One of my favorite all time Chinese BBQ item is Roast Pork Belly or Siew Yoke (in Cantonese) or Shao Rou (in Mandarin). This ties with the Peking Duck or any kind of Chinese Roast Duck. Those two are hands down my favorite BBQ item and something I would order all the time!!
I love the crackling on the pork and sadly it’s really hard to get the skin the way I like them. I’ve always enjoyed my Siew Yoke in Malaysia and the skin is always done the right way; crispy and light on the outside. Here in the US, I’ve had a hard time getting Siew Yoke with crispy light crunchy cracklings. When I thought I found THE ONE, my next visit is always a disappointment. The quality and consistency sadly is never there! The crackling on the roast pork is one day light, crispy and crunchy, the next it’s crunchy hard that I’m afraid I would dislocate my jaw when chewing the hard crackling. I gave up in eating the delicious crackling coz it wasn’t done right. The best Siew Yoke both hubby and I had outside of Malaysia was from a shop in London Chinatown. I’ve since forgotten the name but their Siew Yoke was so good, we went back for more the next day and it surely did not disappoint us!!
Anyway, I decided that it was time to attempt some Siew Yoke in my kitchen. My mom told me that it was fairly easy to make them. She did not mention that it might set off my fire alarm! Oh yes, my oven and kitchen were smoky and the fire alarms were blaring! I frantically open the windows to let the smoke out and waited patiently for the alarm to die down. Thank goodness the husband wasn’t home!
I turned to Terri’s blog for a roast pork recipe and I’m glad she’s got one! I took my mom’s advice of pricking the skin of the pork and the result was excellent. Hubby missed dinner that night but he gave two thumbs up after he sampled some when he got home. He was surely excited that I was packing some for his lunch the next day! So long to hunting down Siew Yoke…now I can make my own!
Here’s the recipe, Terri’s original recipe can be found HERE.
ROAST PORK (BELLY) / SIEW YOKE RECIPE
- 1.7 Kg Slab of Pork Belly*, cleaned
- 2-1/2 Tbsp Coarse Salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 Tsp 5-Spice Powder (Depending on preference)
- 3 Tbsp Natural White Vinegar
* Choosing the perfect slab of belly pork is very important. It can't be too fatty or lean, and the skin must be of a desirable thickness.
Prick the pork skin with a fork or metal skewer as many times as possible. Smear 1 Tbsp vinegar all over the skin, leave the slab of pork skin-side up an hour or two (or put in the middle section of your fridge overnight, uncovered, if you can wait) so the skin will dry. Switch oven on to 200 C (about 400F).
Take pork out, turn over and rub half the salt and all the 5-spice powder on meatside/underside evenly. Turn over so skin-side is up. Rub 2 Tbsp vinegar all over the skin, then rub remaining salt over and place the pork on the wire rack of the oven. Put a tray under the rack to catch any drips and fill the tray with water so the drips won't smoke up your oven.
Roast without opening the oven for 1 1/4 hours (add 20 to 30 min longer if the pork is very thick; mine was not). Put the rack (use mitts!) higher up to grill the skin and increase the temp to 220 C (about 450F) for another 15 minutes.
June’s Comments: All I have was 2 strips of pork belly and I used that instead. I roasted the pork for about 1 hour and then switch my oven function to broiler (grill) mode to roast the skin until it bubbles. That gave me the light crunchy and crispy skin.
I cut up my roast pork and was excited to here the “crunch” as I cut into the skin without any problems. I served the roast pork with some white rice, boiled Bok Choy and homemade sauce. I also reserved the drippings from roasting the pork, strained it and added some soy sauce to it to drizzle over my rice and pork platter. It was total satisfaction!!!!