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Braised Pork Belly (Dong Po Rou/东坡肉)

Braised Pork Belly (Dong Po Rou/东坡肉)


Braised Pork Belly Recipe (Dongpo Rou/Dong Po Rou/东坡肉)


Clay pot, dutch oven or stainless steel pot
Food safety strings, optional


1 lb pork belly
1 tablespoon oil
3 stalks scallions, cut into 3-inch lengths
1-inch peeled ginger, cut into slices
2-3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or 1-2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing Wine
water, enough to cover the pork belly
1 oz (or 40 g) rock sugar, lightly crushed or 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
extra sugar, as per taste


Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the pork belly and boil for 5 minutes. Discard water, remove pork from pot, rinse and pat dry. Cut the meat into 2 1/2-inch squares. Tie the pork pieces with food safety strings as tight as possible to avoid meat from falling apart while braising.

Heat up a clay pot or stainless steel pot with oil, stir-fry the ginger and scallions until aromatic. Pour in the water and continue boiling for 10 minutes.

Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and wine, adequate amount of water just to cover the pork belly and boil in high heat. Mix in rock sugar, pork pieces, skin side down and cook for 5 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium-low, at a gentle simmering level, cover the pot and braise pork for 30 minutes. Turn pork skin side ‘up’, and continue braising for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until pork is tender enough to your liking. Adjust seasoning, as per taste, eg. sugar.

Dish up and serve pork with Dongpo sauce over steamed rice or buns and vegetables.

Cook’s Notes:
  1. After dishing out the cooked pork belly, bring the sauce to a second boil to thicken it, add sugar and other seasonings as desired.
  2. Food safety string is not required if you prefer to braise the whole slab of pork belly. Hence, skip the cutting part of the pork belly.
  3. You can use regular Shaoxing Wine for the Dongpo Pork recipe. Shaoxing ‘Hua Tiao’ wine will add a more robust and richer flavor to the dish.

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65 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Alex

    This pork looks fantastic!
    These safety strings add some complexity to the picture, for sure.
    But a question: how the guest supposed to remove them? Is it possible to do this with just chopsticks?

    • Peter Chiu

      I was fortunate enough to treat my family, who were visiting me in Suzhou, to this remarkable dish.
      It was served in small portions only, one serving for each of us, and the pork really does melt in our mouths.
      I will be cooking this dish in Australia someday, as soon as I can lay hands on some thick, juicy, belly pork. Yummy!

  2. YUMMY! I remember have some amazing Dong Po Rou in Shanghai a few years and have thought about making it at home but never had the courage too lol I’m more of a baker ~ will definitely be referring to your recipe though!


  3. Holly Nguyen via Facebook

    Looks amazing. I am marinating two cornish hens to try your Chinese style roast chicken at the moment.

  4. Debbie Woo

    My family loves Stewed Pork Belly! In fact, I just made it for dinner last night. I also throw in some carrots and a couple of chickens thighs. I’ve discovered cooking it in a pressure cooker and it only takes 1hr to cook with the same tasty results! So yummy!

  5. Holly Nguyen via Facebook

    The Chinese style chicken is incredible! Had it with garlic green beans and white rice…will be making this again. Thank you!

  6. Ira Rodrigues

    Interesting story and recipe Bee!

    We have restaurant in Bali which serve this dish, it call depot 369, i had this dish and my husband thought me how to it–sandwich the braised belly with very yummy pao *i totally forget the name:(
    it really melt in the mouth :)

  7. phoenixhauser

    On a side note, Dongporou is quite popular today, mainly because it was a favorite of MaoZedong, whose favorite recipe reportedly uses no soy sauce. Rumor goes that he grew up in Hunan, which had many soy sauce factories and after seeing how soy sauce was made, was not a fan of it in his food. An imperial chef was tasked with re-creating Dongporou without soy sauce and after two tries, he was in the Great Helmsman’s favor. My favorite version is served atop sweet rice nestled in a roasted small pumpkin crowned with the decadently fatty, tender meat–the gluttonous rice and sweetness of the pumpkin makes for a very tasty dish.

