Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dong Po Pork 东坡肉

Mike loves pork belly.. any pork belly. So does my mother in law. I only like it if the fat layer melts in the mouth with no fatty smell.

There are many recipes online, some requiring pre deep frying and usually this is restaurant’s method to speed up the cooking. The supposedly actual way is to slowly cook it in wine and soy sauce… no extra oil involved. I searched and searched, and found this recipe . Does this look good? Sure it does. But I think she skimped on the spring onions. The recipe called for trimming the sides to make it really squarish or at least, have straight sides, but to me, that seemed wasteful. So, I didn’t do that, just let it stay the in original shape. Initially one should use a clay pot to do this, but I don’t have one. So, I just used a heavy based pot that won’t burn as easily as a single layer stainless steel pot. 5 ply pots will be even better.

The belly turned out so good. The flavour was good, very good. I didn’t add any salt or additional seasoning to it and it taste absolutely good. Even when it was slowly cooking, my mother in law exclaimed about the fragrance. Oh please try this, but please have patience for almost 3 hours of work :)

1kg (+/-200gm) pork belly, skin on (original recipe called for 1kg, but I only have 800gm, it worked well, and I think the seasoning will even be enough for 1.2kg)
100gm spring onions
50 gm ginger (weighed skin on)
500gm Shao Xing Wine (the one I used was fermented for 5 years, and is more expensive than the regular 2 year old wines)
100gm light soy sauce
20gm dark soy sauce
80gm brown candy sugar(1pc) or rock sugar

1. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook pork belly for 5 minutes. Drain.
2. Cut spring onions into long lengths to fit base of pot. Slice ginger and sprinkle over.
3. Put boiled pork belly onto spring onions, skin side down.
4. Put in both soy sauces and sugar. Lastly wine. Add some water if the liquid level is too low. Make sure the pork is at least almost covered with liquid.
5. Bring pot to a boil on high heat, reduce to low and simmer for 2 hours (flipping the pork halfway), or until it is tender enough to be easily poked thru with a chopstick.
6. Remove pork belly (no gravy) from pot and put into a steaming dish, skin side up.
7. Steam on high heat for 30 minutes.(This is a crucial step, do not skip this)
8. Pour gravy (in pot) over pork when it has finished steaming.

It tasted as good as it looked.
The skin was soft and melted in my mouth
No fatty smell at all.


  1. Awh.. The belly simply look too good! My hubby and son love pork belly too. Cooked this dish once. It's ok. I'll try yours one of these days! Beautiful! Big big thumbs up!! :)

  2. Ohh! Thank you for this recipe. My grandma makes this whenever she invites people over to eat. This is one of my favorite dishes out of the ones she makes. At first, I thought it was a cake when I looked at the little thumbnail picture, then I found out it wasn't. I love using the sauce you end up with and adding it to the rice I eat. :) I just don't like eating the skin.

  3. I love the layer of the 东坡肉 very beautiful. My husband love this so much will definitely ask to me to cook when he see this ;)

  4. Wendy, this looks extremely salivating although I m not a fan of dong pork cos I seldom consume fats n skin cos scare of the fatty n piggy smell and of course also due to weight conscious. I ate this dish during my last trip to taipei, tasted yummy, the fats is like melt in your mouth kind, dun ve those kind of too fatty and oily taste. I am goin to try this recipe if my family is interested. thanks for sharing :).

  5. Hi Wendy,
    I showed my hubby your pics and he went gaga over it. Though I am not fond of belly pork because of the fat, I must say that you have done a good job with it. Now I have to try out your recipe to satisfy my 'lau goong'!

  6. Sorry, Can I use a crockpot to slow cook it? Will the result be the same?

  7. HoneyBoy,
    Thanks. This is definately a must for pork belly lovers

  8. Esther,
    I don't know how your grandma did this. But if this dish is done correctly, the skin should melt in the mouth, like jello.

