Recipes

Sliced Pork Belly with Garlic Sauce

This staple of Taiwanese beer hall cuisine features tender poached pork drenched in a garlic, soy, and chile sauce.

  • Serves

    4

  • Cook

    25 minutes

EXCERPTED FROM MADE IN TAIWAN: RECIPES AND STORIES FROM THE ISLAND NATION. COPYRIGHT @ 2023 BY CLARISSA WEI. PHOTOGRAPHY COPYRIGHT © 2023 BY YEN WEI AND RYAN CHEN. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION OF SIMON ELEMENT, AND IMPRINT OF SIMON & SCHUSTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

By Clarissa Wei


Published on November 28, 2023

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This delicate preparation–in a recipe adapted from Clarissa Wei’s debut cookbook Made in Taiwan: Recipes and Stories from the Island Nation—is a staple dish of the semi-outdoor beer-centric eateries of Taiwan known as rèchǎo, which Wei says offer “all the sensory joys of a night market but without the need to push through the masses.” While the word rèchǎo translates to “hot stir-fry,” the dishes they feature are wide-ranging, often prepared with delicate seasoning and best appreciated alongside a cold Taiwanese lager.
This recipe requires a quick poaching of pork belly (skin-on or off, up to you), which is then thinly sliced and lightly dressed with a sauce made from garlic, chile oil, and Taiwanese soy paste. (The soy paste, which is a different product than Korean soybean paste or Chinese yellow soybean paste, is a syrupy condiment and a fundamental ingredient in many Taiwanese dishes. It is available in Asian grocery stores or via online retailers, but you can also substitute vegetarian oyster sauce.)

Ingredients

For the pork:

  • 1 lb. pork belly (see headnote)
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and halved
  • One 1-in. piece fresh ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, ends trimmed and cut into matchsticks

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. Taiwanese soy paste (see headnote)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp. chili crisp or chile oil

Instructions

Step 1

To a large pot set over high heat, add the pork belly, scallions, and ginger; cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, turn the heat to medium, and simmer until the pork begins to change color, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and leave the pork in the pot until the thickest part of the meat reads 145°F on an instant-read thermometer, 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain and briefly rinse the pork, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Remove and discard the ginger and scallions.

Step 2

Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy paste, sugar, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of water until the sugar is fully dissolved. Stir in the sesame oil and chili crisp, add more water and sugar to taste and set aside. (The sauce can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)

Step 3

On a serving platter, arrange the cucumber in a flat layer. Thinly slice the pork and fan it over the cucumber, then pour the sauce evenly over the pork. Garnish with more garlic and serve.

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