Siu Yuk, a popular Cantonese dish that has disseminated throughout Southeast Asia and revered for its crispy, crackling skin and layers of rendered pork fat. This beautiful cut of fatty pork is a cut of pork belly rubbed with 5 spice, salt, and sugar then roasted at a high temperature until the skin bubbles and crackles very much like pork rind. In my family, the dish is called Heo Quay which in Vietnamese literally translates to Spun Pork because traditionally, the entire pig is roasted over a pit of coal and hand spun.
It tastes great with steamed buns or rice. The crispy skin and succulent meat makes it very addicting.
This recipe is best when prepared overnight so that the pork has time to absorb the 5 spice flavors. Okay, the best place to find pork belly is at an Asian market. They’re usually pretty inexpensive. Once you get your hands on some pork belly, what you want to do first is to run the pork belly under water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Then place it on a foil sheet skin side down.
raw pork belly
Now, mix the salt, 5 spice, and sugar together.
And rub it evenly on the meat side of the pork, avoiding the skin part. This is starting to look good. Smells good too.
Flip the pork over and using a very sharp knife, make incisions on the skin without cutting deep into the meat part. You an also score the skin diagonally. It doesn’t really matter. The point is when the fat starts to cook, the incisions will allow the steam to escape and this makes the skin crispy! Sprinkle the skin with salt. Slowly fold the foil to cover the meat but leave the skin exposed. Leave it in the fridge to cure and dry overnight. Or if you’re in a hurry, wait for 4 hours. The longer you allow the pork belly to dry, the crisper it will be so it’s worth the wait!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Line a non-stick pan with foil. Invert a pie pan on the baking pan. Remove pork belly from the foil and place on top of pie pan with skin side down. If you have a roasting rack, use it instead of doing it this way. The important thing is to let the fat drain. Now place the pan on the middle rack and roast for 40 minutes. Then remove the pan from the oven and flip the pork belly over with skin side on top and dab any liquid on the skin with a paper towel, ensuring that the skin is dry. Baste with vinegar and roast for another 40 minutes with skin side up. Then broil for 10 minutes 425 degrees.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Also congratulations! You’re now a pork belly rock star! Look at that bubbly skin! YUM!
Recipe yields 4 servings
• 2 pounds of unsliced pork belly with skin on
• 1 tablespoon of 5 spice powder
• 1 teaspoon of salt plus extra on the side
• 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
• aluminum foil sheet
• 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar
• Pie Pan
• Non-stick baking pan
• metal tongs
• basting brush
1. Mix 5 spice powder, salt, and sugar and set aside.
2. Run pork belly under water and pat dry with paper towel.
3. Lay pork belly skin side down and rub seasoning on the meat and sides but do not allow the seasoning to coat the skin or it will turn dark when cooking.
4. Flip the pork belly over with skin side up and using a sharp knife, make small horizontal incisions throughout the skin without cutting deep into the meat. Lightly sprinkle the skin with salt.
5. Cover the pork belly meat with aluminum foil, leaving the skin (top) exposed. Transfer onto a tray and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours. Remember to leave the top uncovered. Dry skin will ensure crispy pork.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Invert a pie pan on the non-stick baking sheet and place pork skin side down on top of the pie pan and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and flip pork over with skin side up, dab any moisture/seasoning on skin off. Lightly base the skin with the vinegar and add back in the oven for 40 minutes. Broil for 10 minutes at 425 degrees minutes until skin is crispy and bubbly. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into bite sized pieces. Now give yourself a pat on the back. You’re now a pork belly champion! Yay.