  9. Judy,
    Haha, why you ask for trouble by showing this to ur hubby. hahahaha!!!

    You can use any pot actually. Regular pots might burn easily, that's it. If you have clay pot, even better. That's the proper vessel for this dish, cos foods cooked in claypots don't dry up easily. You can definately use the crock pot, but extend it for another hour and put it in high, as crock pots take a long time to heat up and come to a boil. Just cook until you can poke through the pork, and it'll be fine.

  10. Anncoo,
    I can't make the layers... hahaha. You have to compliment the pig farmer.

  11. Jess,
    With the high amount of wine used, the piggy and fatty smell is no longer detectable.
    I'm scared of those smells too, so scared that I actually kept off pork for 2 years in my late teens, just because of this.
    But rest assured, I find this to be "smelless", and only fragrant with the wine and aromatics.

  12. Unfortunately, this is something I will not eat. Even if I were to take it I will only take the bottom lean layer....

  13. Shirley,
    Are you in Germany now?

    Anyway, you're not alone. Lot's of people do not take the fat layers and the skin.

  14. I love pork belly too! Braised one is the best!

  15. Hi there,
    Would using a pressure cooker work?I think if there's any leftover (that is if, it would make a delicious fried beehoon.Thanks for the recipe.

  16. Shereen,
    Oh definately. Just do it for 20-30mins, skin side down and you'll have the softest pork ever. I think you don't need to put in extra water to cover the pork, just use the wine and you'll be fine. And the final steaming part, 5 mins in the pressure cooker, skin side up and it'll be perfect.

    I think pulling the leftover pork apart and sandwich with some white bread or plan mantou will be super!!!

  17. walao er... this one air liur pun keeluar liao.

    look excellent! mmmm can see but cannot eat .... banyak terseksa!

  18. I am salivating just looking at the tender juicy pork. I remember this dish will be on our table each time we dine at Esquire Kitchen to eat it with flower buns. mmmm I have to attempt this when I get some nice pork belly from the Asian Supermarket.

  19. My goodness! You did it again, Wendy! This is so sinfully delicious! I had it when I was in China and really loved this dish. Thanks for posting this up!


  20. Wendy, FINALLY!!! Lemme jot down the recipe. Once I've tried the pork out, I'll letcha know! Thanks, dear! Haha!

  21. Voon,
    I tot you jaga kolesterol?
    Dun eat la, even if I put infront of you.
    Later yur kolesterol jump up high, I dun take responsibility

  22. ICook4Fun,
    Oh yes, Esquire Kitchen, most Malaysians had their first taste of Dong Po Pork there, and I'm one of them.
    Esquire's quality now is gone zoom zoom zoom.... down.
    We don't dine there anymore.

  23. Galronni,
    Haha,really sinful. Had to run up the stairs few more times to burn off all the extra calories.

  24. Pei-Lin,
    I'm sure ur dad will like this, that's if if he likes pork belly.

  25. I have to agree with all of them. This dong po meat looks truly mouthwatering! Too bad my family not keen in pork... should I say they don't even take pork & any other red meat except chicken & fish. SEE, how difficult am I? Everyday I have to squeeze my brain out to make something new from the chicken meat & fish! =o(
    Hope you're having a great weekend.
    Cheers, Kristy

  26. Kristy,
    No wonder you made chicken dumplings, instead of pork.
    Even boiling soup no pork???

  27. Thanks for sharing, I have bookmarked this recipe. This just look heavenly.

  28. Wow..this looks excellent. May I ask, why a 5 year old Shao Xing wine? Can I substitute with dry sherry instead? It's not easy to find 5 year old wine..unless I keep it that long. HA HA HA!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. Will definitely make it since... we miss it sooo much!

  29. Looks like a piece of art! Edible art that is. :) I love Dong Po Rou...but must control a bit, heehee. Made it a couple times last year, but I will give your recipe a try...thanks for sharing. :)

  30. Wah! This looks super delicious! I'm very bad in cooking Chinese cuisine. I must learn this from you, already put into my to-do-list! Thanks for sharing. This one goes very well with rice and the man tou! :) yummy!

