• 3-⅓ lbs pork belly, skin on (1.5kg)
  • 2 cups vinegar, or more
  • Marinade
    • 1 tbsp salt
    • 2 tsps sugar
    • 1 tsp ground ginger, (originally "sand ginger powder", shajiang
    • 1 tsp five-spice powder
    • ¼ tsp chicken bullion powder
    • 1 heaping tsp sesame paste, or tahini or peanut butter
    • ½ tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp water, to loosen up marinade
  • ½ cup salt, enough to completely coat the skin, with nothing showing through


1. Pork prep: Trim any meat that’s not completely covered by skin. If you have a part of the pork belly that’s mostly fat, you might want to trim that, too. Then poke the skin very thoroughly with skewers, toothpicks, tines, or a dedicated pork pricker.

Blanch the pork belly in water rolling at a heavy simmer for ten minutes, then let cool in cold water for another ten minutes. Once cooled, dry thoroughly with paper towels, then prick the skin side thoroughly again. Make super-shallow cuts in the non-skin side in a checkerboard pattern, to help the marinade penetrate further.
2. Marinate: Mix together the salt, sugar, ginger/shajiang, five spice powder, bouillon powder, sesame paste, sesame oil, and water thoroughly; sesame paste can be hard to fully mix in. Lay the belly, skin side down in a tray and fill with vinegar to cover the skin. Rub the marinade into the non-skin side, and let sit overnight.

Take the belly out of the vinegar marinade, rinse off with paper towels, pat dry, and let it dry completely in the fridge for at least three hours.
3. Roast the pork: Preheat the oven to 437˚F/225˚C. Wrap the pork belly tightly, meat-side down, in a “tray” of two sheets of aluminum foil, leaving the skin exposed. Cover the skin liberally with salt, so that no skin is exposed at all. Make sure the foil is very tight so it won’t leak fat, and try not to get much salt down the sides of the belly. Roast for 1 hour.

Remove the salt, then poke holes in the skin one more time. Wipe up any grease that bubbles up with a paper towel, to get the skin as dry as possible. Pop back in the oven, on the top rack, until skin crisps up, about 30 minutes. At least 95% of the skin should be bubbly and crispy.
4. Let the pork belly rest over a rack where it can drip fat until cool. Skin side down, cut the pork into pieces by making ~1/2 inch slices and then cutting a few times in the other directions. Serve with dips.


Serve with dips: one of sugar, one of hoisin, and one of 2 tbsps mustard mixed with a tsp of water.


Chinese Cooking Demystified


8 servings


Asian : East Asian : Cantonese