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March 21, 2010

Have always wanted to make this at home after eating this at so many Chinese restaurants, it’s a very scrumptious fatty cut of meat with an amazing crispy skin. SO, decided to experiment with alot of trepidation!

Checked out a few recipes online such as these from Piggy’s Cooking Journal and Gastronomy Domine and the main tip for success is to ensure the skin is as dry as possible prior to cooking. Found various suggestions where the skin should be scored and/or pricked and an acidic agent such as lemon juice or white rice vinegar and salt is then applied which prepares the skin for the crisping process. Then high heat is used to blast the skin and make it bubble up to form a fabulous crackling.

Amalgamated various recipes to produce my own version. Make sure you buy a piece of boneless belly pork with a good layer of fat beneath the skin to produce good crackling and keep the meat moist during cooking. Your butcher can debone this for you and also help with scoring the skin. For some reason, my local supermarkets are not so keen on stocking decent sized pieces of belly pork even though these cuts are really good value for money. Perhaps people are not so happy to eat fatty cuts of meat.

Try to make sure the skin is dry before roasting to produce a crispy skin. Watch your pork once the heat is turned up to the highest setting so you don’t burn the skin. I checked every 10 minutes as was very paranoid and turned the pork around as only one side was crisping and bubbling up. Poke the skin with a very sharp knife to render the fat when you’re checking the meat, this will aid the crisping process. Don’t be alarmed if smoke emerges from your oven while checking the pork, just open your kitchen window and turn on the cooker hood!

After roasting the pork and letting it rest while waiting in nervous anticipation, I was so pleased and relieved to hear the crunch of the skin while pushing my chopper blade through. Not only was the skin golden, bubbly, crispy and crunchy, the meaty flesh was very succulent and moist.


The only thing I might change next time is to decrease the salt used on top of the skin as it was quite salty for me. Or I might just scrape it off halfway through roasting. Just try this recipe out and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to produce this roast at home normally found in restaurants.

Chinese roast belly pork

Serves 3-4

1 kg boneless belly pork

1 tbsp coarse salt

Juice from 1/4 lemon


1 1/2 tbsp fine salt

1/2 tbsp sugar

1 cube of fermented red beancurd (nam yue)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp five-spice powder

  1. Prick the skin all over by stabbing it with a roasting fork and score in parallel lines about 1 cm apart or in a cross-hatch pattern with a very sharp knife ensuring you do not cut all the way through to the meat.
  2. Turn the belly over so it is now skin-side down and poke holes in the meat randomly.
  3. Mix the marinade ingredients and massage this into the meat.
  4. Flip the belly over with the skin facing up, add lemon juice to the skin and use your fingers to press the juice into the skin so it is covered entirely. Leave for 5 minutes.
  5. Rub the coarse salt onto the skin.
  6. Leave the pork in the fridge, skin-side up uncovered for at least 8 hours or overnight to let the skin dry out. If it isn’t dry enough and/or you’re rushed for time, air-dry it with a hairdryer on the cool setting.
  7. Take the pork out an hour before roasting to take the chill off the meat. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  8. Place the pork on a rack with a foil-lined tray underneath to catch dripping oil and this also helps with cleaning afterwards!
  9. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn up the oven temperature to 250 degrees Celcius and roast for around 30 minutes to crisp up the skin. Poke the skin with a sharp knife occasionally to release the fat. You must keep an eye on the pork to ensure it does not burn!
  10. Once the skin has bubbled up and turned golden brown, there may be some blacked charred areas, take it out of the oven and use a knife to scrape this off the skin.
  11. Leave the pork to rest for 10 minutes.
  12. Chop the pork into neat bite-sized pieces and serve with rice and stir-fried vegetables. Hoisin sauce can be used as a dipping sauce.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Tak permalink
    April 21, 2010 4:42 pm

    that looks bloody amazing.. I dont think the cook here could do it. I have to come with a good meal for my send of any ideas.. its got to be simple for the uncaring cook to do it. But I want it to warm me from the soles of my feet

    • April 21, 2010 9:49 pm

      Thanks for taking a look at my post. It was pretty daunting while attempting to cook this but well worth the effort! I think it’s preferable to be a caring cook and put your love and effort into preparing something very yummy and attractive. Much more satisfying! Not sure what food you like so just keep checking out my blog and other ones on the web for ideas and something will turn up.

  2. August 13, 2010 11:48 am

    That looks fantastic. I’d be interested to see how it compares with our recent post of roasted pork belly.

    • August 14, 2010 8:51 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, I sort of managed to cook a piece of pork belly successfully! The key is definitely is scoring the skin and make sure the moisture is at a minimum in the skin.

  3. Leo permalink
    October 21, 2010 6:13 am

    use a hair dryer to dry it out further prior to entering into oven?

    • October 22, 2010 11:47 am

      Yeah, could help to dry out the skin but not sure how long you’d have to stand there with a hairdryer over your pork belly!

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