Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe (咕嚕肉)
August 16th, 2008 232 Comments

Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe (咕嚕肉)

Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and Sour Pork pictures (4 of 5)

(Popular and All-Time Favorite Chinese recipesBroccoli Beef, Chow Mein, Egg Drop Soup, Kung Pao Chicken, Cashew Chicken, Fried Rice, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef, and more.)

Sweet and Sour Pork, the ubiquitous and arguably the most well-known Chinese recipe in the world, is a classic Cantonese dish. Called “咕嚕肉” or “goo lou yok” in Cantonese dialect, sweet and sour pork is very pleasing to the palate because of the flavorsome sweet and sour sauce–the sweetness from sugar plus the tangy ketchup and sharp rice vinegar–with the crispy fried pork pieces. The green and red bell peppers and pineapple pieces are just icing on the cake.

The secret of an authentic sweet and sour pork dish lies in the perfect balance of the sweet vs. sour taste of the sauce. To master this dish, it’s not about the technique of stir-frying nor the use of the freshest ingredients, although both are equally important and wouldn’t hurt. To me, the sweet and sour sauce is the soul of this dish. If you fail the sweet and sour sauce, you fail the dish. With that in mind, I will teach you how to make that perfect sweet and sour sauce and share with you the secret ingredients I use.

Sweet and Sour Pork

While traditional Chinese/Cantonese sweet and sour pork recipe calls for the use of rice vinegar and ketchup to bring out the sour taste, I also use plum sauce to add some extra zing, plus a few dashes of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and oyster sauce to complete a harmony balance. They are my secret ingredients and do make a nice difference in terms of taste, in my honest opinion.

Other than the sauce, the frying batter is no less important. A great batter recipe promises crispy and crunchy coating for the pork. In my recipe below, you will also find the instructions and exact measurement to make the batter. It is simply awesome!

Sweet and Sour Pork

Rasa Malaysia’s Secret Ingredients for Sweet and Sour Pork:

  1. Plum Sauce
  2. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
  3. Oyster Sauce (my not-so-secret seasoning medium)

So, discard the canned pineapple juice or orange juice in the Americanized sweet and sour pork recipe. Do try out my secret ingredients above the next time you prepare sweet and sour pork.

Anyway, once you master the techniques of making sweet and sour sauce, you can pretty much whip up any sweet and sour dishes in a jiffy: pork, chicken, fish, or shrimp…just don’t tell Panda Express my secret recipe! *wink*

Sweet and Sour Pork

If you like my sweet and sour pork recipe, you might also want to check out the Chinese recipes on Rasa Malaysia:


Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Click Page 2 for the Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe (咕嚕肉) Recipe
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232 comments... read them below or add one

  1. pink parisian says:

    I cannot cook sweet and sour pork to save my life! But now maybe I can :) Thanks for the recipe

    • InManila says:

      My husband doesn’t eat pork, but I do. I love sweet and sour pork but don’t know how to cook it perfectly. Must try this recipe this week. May have to use chicken though so my husband can enjoy it too. Thanks!

  2. Paula says:

    Oooh, this looks so good. I was surprised to see ketchup in the ingredient list! My kids would love this!

  3. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Working on this dish with the secret ingredient. . .Thanks for sharing!

    And I thought sweet and sour pork will be forever beyond my reach. . .

  4. Ning says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m Chinese and I cant perfect this dish! Will try your to add your “secret” ingredients..

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh my, this is the most beautiful sweet and sour pork I have ever seen. The ones I get at the Chinese restaurants pale in comparison!!

  6. Manggy says:

    Oh gosh, this dish brings back so many memories… My first job in the kitchen as a kid was mixing the sweet and sour sauce! She used to rave about how well I did it. I think she just wanted me to feel important :)

  7. PheMom says:

    Looks and sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing! I notice you use corn flour and corn starch. Recently I saw a discussion about whether or not they were the same thing – what is your opinion or what are you using? Thanks!

  8. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    That photo is beautiful! I definitely will have to try this one–it sounds great

  9. coldsupperserved says:

    I love your site and your recipes! Being a transplanted Malaysian for almost 15 years now, this site helps me reconnect with the happy memories of childhood :D

  10. tigerfish says:

    Goo Loo Yok…my favorite Chinese dish :)

  11. KG says:

    Look Delicious!

    Any chance that since the olympics end in the neighborhood of mid-autumn that you’ll be making mooncakes?

