roast pork

My mother-in-law made some chinese roast pork when we were in Kuching for the Chinese New Year. Chinese roast pork here refers to siew yuk (in cantonese) or sio bak (in hokkien). With a crispy crackling roasted skin and semi-tender meat, you can be assured of spoonfuls after spoonfuls of rice to go with it. No wonder I put on weight over Chinese New Year!

roast pork salt

In Malaysia, there are many roast pork rice stalls around. It is very popular. A plate of white / fragrant rice with a few cuts of these roast pork and a couple of pieces of sliced cucumbers can cost about USD1.00 on the average depending where you go to. Very cheap, right? Absolutely.


This is my mother-in-law’s recipe for Chinese Roast Pork and the measurements are approximate only because she cooks it more by feel than using a strict recipe to follow.





  • 1 piece of pork belly weighing approximately 1 kg
  • 3 tablespoons of coarse / rock salt
  • 2 tablespoons of fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon of five-spice powder




Clean pork belly and pat dry with kitchen towel. Rub fine salt and five-spice powder on meat. Rub coarse salt on skin.


Heat up oven at gas mark 4 (about 180 degrees celcius). Place pork belly on a rack with a tray underneath to catch dripping oil. Roast the pork belly for at least 30 minutes and until the coarse salt crystalises just like in the picture above.


Remove the salt crystals and continue to roast till the skin is crispy. (Alternatively, what my mother-in-law did was to remove the pork belly and fry the pork belly in a wok with skin-downwards and without oil on medium heat till the skin turned crispy)


I have heard of some of the chinese roast pork recipe which called for the pork belly skin to be poked with a sharp knife so as to enable the fat to ooze out faster during roasting. You can try this additional step as well prior to rubbing the coarse salt.


Cut into small bite sizes prior to serving.

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  1. 1
    December 26th, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Thank you very much for the recipe. I’ve tried 2 times and it turned out really nice. I’m now staying in Beijing, with this recipe it makes me feel happy & comfortable here although I could only go back once a year for the CNY. Thanks again.

  2. 2
    February 4th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    If you want to make the pork skin more crispy better you poke it with small knife or fork then rub it with baking soda, vinegar & salt, aft that bake it until the skin get blistered and for the final touch…pour the skin with hot cooking oil…

  3. 3
    February 28th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I have tried your approach, but the skin is too salty. This is my ‘secret’:
    1. Score skin with sharp knife.
    2. *Caution* Pour hot water over the pork skin. Skin will shrink a little. Drain and dab pork until touch dry.
    3. Coat and rub the pork meat and skin with 5 spice powder.
    4. Sprinkle fine salt onto skin and rub into the cuts made by scoring the meat (see step 1). [You can also mix 2 tsp of salt + 1 tsp 5 spice with 1 tsp of cooking oil and spread on skin with a cooking brush].
    5. Preheat oven to gas mark 8 (lucky 8: yes!).
    6. Cook pork in top portion of oven for 30-40 min, then turn heat down to gas mark 5 for another 30 min.
    7. Finish skin off (if necessary) under the grill AT LOW HEAT (otherwise it will burn!)

    Instead of step 2- A variation to this is to allow pork skin to dry in the fridge overnight after rubbed with salt + meat seasoned with 5 spice powder (with it uncovered) and skip the hot water step.

    Good luck!

  4. 4
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Siew yuk, I like it.
    But my girlfriend hates this delicious food…

    Nice blog, keep your work.

  5. 5
    April 27th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    superb website.
    im just a student overseas so i miss msian food!

    for this recipe, will it be ok if i just have a mini oven/toaster rather than the big oven?
    well im just cooking for myself and trial n error.
    appreciate itthanks

  6. 6
    April 28th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    aricka : No, I’m afraid using a mini oven / toaster would not be sufficient. You won’t be able to make the mini oven / toaster continue roasting for up to 30 minutes as it will automatically cool down.

  7. 7
    April 28th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    thanks for the reply, but as for the mini oven/toaster it has a function of grilling too? and that wont be enough? really wanna try some home food! great blog

  8. 8
    June 19th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Your blog so inspiring.. esp for noob cook like me.. hehe.. makes cooking easy n nice ya~

  9. 9
    July 9th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I have been making roast port for quite a while and I have always been wondering why do ppl coat the skin with a layer of coarse salt when roasting? For taste? Can anyone shed some light here? Yet I have been doing it all this while. LOL

  10. 10
    April 29th, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you for posting this receipe, it made my first attempt sucessful! Skin was crispy, and i did add the red bean curd, garlic, meat was tasty. However, i did not get to use the coarse salt, instead, I used medium salt, about 3 tablespoon ( since I was using the bean curd which was salty.)
    I have 2 question: how do I get more “bubbles ” on the skin?
    The skin became less crispy after about 2 hours… is it possible at all to sustain the crisp? if yes, how ?
    Thanks again, for letting me suceed in making my very first chinese roast pork….

  11. 11
    Elsie Hui
    January 25th, 2012 at 1:59 am

    This is an amazing looking recipe! I will have to try it! Yum yum yum!

  12. 13
    February 21st, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Tried it two times with some slight variations and the family loved it. The crispy skin was simply delightful. Thanks for a fantastic recipe. Having roast pork again tonight.


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