This Chinese roast pork recipe turns out a crisp, crackling BBQ pork belly just like what you find in Chinatown. Like most Chinese barbecue, it’s impossibly tender, slightly sweet, and surprisingly easy to make at home.
Chinese roast pork is a well-known and well-loved Cantonese roast meat, says author Bee Yin Low, whose recipe below is ridiculously easy to make and yields superlatively tender pork with crisp crackling skin, just the right amount of sweet, and the haunting warmth of five spice powder. You’ll find it and other siu laap (this is what the Cantonese call barbecue) wherever there is a Chinatown. Although thanks to this recipe, you no longer need to make the trek—except perhaps for inexpensive pork belly, which in our experience Chinatown butchers have in abundance at the cheapest price around.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Chinese Roast Pork
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 5 H, 20 M
- Serves 4
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Recipe Testers Reviews
When you make this Chinese roast pork recipe, time it so that the pork belly goes under the broiler after your guests arrive so you can treat them to the sound of pork skin popping and crackling. I mean, who’d want to miss that portion of the party?! While my guests and I chatted and enjoyed gin and tonics, the oven and the broiler worked their magic, and voilà, out came a thoroughly flavored and tender hunk of meat with a gorgeous crisp skin—a huge bang for very little effort!
I was excited to find beautiful pork belly at the Chinese market in town and was even more thrilled that it was only $3.25 per pound. The five spice powder was the other star, as the aroma elevated the easy-to-make marinade to another level.
As part of a multi-course meal, this very rich pork belly can serve 6 and possibly more as just a couple of 1-inch slices would be plenty for each guest. I served it with simple fried rice with eggs, chopped green onions, and minced ginger, which I made while the pork rested (the rice was cooked the day before). A friend tossed cucumber slices with vinegar and sugar for a light and refreshing side. Dinner was ready!
A couple notes on the making of the Chinese roast pork. After brushing the marinade on the meat, I poured the remaining sauce onto a large plate and set the pork belly on it, meat side down, to marinate uncovered. I patted the skin dry again before brushing it with oil, as the salt had drawn some moisture out to the surface. My pork belly still had a few rib bones attached. I didn't bother removing them. I cut between the bones and brushed the marinade into the slits. After the pork cooked the bones very easily slipped out of the meat.
Oh so insanely good! Love! I found the finished product to be incredibly rich. The spice marinade was developed with a deft hand. Five spice powder can be overwhelming, and in this preparation, the author creates an aromatic balance that complements the pork rather than covers it.
I reversed a couple steps because it made more sense to me to brush and moisten the meat with the marinade before I dealt with the part of the belly that required drying and preserving. In this way, I was able to keep the wet marinade off of the skin as the recipe required. I would suggest trying your hand at making steamed buns to serve the belly in as a first course. That would be really, really delicious!