There is probably a million ways to cook pork belly! This version is almost the same as my soy sauce chicken. I opted to use rock sugar and it gives it a stickier and almost honey like flavor; and somehow, I feel it tenderizes the meat as it cooks too. I offer my sauce erring on the slightly sweeter side. This preference was inspired by a pork hock I had once in high school at one of my old high school friend’s home made by her mom. I always had pork hock that was cooked in soy sauce at home, but that was the first time I had it quite sweet. No picture walk this time because this recipe is so simple! I also made it in a hurry today.


1 slab thick pork belly ( about 2 inches thick-cut into size of your liking or leave it whole to cut after)

1 star anise

1 clove

Light sprinkle of five spice powder (about 1/4 tsp)

6 tbsp soy sauce

6 tbsp water

3 tbsp rock sugar (or sub with 2 tbsp sugar/honey to start with– the sauce is already a little on the sweeter side, but add more later if you like the sauce even sweeter)


1- Combine all ingredients and bring to slow boil.

2- Cook on low for 2-3 hours. Time will vary based on how thick your pieces are.

***Note- Be sure to cook on low and watch your pork belly and feel free to mix here and there, turning over the pieces. Since this pork belly recipe is slightly on the sticky and sweet side, it can burn easily.

**Note:,You can cook pork hock or chicken using this recipe and it will still be yummy.

*Note : I would totally recommend adding some Thai chili peppers if you like spicy things. I added no spice this time, as we were feeding it to the kiddies.

How I Served It

I served it today on the side cut up into little pieces for the kids to have with plain congee or rice porridge. Sometimes I wish there were healthier options to go alongside congee other than fried pork floss (which is so yummy, but not sure how processed it probably is) of store bought jars of soy sauce cucumber/ lettuce or yellow radish. I’ll be posting a homemade soy sauce cucumber recipe inspired by my dad one of these days. Please subscribe to my mailing list, so that you’ll be first to know!

I also served my husbands and my pork sliced as a romaine lettuce cup (I’ve had it this way at Korean Restaurants when I ordered grilled pork belly) with the Ssamjang, a Korean soybean paste condiment. A little dab of that goes a long, long way– the nutty, sweet and salty soybean paste goes phenomenally well with this pork belly I made tonight (NOTE: the soybean paste could be an acquired taste because it does taste a little bit like rice wine/miso, given the soybean is fermented– but I highly recommend giving it a try with this lettuce wrap or any grilled meats- it’s not slimy like natto and sweeter, kind of like an Asian BBQ sauce).

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Do you have a way you make braised pork belly or chicken? I would love to see all the different ways people make theirs!

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