, rock salt


    6 – 7 teaspoons salt
    4 teaspoons sugar
    1 teaspoon five-spice powder
    4 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper

    To prepare the seasonings: Combine salt with sugar, pepper and five-spice powder well. Set aside.
    Use a knife to scrape away any impurities and hair. Rinse thoroughly.
    Blanch in boiling water for about 20 minutes, until around 70% done, and the skin is softened. I used a large wok and filled 1/4 of it with water. I carefully placed the pork belly in, and to make sure that the meat is fully submerged in water, I just added a glass or two as needed and allowed it to boil. “

  15. Oh my goodness, pork and cracklin on the same plate, pure indulgence. I’ve never been that adventurous when it comes to cooking pork. This is making me second guess that notion. Where would I find the seasoning to make this in USA. I never heard of 5 spice.

  16. I live in Asia so this dish is quite common but I’ve never came through a recipe for it. This is amazing! Thank you! 🙂 I’m gonna make this dish real soon 😀

  17. This meat recipe sounds gorgeous! I just found out on Wikipedia how I can make my own five-spice powder (I already got all the ingredients) and I just need to find the Shaoxing wine, which I know is not mandatory, but I love sticking close to the instructions. Should I not find it, could you suggest a substitute? maybe some kind of dry liqueur? I want to taste this very soon, I love ethnic cuisine!

    PS: do you mind me linking your foodblog to mine? 😉

  18. I consider myself a foodie. Not a big fancy pants foodie, more the common variety type. This looks absolutely wunderbar. And yes, I’ll be trying this soon. I’m looking at your most excellent photos and just imagining all of the possibilities. You got me drooling over here! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Amazing! Seems totally doable. Liked the photos and enjoyed your writing style. Congrats on the FP and the new job. Looking forward to following you…

  20. This looks and sounds incredible! I don’t think there’s anything as gorgeous as pork belly and crackling (that’s what we call the hard, crispy layer of skin – we typically remove it from the belly before serving, putting it separately on the plate). I haven’t tried blanching the belly first, but it sounds like a good idea. Do you know exactly the effect this has on the meat/skin?

    I’ve only ever done it in a simple English style but I’m very tempted to do it Chinese style now (I love those flavours too)!

    • I think blanching saves you precious cooking time because when you put it inside the oven, it’s almost cooked, and all you have to worry about is to make the crackling. hahaha i’ve seen recipes that don’t require blanching though. 😀

  21. not only can you cook, but you have such a lovely and winning writing style that I found I didn’t really care about the recipe and wanted to know more about you, your work, your grandma and, really, whatever else you felt like sharing.

    I’ll be stopping by again.

  22. Fantastic photo’s! I am definitively going to try this and the good news is that I have my own free range organic rare breed (Tamworth) pig belly in the freezer already (and for sale also if you are lucky enough to live in Ireland…). Never did “big meat” before but I will now have to try this because you made it irresistable! Not immediately though; because I just seem to have a acquired new job also…

  23. Hola from Malaysia!

    I must say the sheer thought of the juicy roast pork with its crispy skin has got me drooling all over the table. Your version looks great! One of these days, I’m going to try your recipe.

    Congrats on getting freshly pressed! =)

  24. Nakita ko yung blog mo sa Freshly Pressed! Congratulations! hahaha Mag tatagalog naman ako tutal Pinoy ka rin naman. Para maiba lng! haha 😀

    Bakit ang sarap tignan. XD Gusto ko rin maluto to kaso wala naman akong Oven. Huhu

    Anyhoo, I’m a new follower of your blog. Galingan mo! 🙂

    • haha Salamat! Yeah, I have to say na kelangan mo talaga ng oven if you really want to cook. Kami nga, last year lang tlaga kami nagkaroon ng oven that works and ang saya ng feeling! haha Thanks for following and yeah, hopefully tuloy-tuloy na ito. 😀

  25. Yummmm!!! This is heaven right here on earth! I love roast pork belly and I love the skin if it’s crusty and crispy. Did somebody say fat? High cholesterol? Never mind… I didn’t hear a thing! LOL!!!

  26. OMG, you make me drooll.. this is one of my favorite food.. especially the crisps… When I go back to my hometown, My mom always buy this food for me..

  27. This one looks delicious and promising!
    We tried cooking Char Siew recently, and I guess this will be next in line.

    Thanks for the recipe! and keep on blogging 😀

  28. The hungry giant i think your recipes willl be delicous! i really like your post! i LOVE eating and if u cooked for me I would be eternally grateful!!!! Can u pst a comment on my blogs? thanks! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  29. Oh my gosh that looks and sounds mouthwatering! I have to admit I am a wimp and cannot cook anything that I will have to scrape hair off of! I will order it one day or talk my sister into making it! Can’t wait to browse your other recipes!

  30. Wow, lucky you to have made this pork for the event! For certain, no one in my family has done that recipe at all.

    Your grandma sounds fantastic. But then, you know, some of those old timers were tough…just amazing. If you ever wonder if you could find energy to do food blogging just think of her and ..folks like my father: who taught himself English,worked as restaurant cook all his life and oh, yea there were 6 children to support and my mom.

    • Try swapping meats… I do it all the time when I am in the mood for one dish but am too lazy to go to the store to but the specified ingredient. Use a meat thermometer to make sure everything’s cooked the way you like it.

    • Oooh, I have a predisposition to lamb! I really want to try this recipe out with its traditional ingredients but please let us know how it turns out with lamb. I really think you’re on to something!

  31. As a Chinese, I have to give you a thumb up. I really like the way you talk about food, very personal but also very delightful. By the way, your food made me miss my home. 🙂

  32. this looks amazing and really brings back memories. I swear every time I go to my dads house he asks if I want to eat roast pork 🙂

  33. That looks delish, Yum. I hope you continue to find the time to keep posting on your blog becuase I will be back – to check it out. Yum, Yum…

  34. That looks deLISH!!
    I’d like to try it out if that’s ok….we just got our pigs back from the butcher with not 1 but 4 whole pork bellies and that looks like just the thing to try out on at least one of them!!

  35. That looks delish!! I would love to try out the recipe myself please…we just our pigs back from the butcher with not 1 but 4 whole pork bellies. That sounds like just the thing to try out with at least 1 of them!!

  36. Oohh! That looks amazing! I have a love / hate relationship with pork…hate that I love it! Will definitely try this soon!

  37. Beautiful result! I’m sure it tastes great as well. I’m so wanting this right now! 🙂 BTW I love to have the crispy pork belly with the same sauce: straightforward, delicious and spicy!

  38. Parang lechon kawali/ crispy pata / peking duck na hindi! Looks sooooo good!!!!! I wanna eat it with mang tomas! :)) Kudos to your granny! If only we were as hardworking as her then we’d be successful too :))

  39. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your website is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this website.
    It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra post.

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