  8. wfeiwan

    Ha, we had this at a restaurant the other day and the kids love it. we had it sandwiched betwwen pieces of pao-like mantou. I am so going to try this this week, as a good prep for CNY dinner :) Thanks Bee

  9. Mila

    I have a pot full of dong po rou (a la Filipino adobo style). I cooked two slabs of pork belly, with some very streaky pork neck chunks in a sauce made of a local chinese rice wine (in lieu of vinegar), soy sauce, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, scallions, and a couple of star anise tossed in there. Three hours braised in the oven and all that meat was soft and buttery. I have kept the pork belly in a “confit” (the fat congealed over the belly strips), and have used a few chunks to cook vegetables. It’s a divine dish, very versatile and easy to make. Long live pork!

  10. a nice recipe, but i really miss the fivespice flavor of dong po rou! so i added abt 1 tsp fivespice powder and also 1 cinnamon stick and double the amount of shaoxing wine.

  11. Jinilia

    hi bee! i just found out about your website when searching for the black pepper beef recipe. I found yours in when she referred to this website. I have to say that is the best black pepper recipe ever!! my husband loves it so much he asked me to cook again for him the next day lol thanks to you.
    I just tried your dong po rou this evening for dinner and it’s just delicious!! i went to hang zhou once and tried this dish. A bit different from what i remember but still your recipe tastes great and that’s what matters!!
    btw, i really really want to buy your book. do u know if they sell it in singapore? rather than buying from amazon (the shipping fee is like 75% of the book price for standard 18-32 days delivery!!) i literally cant wait that long! lol
    please let me know, ok :) thanks

  12. Jin

    Hi Bee, I tried making this the other day and the result was very, very salty. I followed your recipe down to the tee, and I am wondering if it is because I simmered it uncovered or is 1 cup of soy sauce too much?

    • If you read the comments, a few people had tried with successful results. If you simmer with the lit uncovered, all the water will evaporate/reduce mostly that’s why your sauce might be too salty. If you simmer with it covered, it keeps most of the water/moisture. Add more water if it’s too salty.

  13. Jin

    oh wait, I think I braised it with the pot covered. Hence, I am not sure why the recipe turned out to be so salty. Would be great if I know what went wrong as I love Dong Po Rou! Thanks!

  14. celineccl

    Hey Bee, I just had a go at this recipe, but found it overly overly salty even after adding a whole lot of sugar. Could there be a mistake in the amount of soy sauce used?

    • I used low sodium soy sauce which is very light. I updated the recipe to 1 cup low sodium soy sauce or 1/2 cup regular soy sauce. Also did your water level reduced a lot? If so, add some water to it.

      Are you using an American measuring cup?

  15. rachel

    Hi thanks for the awesome recipe really been looking forward to it since moving away from singapore, it was really easy to follow but after two hours of simmering I was nowhere near the caramel looking brown in the photo? It’s the color I’m familiar with from back home so I know what Iv made is way too white, but the braising sauce tastes really good and the meat really soft too but somehow doesn’t seem to have absorbed the flavours(which the dark colour would have been an indicator that it has I mean and which I didn’t get). I don’t know if iv somehow missed a step by misunderstanding your recipe? Like after drying the pork after its been boiled is it supposed to be fried a little with the garlic and scallions before adding water? Although I don’t see what diff that would make

  16. rachel

    argh tried it again and still cant get that caramelly look, and this time the pork even had a weird taste to it, like the pork version of ‘gamey’ if you get what i mean, kind of like the smell that comes up when boiling off the dirt or whatever that is at the start of the process, except this time for some reason it was still in the pork even after letting it boil for 15 minutes or slightly more, it was just the other half of the same slab i used before, left in the regular fridge, shouldnt have spoilt or anything, any idea what im doing wrong?

      • rachel

        well i cooked it for 2 hours both times, only slightly brown looking, left it for at least another hour, every so slightly more brown, not what i would even call medium brown, at this point the meat is so soft that it falls apart really easily in my mouth but just is not what i would call dong po rou, or any of the sort of chinese braised pork

        • kristie wang

          I think Rasa was misled by the practice of blanching the meat. Meat must absolutely be placed in cold water before turning on the heat. This allows the blood and other particulates to diffuse out of the pork. You should see a layer of scum. If you place uncooked protein in hot water, all of the scum gets trapped inside the meat. Hope that helped

          • kristie wang

            About the falling off part, I usually braise for 1 hour or so, then take portions out and steam it for 30min. I’m not sure why, but that was what I was taught at home (I’m Chinese and make Dong Po Rou all the time). If you’re interested in a translated recipe, let me know

  17. anita wong

    This great dish was named after a gentleman called Sui Tung Po.
    I was told that a gift was given, a pig, a vat of wine and one of soy sauce.
    After refusing to accept the gifts, he asked that they be cooked together and shared among the people.
    Can anyone add or correct this story?

