In case you’ve been living under a rock, we’re here to tell you that pork belly is a wonderful cut of meat, and we have 18 must-try Chinese pork belly recipes to prove it! Pork belly is amazingly versatile, uber-flavorful, braises like nobody’s business, and is a key ingredient in many of our family’s perennial Chinese recipes.
It’s an ingredient that just tastes like home cooking, and the rich pork fat goodness has made it a staple for many Chinese holidays, like Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival (zhong qiu jie). Just a handful of years ago, pork belly wasn’t so highly regarded, but it’s become far more popular recently. Unfortunately, that means that grocery store prices have been hiked up a bit.
But that’s the price you pay for enlightenment, I suppose…
Pork belly may seem a bit intimidating or off-putting if you’ve never cooked it at home, but dig for a piece that has a high meat-to-fat ratio, and we’ll break down the rest for you with our favorite Chinese pork belly recipes.
18 Must-Try Chinese Pork Belly Recipes
Braised Pork Belly Dong Po Rou
This braised pork belly recipe, or dong po rou in Chinese, is a beautiful, traditional, and incredibly easy dish to make. All you need is 7 ingredients! The results are stunningly tender, silky hunks of pork that people will fight you for.
Cantonese Roast Pork Belly – A Chinatown Classic
Cantonese Roast Pork Belly, or siu yuk, can be found hanging in many Chinatown restaurant windows, but if you don’t live near a Chinatown, you can make this crispy pork belly recipe at home with our easy-to-follow recipe. There are just a few key secrets you need to know…
Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou)
Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly (hong shao rou, 红烧肉) is one of the most famous Chinese pork belly recipes out there. Any person who ever cracked open a beginner Mandarin textbook knows this.
Chairman Mao’s Red Braised Pork Belly
Chairman Mao’s Red Braised Pork Belly is similar to Shanghai Style Braised Pork Belly, but it has more spice from aromatics and dried chilies!
Cantonese-Style Braised Pork Belly with Arrowroot
Cantonese Style Braised Pork Belly with Arrowroot (慈菇焖腩肉) is a traditional dish often served at Chinese New Year. While the recipe is impressive looking, it only takes 8 ingredients!
Mei Cai Kou Rou (Steamed Pork Belly w/ Preserved Mustard Greens)
Mei Cai Kou Rou is a recipe for braised, steamed pork belly with preserved mustard greens. This one is high on the list of Chinese comfort foods, to the point that you can find this at one of our favorite “fast food” restaurants in China.
Chinese Cured Pork Belly (Cantonese Lap yuk)
This Chinese cured pork belly recipe is truly a family treasure. It is really one of the greats in our repertoire of Chinese pork belly recipes.
Bill’s mother and grandmother have been making it for decades, and there’s always some in the freezer at both our apartment and my parents’ house, where it’s ready to be added to the rice cooker for a quick and delicious dinner. It’s surprisingly simple to make this cured pork belly la rou (Mandarin) or lap yuk (Cantonese) at home!
Sichuan Three Pepper Pork Belly Stir-fry
Sichuan Three Pepper Pork Belly Stir-fry uses crispy chunks of pork belly with three peppers – dried red peppers, Sichuan peppercorn, and long green peppers. You may be familiar with the version that uses chicken, often served in Sichuan restaurants, but we decided to go hog wild and use pork belly. See what we did there?
Steamed Pork with Rice Powder (Fen Zheng Rou)
This Steamed Pork with Rice Powder, or fen zheng rou is a special occasion kind of dish in China, as without modern kitchen conveniences, it’s quite time and labor intensive! Our version involves pork belly, of course, and lots of spices!
Twice Cooked Pork Belly – Restaurant Style
Twice Cooked Pork, or hui guo rou (回鍋肉), is a Sichuan dish of spicy seared pork belly. This Chinese classic recipe is way too famous to ignore and too delicious not to share.
Shanghai Style Pork Zongzi (Sticky Rice Dumplings)
The heart of any great savory zongzi is a fall-apart tender nugget of pork belly. This Shanghai Style Pork Zongzi has plenty of soy sauce flavored pork belly at the center.
Zongzi Cantonese Style Rice Dumplings
Ditto above, except these Cantonese Style Zongzi are more mild flavored, with the addition of salted egg yolks and Chinese sausage or lap cheung
Homemade Chinese Salted Pork (腌咸肉)
For the real devotees, this Homemade Chinese Salted Pork opens up a world of other Chinese pork belly recipes. With some careful preparation, you can enjoy large batches of your own salted pork, free of chemical preservatives!
Braised Daikon with Salted Pork & Glass Noodles
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to use the salted pork you just made with the previous recipe, this braised daikon is a tasty and satisfying one pot meal.
Lu Rou Fan (Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice Bowl)
We couldn’t leave you without just one more recipe of soy sauce braised pork belly goodness. This Taiwanese version is super rich, complemented by Shiitake mushrooms and hard boiled eggs, because enough isn’t ever quite enough, right?
Bian Dou Men Mian (Steamed Noodles and Green Beans)
This humble and perhaps odd-sounding noodle dish is made truly special with the addition of pork belly, which flavors the sauce. We bet you you can’t have just one bite…
Chinese Cabbage Stir Fry
While this dish is simple, it’s the essence of Chinese home cooking. When we lived in Beijing, we noticed that almost every table at any given restaurant ordered this dish and for good reason! It’s simple, tasty, and satisfying. Just add rice and you have simple weeknight dinner!
Braised Glass Noodles with Pork and Napa Cabbage
This combination of glass noodles, pork, mushrooms, and napa cabbage makes for a great one pot meal. If there’s anything you can conclude from this list of pork belly recipes, it’s that in many cases with Chinese recipes, why not add pork belly?
Enjoy these Chinese pork belly recipes folks!