Chinese Roast Belly Pork (Siew Yok)

Dragon meets Pig

Deh-Ta Hsiung gives the recipe away in his book, and it’s really simple to make. When I say simple, I don’t mean easy. The art to it is in the roasting process, and that, is something that will be unique to all your ovens. I used the recipe in the book as a guide, and yes, I did monkey with the times. I had to or the roast would have been charcoal.


1kg of belly pork. Get this all in one piece. If it’s not in one piece the whole thing doesn’t work as it dries out far too fast. You want the skin on and a nice layer of fat on it, and make sure the hairs are removed.
1 tbsp of five spice powder
1/2 tbsp of salt

You just massage the five spice and the salt into the belly pork the night before and leave it in your fridge to season.
Take it out of the fridge about two hours before you’re going to roast it and let it come up to room temperature. I just find it’s easier to get your timings right if I start from room temperature.

This here is what it looked like just before I put it in the oven

Oven up to 240C, put the belly pork, skin side up for about 15-25 minutes. By the end of this time the crackling should be bubbling up and looking.. well.. crackly. This equates to the half hour sizzle that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall talks about in his Meat book.

Thereafter, turn it down to 200C and roast for another 20-30 minutes. Again times are a guide, be guided by what it looks like and how well you know your oven.

Leave it to rest after you take it out of the oven. It should still be nice and moist when it’s cooled down to room temperature. The art to this is knowing how your oven cooks things. The recipe is really no more complicated than that.

Things to bear in mind

The recipe in the book says use 1tbsp of salt. That’s way too much salt in my opinion. when I did this with that amount of salt I endedup soaking the meat to leach a bit of it out so it was palatable again.

Practise as they say makes perfect, the more you roast and the better you know your oven, the easier this will be.

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