Date
20 January 2017
Making Cantonese-style roast pork belly at home, rather than buying it at the market, isn't too difficult. Photo: HKEJ
Making Cantonese-style roast pork belly at home, rather than buying it at the market, isn't too difficult. Photo: HKEJ

An improved recipe for Cantonese roast pork belly

Making Cantonese-style pork belly roast at home is not too difficult. It just takes patience and a bit of preparation.

The secret ingredient for getting a crispy and crunchy dish is white vinegar.

Ingredients (6-7 serves)
1.5kg slab of pork belly
5 tablespoons white vinegar

Marinade
1.5 teaspoons rock salt
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon kencur powder
1.5 tablespoons Shaoxing wine

Method
1. Wash the slab of pork belly thoroughly.
2. Add the slab in a large pot of water. Heat the pot till water boils, and cook it further for another 10 minutes.
3. Rinse the pork and immerse it in ice water for 10 minutes. Dry it with a towel.
4. Prick all over the skin thoroughly with the help of a pork skin pricker while removing the oil and water leaking from the tiny holes.
5. Mix the marinade well. Rub it evenly into the meat. Don’t forget the sides and bottom, but not its skin.
6. Prepare a large plate of white vinegar where the pork shall be turned upside down with only its skin soaking in it for 6 hours. Weight can be added on top of the meat to ensure complete immersion of vinegar.
7. Rinse the pork to remove the remaining vinegar. Dry it with a towel.
8. Wrap the pork meat with aluminum foil and leave the skin unwrapped. Refrigerate it for four days.
9. Preheat the oven to 200C for 15 minutes. Put the pork together with its foil wrapper on the top rack and a bowl of hot water at the bottom rack. Bake it for 35 minutes.
10. Turn up the oven heat to 230C for another 15 minutes. Don’t worry about the burnt bits as they can be easily removed.
11. Remove the pork belly from the oven and let the meat rest for 20 minutes. Remove the foil wrapper.
12. Cut out the burnt bits at the top and on the sides with a chopper knife. Cut into pieces and serve.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 1.

Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

 (A demo video by the author based on the old recipe, Cantonese only)

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DY/JP/RC

Columnist of the Hong Kong Economic Journal

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