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
    March 13th, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    siu yuk …. damn nice, top with some onion/garlic oil soya sauce …

    yum yum …

  2. 2
    March 13th, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    aiyo..torture king :PPP This is what’s missing when I had my char siu noodle bowl :PP You’re one lucky devil :)

  3. 3
    March 13th, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    the part where you use a sharp knife to poke small holes on the skin is damn true… it will make the skin much much much more crispy.

  4. 4
    March 14th, 2007 at 12:52 am

    Oohh la la…Pablo..this looks real good and the recipe is simple too! :) Some recipes calls for red preserved bean curd to be rubbed on the meat.
    But yours is so easy, i’m gonna go with it! :)

  5. 5
    March 14th, 2007 at 3:15 am

    aku nak makan daging tu!

    we had that for CNY too. yum yum.

  6. 6
    March 14th, 2007 at 3:15 am

    The picture certainly looks delicious!

  7. 7
    March 14th, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Wah, I saw the char siew in melting wok, then now you….! Aiyo….
    All of you torture me only (don’t ask me to make my own leh)!
    I don’t have coarse salt. Arrh!

  8. 8
    Rasa Malaysia
    March 14th, 2007 at 9:39 am

    You orang banyak dahsyat lah…make all these siu yok lah, char siew lah, next Pablo, you have to make a roast Chicken, ala chicken rice style…Hehehe. πŸ˜›

  9. 9
    Rasa Malaysia
    March 14th, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Having said that, can I go to your MIL’s house or your house for this dish? πŸ˜‰

  10. 10
    March 14th, 2007 at 9:50 am

    wow this looks so good! i think my uncle did a variation of this. he soaked the pork belly in salt water for a couple of hours. he dried it then fried it.

  11. 11
    March 14th, 2007 at 10:46 am

    i actually poked the skin and did not layer the salt on the skin. just need to brush some vinegar over it. marinating with some chopped garlic and red fermented beancurd actually give it more ommpphh, faster go get an oven and try it yourself :p

  12. 12
    March 14th, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    This is d easiest siu-yok recipe I’ve come across todate. Aiks! I still no oven-ler. M still considering whether to get d Panasonic Inverter Microwave oven which supposedly can do everything a conventional oven can. U’ve any idea?

  13. 13
    Patricia Scarpin
    March 15th, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Wow, my husband would looooove this!

  14. 14
    March 15th, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    earl_ku : Especially those which give you the “kruk kruk” sound when you bite them πŸ˜‰

    MeltingWok : I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky. LOL! It’s easy enough to make.

    zewt : Thanks for confirming that bit πŸ˜‰

    Food-Fusion : Tell me how it turns out, ya?

    keropokman : Ini siu yok banyak demand masa CNY :)

    hcfoo : It tastes even better when you eat it! LOL!

    tigerfish : Aiks! Can’t find coarse salt at your place meh???

    RasaMalaysia : It appears to be porky season on food blogs, eh? Better go my MIL’s house because she has got that super oven and wok to deal with this piece of meat.

    mai : That is an interesting variation your uncle got.

    babe_kl : Your recipe sounds something like what Food-Fusion said.

    Samm : It won’t taste the same lah. Porky oil is an exquisite taste which cannot be replicated πŸ˜‰

    Tummythoz : I heard that it may not be as good or lasting compared to a conventional oven.

    Patricia : Make one for him :)

  15. 16
    March 17th, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Wow… absolutely mouth watering. No prizes for guessing what I’m going to eat for lunch today. The recipe looks simple too. Going to bookmark in for later when I buy an oven.

  16. 17
    March 26th, 2007 at 11:58 am

    and ar, the fats must be melting wan … CUN!

  17. 18
    July 26th, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Wow…never thought it was so easy to make roast pork, I thought there were complicated steps in making it and therefore have not attempted it before. Now after reading your instructions, hehe, will prob try it. Thanks :)

  18. 19
    August 18th, 2007 at 4:15 am

    Hi! I tried your Chinese Roast Pork recipe last weekend. My Malaysian friend confirmed that it tests delicious and likes from stalls around in KL. It is really simple to make! Thanks for the great recipe.

  19. 20
    August 21st, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    AC : You can roast loads and it would be much cheaper than outside. Heh! Heh!

    earl_ku : Slurp!

    BN : Yes, it is as easy as it sounds. A tried and tested recipe πŸ˜€

    Jin : I am glad that it turned out well. Thanks for the feedback.

  20. 21
    September 4th, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Hi pablo,
    Do you have any recipes on char siew?

