Kitchen Experimenter

Roasted Pork Belly (Sio Bak 烧肉) Recipe

My husband is a huge fan of Roasted Pork Belly (Sio Bak 烧肉), so I’m putting this recipe together with his experience!

Remember we shared about Newton Roast several years ago? As well as the crispy yet chewy Roasted Pork Belly we had along the streets of Malacca? Yup, that’s how my life has changed after knowing him, plus, going through pregnancies too.

Crackling Crispy Roasted Pork Belly Recipe
Who loves those crispy skin from the roasted pork belly? We tried this recipe, and it’s been pretty yums so far!

Can I let you in on a little pregnancy story?

Nope, I’m not pregnant now. But, when I was pregnant with Leroy, I had a crazzzzyyyy craving for crispy pork belly slices! Before that, I wasn’t really a fan because of the smell the meat sometimes had after being cooked. Plus! My meal options would hardly be Char Siew Rice or Sio Bak (烧肉)… I think it’s because my family prefers healthier food. HAHA!

So, back to my pregnancy cravings of those Cantonese Roast Pork Belly that we can order at the Hong Kong Roast stall in the coffee-shop or restaurant. I thought it was Leroy ordering Womb Service! But that porky craving actually extended throughout my breastfeeding journey with him! Gosh.

So much can change with pregnancy and breastfeeding, isn’t it? :P

Crispy Pork Belly Recipe Singapore mum blogger
Crackling skin spotted! Who wants some beer to go along with this meat? :P

Okay, sorry for digressing.

Back to sharing the Roasted Pork Belly Recipe which Hubs tried! Thanks to COVID-19 and the Circuit Breaker measures in Singapore, the kitchen became his playground and a way to destress. There are tons of such porkie recipes around which creates very similar-looking dishes. From the usual Chinese styled Crispy Pork Belly, to the popular Filipino dish, Super Crispy Lechon Kawali, all of them look equally droolsome. So, is it difficult to make that pork skin cripsy? Will it be cloyingly greasy and jerlet? Read on to find out!

For this kitchen experiment, I’m crediting the recipe to K’s friend, who tempted him with his photos of crispy pork on Facebook. Haha! Interestingly, the ingredients are surprisingly common enough, but cooking requires some TLC and advanced preparation time. That means you will need to buffer at least 2 days of lead-time before you get to bite into that meat! #goodthingsmustwait

How to make Sio Bak Pork Belly Recipe
It looks like charred meat, but it isn’t! That’s because there’s Five Spice Powder marinated onto the skin too. Check out the crackling skin!

Roasted Pork Belly Recipe


1kg Pork Belly (not too fatty)

Ingredients for marinade:

3 tbsp Shaoxing Hua Diao Wine (紹興花雕酒)

1.5 tbsp Salt

1.5 tbsp Five Spice Powder

How to make marinade:

Mix the above ingredients together to make a thin paste.

How to prepare raw pork meat before roasting

Did you know? The key trick to achieving that crispy layer of goodness lies in how the skin was treated before cooking. Does this method require poking holes? If so, how to poke holes in the pork belly to make it crispier?

Note: This recipes requires us to ONLY score the skin. His friend’s cooking tip mentions to score the pork skin as much as possible, so NO poking of skin involved! :)

How to score pork belly skin: Using a sharp knife, score the skin by slicing lines diagonally across, followed by slicing lines diagonally the opposite way.

how to score pork skin make crispy pork belly
Wanna get crispy, crackling pork skin that crunches with each bite? Remember to score the skin with a sharp knife before roasting!

Method: Steps to make Crispy Pork Belly

  1. Pat dry the raw pork skin, then coat the skin with white vinegar to dry it before cooking. Tip: The key idea is to make the meat as flat and even as possible, so that the blistering will be even when the meat is cooked.
  2. Place meat on a plate and cover it up with a cloth and leave in the fridge. Keep the raw meat in there for at least 4 – 6 hours.
  3. After removing it from the fridge, spread the marinade paste evenly on the skin and meat. Thereafter, cover it with a cloth and leave it overnight in the fridge.
how to make crispy roasted pork belly recipe
Create a “boat” using aluminium foil to hold the raw pork when roasting in the oven. This helps to keep the juices in too! Yums!

The next day:

  1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius, using top heat with fan mode. Use aluminium foil to make a boat to fit the marinated pork. Tip: This step prevents the meat from over-drying, which is important for juicy and tender meat. The aluminium boat helps to collect juices too, which can be used as a dip.
  2. Place meat in oven and set timer to 50 minutes for 1kg of meat. Tip: We’d recommend that you check the cooking progress from time to time, before the 50 minutes mark as oven settings may differ.
  3. Important step! Switch the heat to maximum and watch the magic of the skin crackling! This step requires close monitoring – look out for blisters starting to form on the skin. This may take around 5-10 minutes each time the pork skin blisters. Do remember to rotate the meat to allow different sections of the meat to blister until the entire slab of meat is bubbling nicely. Tip: This step requires patience and practice! If the meat is rotated too early, the blisters may not form nicely; too late, the meat gets burned/charred.
  4. Watch to ensure that the skin has blistered evenly, so you can enjoy the crispy crackling Pork Belly! Remove it from the oven and leave it on the table to allow the meat to rest for awhile before chopping. Tip: This step lets the meat rest so that the juices don’t wet the crispy skin during chopping.
Roasted Pork Belly Recipe inside oven
Checking in on the meat’s progress! If you zoom in on the photo, you’ll see the little bubbles on the skin!

Tips for home chefs trying out this Roasted Pork Belly Recipe:

  • K has tried this recipe twice, and both times, the pork skin turned out crispy. Tried and tested!
  • If you’re wondering why some parts of the pork skin in my photos seem black, that’s because this recipe requires the marinade to be spread onto the skin and meat. Those black bits are not charred stuff, but the Five Spice Powder. Heh!
  • Other recipes use only rock salt or vinegar on the skin to dry the skin. Palates and preferences vary, so feel free to try and see what suits your tastes buds. After all, cooking is about experimenting too, right? Hehe!
  • Oh yes, we’ve not tried using the Air Fryer to recreate this Sio Bak recipe. But if you do, let me know if it works out well!
  • Feel free to pair your freshly roasted meat with mustard or chili sauce. I actually preferred it as is – it’s fab on its own without condiments. *drools*
homemade roasted pork belly
The meat was juicy and flavourful! I preferred it as is, but you may like to dip with mustard or chilli sauce too. Enjoy!

Do give this Roasted Pork Belly recipe a go! And, if you do, let me know how it turned out, okay? :D

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