  12. Piggy says:

    You goo lou yok looks really good, makes me crave for pork even more. :-P

  13. lingzie says:

    your recipe looks amazing! it may seem like a simple dish…but takes a bit of mastering to get it just right! i abhor those goo loo yok dishes that serve hard and chewy pork slices instead of crunchy!

  14. veron says:

    I love authentic sweet and sour pork. this looks delish! Not the ones served up in chinese restaurants over here that are swimming in sauce.

  15. Rasa Malaysia says:

    All – thanks for your nice comments. Sorry I can’t respond to you individually.

    Phemom – It was a typo, it meant the same thing, which is corn starch.

  16. worldwindows says:

    Hope one of these days you do a pictorial process on how it is done (as space is not a constraint in the wwww). For armchair connoisseur like me at least I have the vicarious joy of going through the motion in dishing out one of your recipes. Cheers.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I love sweet and sour pork very much and your sweet and sour pork recipe so good!

  18. daphne says:

    My fav childhood dish-my parents still order that when i’m in town.

    At home, we didnt use plum sauce but I might try that when I do attempt this dish again in the future.

    • Amor says:

      I doubled up this recipe last night.
      It was delicious, used 1/2 C pineapple chunks and their juice instead of water in the ‘sauce’ ingredients.
      Well worth the try, and YES, it is better than the one at P*NDA E.
      Thanks for sharing =-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Tried your sweet and sour pork recipe last night and it was fanstastic! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe and yes, your secret ingredients works. Thanks again. :)

    Austin, TX

  20. Anonymous says:

    agree with veron that your sweet and sour pork is not swimming in the sauce. love it.

  21. noobcook says:

    I love Goo Loo Yok! yours look better than those sold in restaurants :D btw, I have a little surprise for you at my blog :)

  22. Antonio says:

    This sweet and sour pork looks inviting. I would never have known about plum sauce for sweet and sour pork recipe.

  23. Matin says:

    Looks fantastic, You made it look so easy to cook:-)
    X M

  24. Ipoh Girl in Canada says:

    This is my fav dish and your photo makes my mouth water! (Did you take photography lessons?) Thanking for sharing!

    I have to disagree with you on the sauce making or breaking the dish. I could make your sauce but if the pork is over-fried the dish will be ruined too. I always over-fry them though not on purpose as I am fearful that they are not cooked yet! Any tips on how long they should be deep-fried?

    • JANIE says:


    • Simon says:

      If you deep fry the pork on medium high heat first until its cooked through, then you can remove the pork, heat oil up to high heat (365 F) and then deep fry the quickly to give them a little extra crisp. This is what my former father in law from shanghai always did.

      If you do it this way the meat wont be overcooked inside:)

  25. Anonymous says:

    mouth watering! thanks for sharing your recipes & pics.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Its nice and delicious the sweet & sour pork! Thank you for the recipe.

  27. Crunchasarus Rex says:

    I was watching Chua’s Choice from TVB .. a few days ago. .and in it .. he said. .that a good sweet and sour pork.. needs to have the sauces cooked with the pork.. and not have the gravy poured over it.. after it had been cooked.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I have a question,the ketchup from my country is very sweet and thick, american ketchup is more salty…what kind of ketchup do you recommend for this and your indian mee goreng recipe?
    I LOVE all your recipes btw :D

  29. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Anonymous – for the ketchup, I don’t have any prefence, the best thing is to try the taste. Add a little bit fast and taste it, if not enough, add more. ;)

  30. Sara says:

    Hi I made this last night along with the perfect Chinese greens. Everything was great, I have to say though, the ketchup was a little overpowering to the taste of the sauce. I ended up having to tweak the rest of the ingredients to make it work, but overall came out fantastic. Thanks!

  31. KimdaCook says:

    I just love that and those photos make it look even better.

  32. Kim Cooking says:

    I love sweet and sour so going to have this cooking on night.

  33. Lt. Swiss says:

    This recipe is wonderful! I made it last week for dinner. My boyfriend said that this was possibly the best dish I’ve ever made.

    P.S. I love this website. Stumbled on it accidentally. So glad i did!

  34. Eva says:

    This recipe is excellent. My sweet and sour usually comes out tasting horrible and I had given up on it before I found this. My family ate it so quickly I hardly got any. I did triple the sauce ingredient measurements though as it wasn’t enough.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  35. shar says:

    I love this recipe! The tomato ketchup can be tad overpowering when you still making the sauce, so I added 2 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce and a little more water. The tomato ketchup aroma is still there but when you stir fry everything, it’s perfection.

    My pork is super soft which is good, but how do I make it more crispy? =)

  36. shar says:

    How do you make the pork more crispy? =) Love this recipe, but I add 2tbsp of sweet chilli sauce and a little more water to the sauce.

