Dong Po Rou – Chinese Braised Pork Belly

Dong Po Rou is a must-try classic Chinese dish. Follow the recipe and make the melt-in-your-mouth Chinese braised pork belly in your kitchen.

During my trip to Hangzhou, Dong Po Rou is literally on every menu of local restaurants. It is usually served in small cubes. The fat and lean layers combine together in hours of stewing. One bite, and it melts in your mouth. The richness and sweetness will linger on your tastebuds for the entire day. I am not a fan of pork belly because the fat somehow troubles my digestive system. But Dong Po Rou is an exception. 

Chinese braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou) recipe

But what is Dong Po Rou exactly?

In Mandarin, “rou” means meat. On the other hand, Dong Po is a famous Chinese poet, essayist, and politician – Su Dong Po. His work still has an impact on modern China. His poems were in my textbooks in primary school, middle school, and high school.

But besides his achievements in literature, he was a life-liver. And cuisines were one of his many passions. One well-known Chinese author, Lin Yutang, once said that if a person is not happy, he might have never read the work of Su Dong Po.

According to history, during his banishment to Huang Zhou, Su was too poor to afford expensive ingredients. The pork was widely available and inexpensive, especially the pork belly. But not many knew how to cook it well. After a few trial-and-error, Su came up with a recipe that surprised everyone. And it became the famous Dong Po Rou as we know it today.

Melt-in-your-mouth Chinese braise pork belly Dong Po Rou recipe

How to make Dong Po Rou?

There are various versions of Dong Po Rou recipes. But they all come down to two steps: sear and braise. Searing pork belly releases extra fat and helps to lock the juice in. Braising breaks down the fat and creates a melt-in-your-mouth final dish. Nail these two steps, and you will have the perfect Chinese braised pork belly.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of Pork belly (with balance layers of fat and meat)
  • 20 grams of Rock sugar
  • 3 Scallions
  • 50 grams of Fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Cooking wine (preferably Shaoxing wine)

The recipe starts with pick the right cut of pork. Go for the cut of pork belly with balance layers of fats and meats.

How to make Chinese braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou) at home

Cut the pork into 3″x3″ cubes. Tie each cube up with cooking twine. This will help the cubes to maintain their shape during the cooking process.

How to make Chinese braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou) at home

Cut scallions in the length of about 4″. Slice ginger thinly.

On a pan, heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, sear the pork with the skin side down for 30 seconds. Then repeat the same process on each side. Set the pork aside to cool down.

How to make Chinese braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou) at home

In a pot, arrange scallions and ginger at the bottom.

How to make Chinese braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou) at home

Place the pork on top with the skin facing downward. Then pour just enough water to cover the pork. Bring to a boil. Cover the lid to stew for 10 minutes.

How to make Chinese braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou) at home

Meanwhile, melt 20 grams of rock sugar in half a cup of water on a pan. Stir gently over medium heat to avoid sticking. Turn off the heat when the sugar turns brown.

How to make Chinese braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou) at home

Open the lid and pour the caramelized sugar into the pot. Then add Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce to the pot. Most of the pork should submerge in liquid. If not, add water accordingly. 

How to make Chinese braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou) at home

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low to stew for 50 minutes.

After 30 minutes, open the lid and use chopsticks to flip the cubes upside down. The skin should now be in a brown-red shade. Stew for another 50 minutes.

Carefully transfer the cubes to a plate and remove the cooking twine. The pork is tender at this point, and you have to be extra gentle to not break it. Serve with rice and enjoy.

Melt-in-your-mouth Chinese braise pork belly Dong Po Rou recipe

Have you tried this homemade Chinese braised pork belly recipe?

Authentic-Chinese-braised-pork-belly-Dong-Po-Rou

Dong Po Rou - Chinese Braised Pork Belly

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Dong Po Rou is a must-try classic Chinese dish. Follow the recipe and make the melt-in-your-mouth Chinese braised pork belly in your kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of Pork belly (with balance layers of fat and meat)
  • 20 grams of Rock sugar
  • 3 Scallions
  • 50 grams of Fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Cooking wine (preferably Shaoxing wine)

Instructions

  1. Cut pork belly into 3"x3" cubes. Tie each cube up with cooking twine. This will help the cubes to maintain their shape during the cooking process.
  2. Cut scallions in the length of about 4". Slice ginger thinly.
  3. On a pan, heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork with the skin side down for 30 seconds. Then repeat the same process on each side. Set the pork aside to cool down.
  4. Arrange scallions and ginger at the bottom of a pot. Place the pork on top with the skin facing downward. Then pour just enough water to cover the pork. Bring to a boil.
  5. Cover the lid to stew for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 20 grams of rock sugar in half a cup of water on a pan. Stir gently over medium heat to avoid sticking. Turn off the heat when the sugar turns brown.
  6. Open the lid and pour the caramelized sugar into the pot. Then add Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce to the pot. 
  7. Add water accordingly to cover most of the pork. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and keep on stewing for 50 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes, flip the cubes upside down gently with chopsticks. The skin should now be in a brown-red shade. Stew for another 50 minutes.
  9. Carefully transfer the cubes to a plate and remove the cooking twine. The pork is braised to tender at this point, and you have to be extra gentle to not break the shape. Serve with rice and enjoy.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 1103mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 31g

Tell me how it goes, and feel free to leave your questions in the comment.

If you love pork, check out these Asian pork recipes as well:
How To Make Char Siu – Chinese BBQ Pork Two-way
Easy Chinese-style Braised Pork Ribs Recipe
Chinese-styled Oven-baked Pork Jerky

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