Ingredients:
  • 450 gm (1 lb) Pork Belly.
  • White sugar
  • White Pepper
  • "5 Spice" Powder
  • MSG (optional of course)
Method:
  1. There's as much or more sugar than all of the other ingredients combined. Use a small saucer or plate and just add a little 5 Spice powder and then go from there.
  2. Rinse the pork belly under running water and dry it well with paper towels.
  3. Lay the meat, skin-side down and score the exposed aspect of the pork belly.
  4. Add the dry seasoning to the three meat/fat exposed sides but not the skin.
  5. Turn the meat over (seasoning side down) and wipe off any seasoning that may have lodged onto the skin. Place the dressed meat, uncovered for 30 minutes or overnight. (Uncovered prevents moisture condensation and allows further loss of moisture)
  6. Sprinkle Kosher salt or crushed sea salt liberally onto the skin.
  7. After setting your oven to 230ºC (450 F), set two of your oven racks as close to your heat source as possible. Lay the pork belly skin side up of course, directly on to the top rack, and place a dripping pan underneath on the 2nd tier.
  8. Check progress after 20 minutes. It will have shrunken and rendered some fat into the dripping pan. Remove from the oven for the next step.
  9. This next step allows the fat to render profusely and produce that much sought crispy layer. You need to perforate the skin repeatedly with a tool such as a carving fork, ice-pick, fondue-fork or similar. Just completely prickle the whole surface.
  10. Turn the oven back on again if you turned it off for the prickling process.
  11. Brush the top of the skin surface with a little rice wine vinegar. This may help in the crisping of the crackle.
  12. Return the meat to the oven. Now wait. It may take 40 minutes or so to really darken the edges of the skin. This is now time to take it out and the cooking is finished.It can be carved and served. Traditionally cut into rectangular mouthfuls.
  13. The crispy pork skin Siu Yuk is ready to eat.
  14. This is most decidedly a Cantonese recipe with the little bit of sweetness and the intriguing edge of the 5 spice. It's perfect with steamed rice. Another way I really enjoy this dish is served hot or cold with a sauce made of Soy sauce and Sugar. This is quite typical of a Shanghai flavour. Try it before you commit to it as not all like this style. If you and your guests enjoy it then I would suggest pouring this sauce over the pieces in the serving plate or at least dividing the pork into two serving plates and treating one as the Shanghai style and the other in any way you wish to modify or enhance but on your plate, or rather, in your bowl.
            It's an ideal food for raising your confidence with chopsticks.

*Cooking times depend on the thickness of the piece of meat. Thicker cuts will take longer to cook not the overall size or weight of the piece per se.