  37. Emile says:

    Did this last w/e. Looked and tasted brilliant, the best sweet and sour flavour I’ve ever done. I’ll definitely be doing it again.

  38. Pingback:Pages tagged "sour"

  39. Kathy says:

    I make this for my husband tonight and he loved it. Asked if I could make it again and he said it and all the other suggested receipes on the page.

  40. Jena says:

    I cooked this for my brother and cousins a few weeks back and they absolutely loved it! – and oh my, do growing boys eat fast!
    I’ll be cooking it again tonight, as per request. Thanks heaps for this recipe! =)

    p.s. i love your site. its the most frequented site on my favourites list. thanks for sharing all your great recipes!

  41. mummyl says:

    That looks so sticky and delicous!

  42. slackerrrrrrrrr says:

    I cooked this dish last night for my hubby and he love it!! Thanks for your recipe babe.

  43. May says:

    tried this but used chicken… pretty proud of myself! pulled it off!
    THanks for the awesome recipe!

  44. Marcia says:

    I followed the recipe but doubled the sauce mix. When I put it all together it seemed like it needed extra sauce. Don’t get me wrong it is very tasty but you just need additional sauce. The batter made deep frying the pork easy and very tasty!! Thanks for the recipe and I will make it again.

    • Marcia – glad you like the sweet and sour pork recipe. There is nothing wrong with doubling the sauce, some like it saucy but I personally like it just coated with the sauce. :)

  45. pan says:

    1, How do you make hot sour soup? I saw your egg drop soup recipe by the way and I was surprised that the soup wasn’t thickened up with cornstarch/water mixture. Will you post a hot sour soup recipe soon?

    2. I’m confused with this teriyaki sauce recipe. It calls for mirin AND sake. At our local asian supermarket, I bought the Takara Mirin. On the label of that SAME BOTTLE, its called GOURMET COOKING SAKE. So wait, is Mirin a Sake also? Are the terms “mirin” and “sake” interchangeable? If not (I’m not a drinker), I was astounded to see so many types of sake there are. Can you tell me specifically which type of sake to get for this teriyaki sauce recipe?

    3. On the breading of your sweet sour pork, it didn’t work out for me. It didn’t look like the photo you showed where its perfectly golden brown. I followed the recipe for the breading and well, the breading burnt literally within seconds (i had my oil at 360) and not only that but after it was fried, the breading (while set on a plate to cool) went soft.. . was adding the egg and maybe too much flour the problems? what are your thoughts?

    Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Pan – I will get to hot and sour soup soon. My egg drop soup is the authentic version, which is not thickened with starch.

      Mirin and sake are totally different things. Mirin is sweet while sake is not. Does it taste sweet. In any case, I think you have got a mirin but I don’t know why they call it sake. Sake is pretty much rice wine. If you can’t get the Japanese sake, you can just buy Chinese rice wine.

      For the batter, it worked out for me and works for many who tried the recipe. I am not sure but maybe your oil is too hot? I used a stove top to fry. Maybe your area is humid? In any case, you can add 2x the corn starch to the batter and it will be more crunchy.

      Hope it works for you.

  46. StrawberryPocky says:

    Oh my god….this was incredible. I doubled the amount of sauce in this recipe for my preference, only to find there was barely any sauce left over since it was all absorbed. The pork was really delicious and decadent unlike the rubbery ones I find at Americanized Chinese restaurants. Huzzah!! :D

  47. Phyllis says:

    Hi Can i do without plum sauce since I dont have any at home? Thanks a lot.

  48. Amy says:

    Dear rasa malaysia,

    i wanna ask, can i use 排骨(pai gu) to cook this dish or not?
    Is it ok if i marinate it without using rice wine, cos i dun have it.
    Also for the sauce, can i substitute rice vinegar with normal vinegar/apple cider or just omit? cos im a student study at oversea, my ingredients is quite limited. thanks.

    • Yes, you can use spare ribs for this sweet and sour recipe. You can substitute rice wine with any Asian cooking wine, and rice vinegar with regular vinegar. Hope you enjoy this recipe.

  49. Gary says:

    Rasa, you are my “Go-To” site for recipes :o) I always check here first when looking for an Asian recipe that’s authentic (and oh-so-good!). I’ll be making this for my little girl who loves Sweet and Sour Pork, she’s SO excited! I made your Kung Pao chicken last week and it was a big hit!

  50. Alvin Yu says:

    I’m chinese,so I like it vry much!!T.T

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