kong bak


What is Kong Bak? I suppose you can generally call it Pork Belly Slices in Dark Sauce. What sets it apart is that it is wedged between a bun called Ho Hup Pau (Pau meaning Bun) and eaten just like a kebab. Simcooks has been pestering (reminding, ahem!) me for this recipe. She has a good looking pork belly recipe but my family method of cooking is different. There are actually 3 steps to cooking this dish.


belly pork


The first step involves “blanching” the pork belly in boiling water for approximately 30 seconds. This will make the meat slightly cooked on the outer side and makes it firm. Otherwise, it is rather wobbly. I think it also removes a bit of unpleasant “porky” smell or taste.


kong bak marinade

The next step is to prick the pork belly skin with the pointed end of a knife. A fork won’t do unless you’ve got a really sharp fork. Prick it just like how you would prick the skin of a potato. After pricking the skin, fry the whole piece of pork belly for about 20 seconds on each side (skin side and meat side). Then slice the pork belly before marinating it and followed by steaming.


kong bak pau


It all sounds like an awful lot of work to do but trust me, it is actually VERY SIMPLE. And you will absolutely love it to bits as long as you don’t mind the smooth as silk fat and meat melting in your mouth as your chomp on the sweet-tasting bun. I am not kidding, the fat can actually melt in the mouth! We had this for Chinese New Year’s Eve and breakfast the next day. Superlicious! Oh by the way, you can get the buns from the cold storage section of bigger supermarkets.

This is my family recipe for Kong Bak with Ho Hup Pau


  • 1 kg of pork belly (approximately 1 feet long x 3 inches wide) – cut into 2 pieces for ease of blanching and frying
  • 20 pieces of chinese dried mushrooms (pre-soaked till soft, remove stalk)
  • Water for blanching
  • Oil for frying (semi-deep frying)


  • 5 tablespoons dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper powder
  • 2 teaspoons five spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chinese cooking wine
  • 3 to 5 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 to 8 pieces of star anise
  • 2 whole bulbs of garlic


Bring water to boil in wok or pot and blanch the pork belly for approximately 30 seconds. You will notice that the meat is slightly cooked and the skin is slightly toughened. Remove from water and drain. Prick the skin with the sharp end of a knife or sharp fork.


Next, heat up oil in wok and fry the pork belly 20 seconds on each side (skin side and meat side). Remove and place on a rack for to cool and to let excess oil drip. You will notice that the meat and skin is now slightly browned and the whole piece of pork belly is slightly firm.


Cut the pork belly into 1 to 1.5cm-width slices. Place the pork belly slices together with mushrooms in a suitable container and marinade them with the marinate above for at least 2 hours or longer.


After marinating, arrange the pork belly slices on a tray (suitable for steaming) and pour all the marinade over it. Steam it for at least 1 1/2 hours.


To serve, steam to heat up the buns. Prise open the bun just like a kebab bun and place a slice of the kong bak (belly slices) and mushroom into the bun. Savour the most delicious pork belly slice you’ll ever find! I’m drooling just writing about this!

Technorati Tags: pork, bun, recipe, chinese, belly

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  1. 1
    March 6th, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Lucky I am chomping on a vegetarian curry puff dip in chili sauce when I read this or else habis my vege puasa for the season of Lent. You devil! LOL.

  2. 2
    March 6th, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Eh, if you cannot make it to the official gathering, pop by late in the evening lah since we are going to be there till 11 pm. Gate crash a bit?

  3. 3
    March 6th, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    eh … the pork preparation is very similiar like what my dad did to the “kau yuk”

    you can use those bamboo toothpick, those sharp sharp ones grab a few, then start poking it, this is done after poaching the pork in water …

  4. 4
    March 6th, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    eh actually the steps in preparing the pork is exactly similiar, but the marinating part uses the “nam yue” and lots of garlic and onions, some chinese wine … then steam also …

  5. 5
    March 6th, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Hehe… Finally your recipe is out πŸ™‚ Thanks πŸ™‚
    I am currently back to the US and will be re-opening SimCooks Kitchen soon. Will check out this recipe again soon. My mom’s version does not have mushrooms.

  6. 6
    March 7th, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Kong-Bakulous! And you had this for breakfast πŸ˜€ We do too (last time). Been ages since we’ve had it. Now, only can see but cannot eat.

  7. 7
    March 7th, 2007 at 10:21 am

    I’ve got a batch of pita bread sitting in the freezer. Think it’s a good idea to slot some of those sinful porkilicious in them?

