Siu Yuk 烧肉

Roast Pork Belly by any other name – Siew Yoke , Siu Yuk , Sio Bak, 烧肉

I came across a post on Facebook the other day that really spoke to me.

“My life is a constant battle between my love for food and not wanting to be fat”

I have a confession to make. I haven’t worked out in a month. *SHOCK! HORROR!* No seriously, I really need to get my ass back on the cross trainer. I was so good with my routine up till a month ago. My knee started to hurt a little so I took that excuse and I ran with it. Pun totally intended 😉 Wait, am I doing this right? Anyway, it’s a miracle I haven’t ballooned considering the way I’ve been eating. I mean, look at this Roast Pork Belly!!

Crispy Roast Pork Belly

How do you say no to that?? I know I can’t. Crispy skin crackling and juicy fatty flesh is a combination hard to beat. And being chinese, the way my mind works is Fat = Yumz. 1.35 billion people can’t be wrong, right? You know this dish is awesome when it’s got so many names in so many dialects and languages, and I’m just naming the four I know.

Siew Yoke 烧肉

This classic chinese roast is a favourite of mine growing up. It still is. But growing up, I took it for granted and always assumed it would be there whenever I wanted it. I never considered the possibility of being married abroad, where pork belly is almost exclusively made into bacon. I craved for it. I craved for it baaaad. I tried so many recipes that promised top results only to be thrown into the pits of disappointment again and again. Mind you, they were complicated recipes too. Then I found this recipe, the perfect recipe. It is dead easy and it is foolproof. The only problem I have with the dish is my over-eating. I haven’t figured out how to store leftovers so that the skin stays crispy, so my solution is to eat it all. *Om nom nom nom nom*

The trick to this dish is in the cleaning of the skin. I don’t know how it is where you are but when I do manage to get a slab of pork belly, there is always quite a bit of hair still left in the skin. You need a sharp and sturdy knife and you want to scrape the skin with it, against the hair growth. Do this enough and not only do you remove yucky hair, you break down the top layer of the skin just enough to allow the salt to penetrate it evenly. Oh, and the skin has to be very dry. VERY.

Alright, time to get back on the cross-trainer……tomorrow….

Sio Bak 烧肉

Crispy Roast Pork Belly 烧肉

Serves 6

  • 1.2 kg pork belly
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 2 Tbs white vinegar


  • 1 cube nam yee (red fermented beancurd)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp five-spice powder
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 Tbs rice wine
  • Rinse pork belly and pat very dry.
  • Hold a sharp and sturdy knife at 90 degrees to the skin. Drag the knife across the skin, going against the hair growth. Scrape away all remaining hair while being careful not to cut into the meat.
  • Brush off all hair and dirt with a paper towel. Using the tip of your knife, prick the skin all over. You want pin pricks, not slits. I suppose you could use a pin but I’ve never tried.
  • Flip the pork belly over skin side down and score the meat a little with a sharp knife. Rub in the marinade.
  • Flip it once more so it’s skin side up and place it on a rack. Give the skin one last wipe  with a paper towel to remove any last bit of moisture and/or marinade and rub salt into the skin.

Roast Pork Belly 烧肉

  • Place a plate/tray under the rack and leave the meat uncovered in the fridge  to dry out overnight. Make sure you have a plate/tray under the meat to catch the liquids. There will be liquids.
  • Take the meat out of the fridge an hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature.
  • Remove excess salt from skin and pat skin dry.
  • Place meat on a roasting rack and roast for 20 mins at 200°C with the fan on. Have a drip tray under the rack to catch the fat drippings.
  • After 20 mins, remove meat from oven and brush the vinegar onto the skin. Change oven settings to grill and return meat to oven for 20 mins then repeat twice more or until skin is crackled and meat is cooked..
  • When skin is crackled and almost charred (about 1 hour 20 mins) remove meat from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before CHOPPING to serve. Chop, don’t slice.
  • Enjoy!

Roast Pork Belly 烧肉

18 thoughts on “Roast Pork Belly by any other name – Siew Yoke , Siu Yuk , Sio Bak, 烧肉

    1. Really? Phew! I was feeling a little iffy about the setup in the pictures. I thought I could have made the pork pop out more if I had used a different coloured plate or runner. But if you say so 😀 Thank you!


      1. i really like it, white plates are beautiful, simple and help bring out that golden roast color on the skin. Trying colored dinnerware has to be done carefully, wrong plate and you’re staring at the beautiful blue patters rather than the pork 🙂 Its possible do, like probably earth tones would go great, dark wood colors seem to go well with roasted dishes.. from what Ive seen


  1. Came for that enticing crispy roast pork…. stayed for this awesome blog! 😉 It’s really amusing to read 😀 , has great photos AND it’s about authentic Chinese/korean/malaysian food! Keep up the great work~~~


  2. Ausgezeichnet! I’ve tried your crispy roast pork and steamed tofu recipes, they’re really delicious! Before trying out the recipes, I’m already salivating over the beautiful pictures of dishes :p…Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes and stories!


  3. Whoa, awesome blog!!!

    I came here for this recipe as well. One short question though, are there other marinades thst come to your mind, which could work with the pork? A bit more spicy possibly? I guess the dufficulty is the “dry is so important here” part, isn’t it.


    1. Thank you for your kind words, Christoph!!

      I personally haven’t tried a spicy version but I imagine some chilli powder would work well in the marinade. You could also try a dry rub of 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, dash of five-spice and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp chill powder, depending on how hot you like it 😉

      You’re right about the importance of the pork being dry. More accurately, it’s the skin that has to be dry. That’s why salt is used to draw water out of the skin so it can crisp up nicely in the oven. You can marinate the meat itself with any marinade you fancy as long as the skin stays untouched by the marinade and is dry when it goes into the oven. I hope that helps and that I wasn’t confusing :S

      Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll continue to visit!


      1. Awesome, thanks for replying. I look so much forward to get my hands onto this one tomorrow!

        What is your favourite to serve as a side dish?

        All the best,



      2. I like to serve it with a side of blanched Pak Choy with a oyster – soy dressing and of course, lots of rice 😀 I hope you like the dish as much as we love it!


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