  31. Mott,
    I've never used dry sherry, but I always see that being used as a substitute in western countries.

    There are many types of shaoxing wine, and I bought those fermented for 5 years and they cost double of those of 2 years. I was told that 5 years wine taste and smell better. You may definately use the 2 year old wine, but I'm not sure whether it can give you the same result that I had. The age of it in the bottle don't count, but the time that it was fermented in the factory.

  32. Bee,
    The site that I took the recipe from, really looked like a piece of art, cos she trimmed the meat to be really squarish.

  33. Kitchen Corner,
    This is actually very easy peasy. It's just time... no technique is required here.

  34. MK Mummy,
    Oh great, do let me know if you've done this.

  35. Wow, it looks so much from restaurants!! Coincidentally i've just had some梅菜扣肉 at a Hakka Rest.(客家苑) last night...and for the first time in my life I've tasted what they call "melt in the mouth" pork fat. Those from Esquire Kitchen couldn't match it。 You don't get that "geli" feel from eating fat...but my MIL says she doesn't like it la...coz she'd like something to munch on...(talk about different taste buds??)

    Yours looks yummy as well, the skin looks so shinny and soft! Ia it becoz of the last step? The steaming step?

  36. Mel,
    Esquire Kitchen's quality is not consistent, not nice 80% of the time.

    I think it's due to the last step of steaming, cos some sites (yes, I went through many sites before I finally did it) I read says the steaming is crucial to getting a nice skin. So I dare not skip that, since one kg of pork belly not cheap oh, better do everything to make sure I get the best result.

  37. Another Wendyywy Restaurant signature dish :)

  38. Wow Please dont ever close this blog :D You have tons of great recipes in here THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing!! :D

  39. DG,
    Haha, thanks for patronising my resto :)

  40. Daphne,
    Don't worry, I won't.
    I think I still have loads of recipes to share.

  41. sinful sinful sinful !! But I'm going to try make it!!

  42. Swee San,
    Hahahha, let me know how it goes ya.
    Gosh, better repent after eating this.

  43. OMG OMG just make me see God 3 times today...a very good monday morning hahahha

  44. wow ! my Mom will love this !!!!

    gonna try making it someday...


  45. Manglish,
    Did you get enlightened?
    Good afternoon to you!!!

  46. Yan,
    Oh becareful with the saliva :)
    Clean your monitor after this yea :)

    Do let me know when your mom/you tries this out :)

  47. oooh...this is sinfully sooooo good!! bet they were all wiped clean within seconds! :-D

  48. Allan,
    We are civilised people, we took minutes to devour it. kekekekeke.

  49. that looks AMAZING! (: my boyfried is so gonna try this! He loves pork belly too! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  50. Wow, look at those gorgeous layers of fats...yum...

  51. Pigspigscorner,
    Need to buy a pretty piece of belly so that can get this layers. Sometimes the meat is not that nicely layered.

  52. Foodmadewithlove,
    You're welcomed.

  53. Wendyy...your dongpo rou looks yummy. I must use your recipe n eat with lettuce/leaf buns.
    Apa ini brown sugar candy n how do I know the age of the shiao xing wine. Normally I will buy the more expensive one cos....well the cheap one is really cheap n I became wary of it.

  54. Vien,
    Wow long time never see you commenting, must have really busy at the hospital huh?

    Brown sugar candy is what we call "Peen tong", it's brown, rectangular in shape, can be found at Chinese medical halls. It's in the 3rd pic of the pot, the brownish thing near the pork.
    Or you can just use rock sugar. I used candy sugar cos I ran out of rock sugar.

    The younger wines are about 60% cheaper than the one I bought. I was curious about the price difference, so I asked the boss, and she told me the difference.
    The cheap one was fermented for 2 years and the expensive one was fermented for 5 years and the taste is more mellow and fragrant.

  55. Your Dong Po Pork looks like restaurant dish! Thumb up for presentation. Btw, can I use pressure cooker or thermal cooker to do this dish? thanks!