  8. 8
    March 7th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    lilian : My cell meeting finish late lah…somemore, my place is about 25km from Federal Hotel. I really don’t think I can make it…perhaps can only go there to help the waiters clean up πŸ˜‰ LOL!

    earl_ku : The kau yuk recipe is slightly different from this. But I am sure it is also a great tasting πŸ™‚

    simcooks : Been waiting for your kitchen to open. LOL! Oh, the mushrooms are “add-ons” to compliment the pork. It goes well together actually.

    tigerfish : If you can find the ingredients, try it. You (and your guests) will be pretty pleased πŸ™‚

    tummythoz : Hmm…pita might be a bit too dry and tough / chewy in texture compared to the paus above. No harm trying, of course. Tell me if you do try, ya?

  9. 9
    March 7th, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    OMG!! Need a bucket.. I am salivating like a mad dog! Yummy!!!!!!

  10. 10
    March 8th, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    aiyo… just look at the meat!!! makes me hungry.

    i usually like to eat the meat and without the pao. haha…

  11. 11
    March 8th, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Certainly look very delicious. I’m sure my family will love this. Imagine the sauce dripping from the bun. This dish is great with steamed rice too.

  12. 12
    March 9th, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Oh my god…does that look sinfully good or what? πŸ™‚

    I saw your blog at the Jom Makan community and man..that pic of Kong Bak just blew me away. It reminds me of my grandmother’s Tau Yew Bak, with lotsa, lotsa fatty pork belly!


  13. 13
    March 9th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Ann : I salivated like crazy too when the meat was steaming in the wok! The aroma was irresistable!

    keropokman : Wah! Very greedy leh…eat meat don’t want pau πŸ˜‰

    Suanne : I think it may be a bit of a waste eating it with rice. Somehow, the way it is cut and cooked blends with the pau. I am just drooling thinking about this dish again πŸ˜›

    Food-Fusion : Oh yes, the fat is the highlight!

  14. 14
    March 10th, 2007 at 6:48 am

    I made the dish using your recipe and it came out great. Added some tofu and ginger and scallion to the dish and it was yummylicious. Even my boyfriend likes it and he doesnt like a lot of authentic Chinese food. (Americans are too used to the polynesian food here.)Found some mantou in the Asian grocery and substituted that for the Ho Hup Pau. I have to substitute a lot of things since we dont get everything here. Thanks for the recipe. Keep up the good job!

  15. 15
    March 11th, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Wow! Tried your recipe today and it was delicious. Definitely a keeper and a party dish for everybody! Thanks!

  16. 16
    March 12th, 2007 at 10:39 am

    reeseboston : Glad you tried it out and experimented with it πŸ˜‰ However, if at all possible, keep to this recipe because it is actually very unique in taste. The ginger actually spoils the taste a bit. But heck! As long as you like it, why not, eh? Thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

    may : Actually, I am amazed that people actually take the trouble to try my recipes. Thanks for trying it out and I am glad you liked it!

  17. 17
    April 6th, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Hunting the website for this recipe. Haven’t had it with mushrooms but will try this. Looks really good.

  18. 18
    May 8th, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Do you have the recipe for the ‘Ho Hup Pau’ to go with the Kong Bak ???


  19. 19
    May 8th, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Tango : My mum used to make them many years back but I think she might have lost the recipe already. I need to check with her πŸ˜€

  20. 20
    May 16th, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Just wondering if you have checked with your mum for the ‘Ho Hup Pau’ yet ??



  21. 21
    May 20th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Tango : I am afraid she has misplaced the recipe. You might need to google for it. Sorry.

  22. 22
    September 19th, 2008 at 12:58 am


    Recently, I was watching Martha Stewart show and came across a chef that made the Pork belly Pau.
    Tango, if you are still looking for the recipe. You may want to check out this website.

    Lin in Edmonton, Canada

  23. 23
    September 20th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Tried this out today… but i had a big big big problem… the pig skin still had hair and i didn’t know how to remove it… this resulted in me removing the skins cause i really can’t imagine eating the hair…. does this mean that all the while i have been eating pig hair with my Kong Bak???

  24. 24
    September 20th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    mandy : You can either use a tweezer to pluck the hair out or use a lighter’s flame to burn off the hair. Alternatively, ask your butcher to do it for you. I would think that all these while, you have been eating Kong Bak without the hair. That’s a better imagination to have. πŸ˜€

  25. 25
    sporean in los angeles
    November 30th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I followed your recipe today and it worked out great! The kong bak was delicious. I ate it with porridge, not buns. I had some difficulty cutting it into neat 1.5-cm strips, so I cut some into bigger chunks, and the pork turned out OK that way too. I didn’t think the mushrooms added much flavor to the gravy though, so I think I will skip the mushrooms next time.


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