Friday 1 January 2016

Crispy Roasted Pork Belly (Siu Yuk) 脆皮烧肉

UPDATE 26/7/2018: 

This post was written in early 2016. Two years down the road, I think I have learned much. I am not going to be long winded, just adding a few tips on how to get that brittleness to make a perfect crispy yet tender roasted pork belly.

1. Keep the skin as dry as possible - the longer you keep it in the fridge, the easier to get that brittleness. I have tried 3 days.

2. Scrape the skin, apply some vinegar and continue - that would thin out the skin a little and ensure the lower layer is able to crisp up as well. This will leave no chewiness on the skin.

3. It is ok to have charring on the skin - don't get intimidated when you see burned skin. Scrape it off and continue.

4. Put it as near to the heating element as possible. Level the pork so that the roasting can be equal on all the skin. Shift the unroasted side of the skin direct to the heating element until all the skin are equally roasted.

2016 Post:

It seems that there are endless recipes and methods on making a crispy roast pork belly, both Asian and Western. There seems to be a fascination for pork crackling. It is like the creme de la creme of roast pork. The crispy skin of the roasted pork belly is complemented well with layers of succulent fats rendered to perfection, alternating with juicy tender lean meat.

Whilst all crispy roast pork bellies are created crispy and crunchy, I do prefer the Chinese-style roast pork belly.  It has not only a crunch but a brittle texture as well that is easy to the bite. Siu yuk, as it is more fondly known, has been a Southern China delicacy for ages. Unlike the Western style that scores the skin, the Chinese crispy roast pork belly requires you to labourously prick the skin until the skin is completely punctured with holes. This step is of utmost importance and there is no short cut if you want that brittle skin. It also requires skills as you have to poke it deep enough to loosen the skin but not into the layers of meat. Once you touch the meat, juices would flow into the skin when cooking, preventing the skin from getting crispy. Use a pork skin pricking tool. It will make life a lot easier. To me the ultimate roasted pork belly is one that is crispy and brittle on top, yet having juicy layers of meat and fats.

Coming back to my crispy roast pork belly, I did not have this the pork skin pricking tool when I made this. I used barbecue skewers as replacement and the skin turned rougher than I want (but still very crispy). I used the salt crust method in cooking my pork belly. It worked beautifully to give me that crispy and crunchy skin. Not my best work per se, but my family does love it and it is all that counts.

Crispy Roasted Pork Belly (Siu Yuk) 脆皮烧肉


800 g pork belly
1 tsp vinegar
enough coarse salt to make a crust


1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cube nam yue (red fermented beancurd)
2 tsp five spice powder

Cooking Instruction

1. Rinse pork belly and remove all impurities and hair. Blanch belly in boiling water for 2 minutes skin side down. Strain and pat-dry pork with kitchen towel.

2. Poke as many holes on the skin as possible (recommended to use a pork skin pricking tool).

3. Turn pork skin side down. Make slits across the grain of the pork. This would prevent your pork from curling and the marinade to do deep into the pork. It is also recommended (but not compulsory) that you skewer the pork along the sides to prevent curling.

4. Apply your marinade evenly on the bottom later and the slits of the pork. Do not rub on the skin.

5. Turn slab over and pat dry the skin. Put belly into the fridge overnight for the skin to dry out. The longer you let the skin to dry out, the more crispy it will be. I have tried drying it for three days.

6. Preheat oven to 200C. Use aluminium foil to wrap around the belly. Apply salt evenly onto the skin. (Add thicker than shown in picture).

7. Put into the oven and cook for 30 minutes (cooking time depends on how thick the slab of pork is).

8. Remove pork from the oven and scrape off the salt which has now formed a crust. Increase your oven temperature to 250C using grill function or top heating element only. Apply a thin layer of vinegar on the pork skin and put pork back into the oven to the top most rack. Cook for another 15 minutes or until skin becomes bubbly and crispy. It is ok if the skin gets a little charred. Just scrape off the blackened area with your knife. Apply another layer of vinegar and put it back into the oven for another round of crisping until you get the desired crisp. Remove and cut into bite-size pieces.

If your skin doesn't get crispy, do not panic. Just leave it longer in the hot oven. It will get there although the meat might be a tad drier. 

Don't know what to do with the leftover roasted pork belly? Try this recipe:

Also check out my Asian Style roast chicken here:


  1. Hi Christine, thank you for sharing your recipe. I tried the wu tao kau yoke. Is superb.and also tried your recipe on char siew, is the best recipe I had tried. Now siew yoke... But I alter a bit on the marination, instead of salt and sugar. I add only whole clove garlic (peeled) 4 to 5 in between each sliced part. Is nice with garlic taste.

    1. Thank you for trying. I am happy you find the recipes useful.


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