  56. Anonymous,
    Yes, there's no prob using pressure cooker, refer to my suggestion in one of the comments. Another reader also asked the same question.

  57. Hi Wendy
    I'm new to your blog and very glad to chance upon it. Most visually stunning Dong Po Pork even saw. Will definitely give it a try. Is it necessary to parboil the pork for 5 mins and what's the purpose? Would be great if you could convert liquid measurements into spoons. Do you have any tips on removing the hair on the pork rind or maybe I should change my butcher instead. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  58. angelyn,
    First of all, thanks for dropping by my blog. Glad you found the pics of Dong Po Pork enticing.

    There are many online converters online. I'm sure you can convert anything on this blog using those. I don't think you'd want to measure the wine in spoons, 33Tbsp in total if you want, it's 15ml/Tbsp, simple maths.

    Yes, it is neccessary to par boil the boil.
    1. To remove smell and scum.
    2. To fix its shape so that it remains to be squarish after you've trimmed it(after boiling). I didn't trim mine but I parboiled it anyway to remove scum and smell.

    YOu can remove the hair on pork rind by either using a tweezer or shave it off with a disposable shaver or a sharp knife. Or just change your butcher

  59. just looking at some of your older posts now and this really caught my eye..must also try this one day..good is not commented the flavour is very this must be darn good!!

  60. Dearest Wendy, I just made this recipe for my family last week and let me tell you that all of us went to heaven and back! :) hahaha

    1kg was not enough and everyone fought so hard for the last piece! This is truly a masterpiece and a keeper for a long time to come for my family. Just thought I let you know how AWESOME this recipe and instruction was as the outcome was beyond words.. :) BIG thanks to you!

  61. Food Dreams,
    LOL. It's great when everybody eats with pleasure. Thankyou for the feedback

  62. Hi Wendy,

    I tried out your recipe using a claypot, but the middle part of the skin got charred and stuck to the claypot, hence the skin fell off when i tried to remove it from the claypot for steaming =(( I have to move the meat around every now and then while it's cooking?


  63. Jenna,
    No, I didn't move it around when it was cooking.
    Did you use high heat? Usually claypots have good moisture retaining properties, so I'm curious why urs dried up.

  64. Hi Wendy,

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly =).

    The sauce in the claypot wasn't dried up at's only middle part of the skin (i think it's due to the fire, I transferred it to smallest circumference stove and turn it to lowest heat) that got stuck to the bottom of the pot.
    I'll try again using more spring onions to create more than 1 layer as base to shield it from touching the base of the claypot during the cooking process, and see how it goes.

    Thanks again for replying me =))


  65. Hi Wendy,

    I cooked the Dong Pou Rou about 2 weeks. It was yummy yummy and until now i still thinking about it.

    Do you have any idea what to do with the left over sauce?

    Thank you so much for this lovely recipe.


  66. Caroline,
    Glad that it left such a huge impression on you :)
    U can either braise some tofu or tofupok in it. Add some eggs and pour the sauce over noodles.
    Blanch some vege and it'll be a complete meal.
    Or eat the sauce with some mantous.

  67. Dear Wendy I cant wait to try this and want to follow exactly what you have written.May I know the brand of the wine and where to buy this in Kl or Pj? I went to the chinese medical hall and they say they don't have a 5 year old wine. A picture of the bottle would be great if you have the time. Thank you

  68. Anonymous,
    If the chinese medical hall u went to don't have it, go to Hai-O. I saw on my bottle, they are the importers. It cost almost RM19 for one bottle of it.
    U can google for Hai-o and the picture of the wine is in there.

  69. Thank you Wendy for the quick response. I will check it out at Hai o.This pork should go so well with the mantou that is shaped like a folded coin purse, the pork goes in the middle and is eaten like a sandwich. I saw a recipe for that type of mantou in a blog but cannot remember where. if I find it will send to you.

  70. Anonymous,
    Just use any mantou recipe and roll it flat, then brush some oil and fold it.
    I find most recipes on the internet for that mantou uses a lot of baking powder and I prefer those with long rising hours and with more yeast than baking powder.

