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Braised Pork Belly   紅燒肉

This rustic meaty and fatty pork dish is served as either a main dish or a little bite to accompany other small side dishes. Many different iterations of this dish can be found from high-end restaurants to homemade street venders. Here is a classic recipe to render this perfection.

- Yu Tsai

by Yu Tsai
Serves  6 to 8
Prep time  15 Min
Cooks in  2 Hours
Difficulty  Medium

photo by Yu Tsai

  • 1.5 lbs (24 oz) skin-on, boneless pork belly, cut into 1.5" pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
  • 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 pieces of thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 1.5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of dissolved rock sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz) of water
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) of Shaoxing wine
  • 2 star anise cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A little bit of cooking oil (vegetable or peanut oil will do)


  1. Prepare by boiling the pork for 5 minutes to get rid of any impurities. This process will also yield the pork more tender. Drain the pork and dry with a paper towel. Set it aside.
  2. In a wok or sauce pan, heat the oil with medium heat. Brown the pork lightly, about 1 minute per side. Remove pork and set it aside.
  3. Over medium heat, in the same wok or pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and add the scallions, garlic and ginger to fragrant them for about 45 seconds, without burning the scallions.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of water and dissolve the sugar until bubbling.
  5. Turn down the heat to medium to return the pork pieces to the wok or saucepan, carefully stirring to coat the pork without breaking the skin from the fat.
  6. Add the soy sauce and wine. Cook until the sauce is slightly reduced. Add the water, star anise and cinnamon stick, and return to sauce to boil.
  7. Now, the patience part. Return the heat to low and partially cover. Simmer slowly and stir occasionally until the pork is super tender. The longer the simmer, the softer the meat will be. But be careful to not let the sauce dry out. Add water if needed. I recommend 1 1/2 hours minimum to build all the flavors! Be patient and watch over it with love.

You will end up with a dish that will be treasured by everyone.

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