  18. kristie wang

    Nice recipe, but I’m a bit horrified you first boil the pork in boiling water. It actually defeats the purpose of blanching the meat. It needs to be immersed in cold water before turning on the heat, otherwise the veins become immediately clogged and the ‘stench’ and blood from the pork can’t release as it’s supposed to. Same goes for red cooked pork. Nice site!

    • The step was to boil the pork and tied with the string, it wasn’t a step to remove the stench. The pork is braised for two hours with the seasoning, it wouldn’t have any stench.

      • kristie wang

        Then I’m a bit confused, what’s the point of first boiling the pork? It’s usually the first step in Chinese cuisine to remove the scum from the pork, but it must absolutely be cold water. Otherwise there’s no point. If you put it immediately in boiling water, you ruin the meat. You might as well brown it instead. I’m Chinese, so I think wherever you learned the recipe from, you were misled. It’s also a bit unhygienic. I tried your matcha cookies though, they’re good!

        • There are many Chinese recipes that call for par-boiling the meat first, I do the same to roast pork belly, for example. I know the treatment of “boiling” the pork in water using low heat (not cold water per se but cold water heating on low heat) to rid the scum/stench. This is how I created this recipe, if you don’t like a specific step in my method, you can skip it or do it the way you like…it’s all good.

        • Anak Malaysia

          Kristie Wang. She is not misled. There are 2 schools of thought in this matter. Some swear by using cold water but some use the method described here. I am also a Chinese and I have attended many cooking classes conducted by famous chefs. Both methods are used. Either way, you will not ruin the meat in this dish. After you have braised the pork for 1-2 hours, believe me, you cannot taste the different how you blanch the pork in the first place.

          • Thanks Anak Malaysia. Ultimately, there is no way the pork would have any “porky smell” after the long braising. My first step would remove some surface scum (so the sauce would be “clearer” and also firm up the meat so I could tie with the string.

            • AnakMalaysia

              When I teach the young people (especially those have never cook before) , I always tell them cooking is an arts. There is no fix and fast rule or right and wrong. I just tell them add some salt or sugar (whatever) but I do not give exact measurement. It all depends on your mood for that day how you want the food to taste. It also depend on what other dishes you are cooking for that meal. You do not want every dish have the same taste / colour. They will make mistake (like too salty or sweet). This is how they learn.

              Other people may disagree with my method of teaching. That is absolutely fine with me. I love diverse view and opinion.

              At the end of the day, If the dish taste good, who cares how you cook it. Having said that, if we follow certain procedures (like blanching the pork or bones first) , then the food will taste even better.

              This dish for example, it all depend on my mood for that day, sometime I add a piece of star anise and cinnamon. I fry them together with the ginger and scallion till aromatic. This give me a different favour.


              • kristie wang

                I don’t disagree. I’m just a little surprised at the Malaysian style of preparing Dong Po Rou, it’s a bit different than what I’m used to, the measurements included. Maybe new world Dong Po Rou. I’ll keep in mind all the recipes are for the home cook. Thanks!

                • Hi Kristie, are you Chinese? If you don’t mind sharing, I would love to have your recipe. I can’t say that this Dongpo Rou recipe is most authentic, because it’s not a native dish that we eat. Most Chinese from Malaysia came from the southern China…

  19. Lisa c

    Hi, I just tred your recipe but I added sugar to the oil before stir browning the belly pieces. Does this make the pork belly ooze out a lot of fat?

    By the end of braising all if the water seemed to have evaporated and it found my pork bellies braising in its out fat! Needless to the the pork still came out delicious but I didn’t get that thick caramelly gravy at the end.

    I think there is a step missing from ur recipe . Do we add the pork to the pan after we stir fry the scallions and ginger? Do we brown it or immediately pour water in it?


  20. alexandra

    this is my FAVOURITE rasa malaysia recipe hands down.
    I tried it out, LOVED it. Just be watchful not to burn the pork /let it stick to the pot bottom towards the end of cooking! Best Dongpo Meat I’ve ever eaten, and I’m Chinese living in China. Lots of love!

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