Vietnamese/Chinese Crispy Roasted Pork Belly (Thit Heo Quay)
Some people like to take long romantic walks along the beach. I like to take long romantic walks through Chinatown. Nothing gets me going more than beautifully roasted meat carcasses hanging in windows at Chinese BBQ shops.
It's truly a magical place for meat lovers. You have roasted pork, roasted duck, roasted chicken, BBQ'd pork, BBQ'd duck, BBQ'd chicken and sometimes even innards of sorts, all covered in a sweet and sticky glaze. Out of all the meaty goodness, the most tantalizing is the roasted pork belly, also known as Thit Heo Quay in Vietnamese or Siu Yuk in Cantonese.
What makes the roasted pork so tantalizing? It's all about textures. You get the first layer of crispy skin, then the second layer of juicy fat, and lastly, the layer of tender meat. Each bite is literally an explosion of textures.
Because ordering at Chinese BBQ shops has proven to be very difficult for me (elderly Chinese women are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to queuing), I have been successfully making these porky deliciousness at home .... of course, after many, many failed attempts. Below are tips to get perfectly crispy and delicious roasted pork belly.
Tips to NOT FAIL
Get a slab of pork belly that is even in height all around.
An uneven slab won't cook evenly but more importantly, crisping up skin will be very difficult. If you do get an uneven slab of pork belly, where one side is thicker than the other, simply cut the pork belly into pieces of equal height and cook them separately.
If you are known to making dried meat, get bone-in pork belly.
Bone-in pork belly makes the meat more flavorful and moist. The only downside is not being able to cut the roast easily into bite-size pieces.
if all else fails, go to oakland or san francisco chinatown and save yourself the trouble. they are cheap.
Vietnamese/Chinese Crispy Roasted Pork Belly
(Thit Heo Quay/Siu Yuk)
3 lbs boneless pork belly
1 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice Powder
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon salt (divided)
1 tablespoon pork stock powder (can substitute with chicken stock powder)
2 teaspoons cooking wine (Shaoxing brand recommended)
In a small bowl, make the pork marinade by mixing together five-spice powder, sugar, salt (half), pork stock powder and cooking wine. Apply the pork marinade all over the pork belly but not the skin. Rub remaining salt evenly to the skin only. Marinate for 1 hour or or overnight in fridge for best results.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the pork skin-side up on a roasting or wired rack and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rotate pork and bake for another 30 minutes.
Turn oven to broil (400°F still on middle rack with no empty racks on top). Broil for 15-20 minutes until skin is puffy and crispy. Rotate if necessary for even crispiness.