  71. Many thanks Wendy. You are quite amazing with your skills. Will try the mantou as you have suggested.

  72. will this work as well with pork ribs?

  73. Lilian,
    Err.... then I suggest you try another recipe with ribs. I don't think the instructions are relevant for ribs. But then again, you can try, no harm, but steaming won't be necessary as it doesn't have that layer of fat, and reduce everything except the meat .. maybe by 30%

  74. Hi Wendy, I tried this last Sunday, my family likes it very much.! Its Good but I have made a mistake by adding too much water! The next round will be better!


  75. DavidKoh,
    thanks for the feedback.
    I hope next time around it'll be super and not just good, LOL.

  76. Hi,
    May I know how do you measure your wine and sauce?

  77. Love2cook,
    the measurements are shown in weight.
    I weighed them with a scale. Liquor volume is different than water, although both a liquid. It is lighter.

  78. This is what I normally do, weigh with a scale if measurements are given in (gm). On the other hand, I also think if it will be ok to measure with a measuring cup.

  79. Love2cook,
    It's more than 500ml.
    You can try doing it with a cup, cooking is not as rigid as baking, but just don't wander tooooo far off if you want to achieve a similiar taste .

  80. hi...finally i tried this recipe and it is so the tender of the pork so much! Thank you!!

  81. Patricia,
    Glad you liked this :)

  82. This looks so good I'm tempted to try this the next time I buy pork belly!

  83. Wendy,

    It is a wonderful recipe. I cooked it for my mum for mother's day and she love it so much.

  84. Wendy,

    I got to tell you this..again i cook for my colleagues in my new workplace here...they love it so much the pork...really taste good..even me added rice some more for the fat part of to your recipe my friend!

  85. PenangHousehusbandAugust 21, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Hi Wendy, I like to know what brand and where to get this in Ipoh or Penang. How to know the chinese wine is 5yrs old or more. Most of the Chinese cooking wine here is the popular Haio Pagoda brand but no aging is stated on label.

  86. Penang House Husband,
    I was told by the shop. The one I bought was Hai-O Pagoda price around RM18-19. The cheaper ones are younger wines.

  87. PenanghousehusbandAugust 26, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Wendy , ok thanks . Will make this later as family all complain too much meat in diet. Anyhow i also have to depend on my butcher as it is not easy to find a nice piece of belly nowadays. I go so familiar with him he has my number and when he is in good mood he does call me to let me know when he finds a nice belly. That is how much meat i cook for them haha. My favourite is westernstyle roasting a 1 kg shoulder sitting on sweated celery onion with my own grown rosemary and dried bayleaf. I improvised on Jamie oliver roast loin on fennel. I also wil be trying out your pandan extract as manage to buy a nice Thai taro from Tesco last night.

  88. Looks yummy! Can you cook this dish a day or 2 earlier and steam it hot before serving? Does the flavour change?

  89. Hi... I wanted to make this dish for my dad. Just wonder, can I cook it in a thermos pot? like boiled it for 15 min then transfer the inner pot to thermos and let it cook for another 2 hours?

    Please advice.

    Thanks in advance.


  90. Grace,
    I have never tried that, let me know if it works.

  91. Hi, how if i wish to make half of the portion?i afraid the flavour will not be as good as the ori

  92. Hi, how if i wish to make half of the portion?i afraid the flavour will not be as good as the ori

  93. cookgirl,
    It's your option to cook half if you prefer.

  94. I know some dong po recipes like to incorporate star anise and cinnamon bark. Would this affect the flavour? But yet I am doubtful as dong po traditionally is done without the spices. Please share ure opinion on this.

  95. Lilian ,
    Do not confuse Dong Po Pork with Tau Yew Bak or Cantonese Braised Pork (卤水猪肉).
    Regional versions are tempered with and if you refer to mainland China recipes, you will find it without any spices. The focus is on the wine and soy sauce.
    But the final choice is up to you, to create a regional version that we are usually exposed to, or to a version from the land of origin


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