  21. 22
    September 7th, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    BN : Not at the moment. A google search should turn up a few results πŸ˜‰

  22. 23
    September 10th, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Pablo,
    Just want to let u know that I tried your recipe on 1/2kg siew yuk on the weekend and it turned out well. The only think I was not happy was i overbaked the siew yuk in the oven (so the meat was a bit tough) cos I forgot to poke the skin of the siew yuk and it took forever to get crispy and all the while I was thinking how come it can get crispy(like the ones we buy) By the time I remembered it, the siew yuk already 1 hour in the oven(after removing the coarse salt). But overall my hubby was happy with the siew yuk…will try to further improve on it.

    Oh ya I did marinate it with preserved beancurd and also garlic overnight but the taste wasn’t that overpowering as originally thought. Quite well balanced instead :)

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!

  23. 24
    September 14th, 2007 at 11:38 am

    BN : I am glad you tried it out and modified it by adding preserved beancurd and garlic. Yes, the poking of the skin is very important as it allows the fat to ooze out easily. Try it again and before long, you’ll be a siew yuk expert soon! πŸ˜€

  24. 25
    christine subrata
    December 26th, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    This is just exactly the recipe I need to try since the price of roast pork here is so expensive. Thanks a lot.

  25. 26
    January 20th, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Thanks for sharing..i missed ‘Siu Yuk’ so much!! Planned to make some later..haha!! Hopefully i won’t failed this time with the recipe!!

  26. 27
    Kiam Si Ah!!
    January 28th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    This looks awesome! Too bad I shouldn’t be eating pork anymore. Sob sob…

  27. 28
    January 30th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    kiam : Why can’t you eat pork anymore?

  28. 29
    Kiam Si Ah!!
    February 2nd, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I have allergy to pork!!

  29. 30
    March 10th, 2008 at 2:20 am

    wah lau eh… all you guys really makes me feel shame as a woman… anyway i’m here just wanna thank you for this chinese roast pork… (my bf loves roast pork very very much) last week i just made sushi for my bf… so i’m thinking this will be my next meal for him…. oh is next next meal… bcoz next meal will be tempura… well… all of you guys, pls… just wish him luck. n i’m just d beginner in cooking. oh b4 i forgot… thank you (you) pablopabla for all this recipe.

  30. 31
    March 11th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    winnie : Hope the roast pork turns out great πŸ˜€ Your bf will propose to you immediately πŸ˜€

  31. 32
    March 22nd, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    I cooked this but added a little garlic salt as well andscored the rind really well, lots of cross hatching and then cooked it in the barbecue, covered on a rack. on high. until the rind was all crunchy. It was SOOOOOO good. Esperance WA.

  32. 33
    March 24th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Linda : I am glad you went further and experimented with the garlic salt. I am sure it must have tasted great. Thanks for the feedback πŸ˜€

  33. 34
    March 26th, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    thanks for the recipe! i have tried making it (but instead of rock salt i used fine salt) and the skin isnt crispy… i ll try again with rock salt =D that’s my uber favourite food – yer have been crazing for good malaysian food every night in melbourne =(

  34. 35
    March 27th, 2008 at 10:00 am

    lasilasi : Tell me if it works better with rock salt, ya?

  35. 36
    May 20th, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Put some white vinegar on top of the pig belly and let it dry up in the fridge. Guarantee the skin will be crispy.

  36. 37
    May 23rd, 2008 at 10:39 am

    foodlover : Thanks for your tips πŸ˜€

  37. 38
    June 29th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Tried this recipe yesterday, pricked skin as suggested but skin didn’t crisp until I put it under the grill in the oven and it worked magic. I do like a spicier taste so I’ll tweak the seasoning a bit next time. Thanks for a great recipe tho!

  38. 39
    July 4th, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    assamfan : Yes, you may need to tweak it a little to suit your taste and placing it under the grill can do wonders as well πŸ˜€

  39. 40
    shieng yee
    August 15th, 2008 at 2:36 am

    siu yuk!!!!!!!! my love!!! thanks for the recipe!!!

  40. 41
    August 16th, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    I tried this recipe and its quite a success.. but instead i cut lines into the pork skin and added carrot,celery and onion under the pork. sort of like a bed of vegetables to make it more aromatic and later you can eat the vegetables which is already nice bcos of the oil and juice of the pork….just try it !!!

  41. 42
    August 19th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Porknatic : That’s an interesting variation you have πŸ˜€

  42. 43
    August 21st, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    I tried to cook this as well.. it looked alright… but the skin was as hard as a rock. any remedy for that?

  43. 44
    August 22nd, 2008 at 11:11 am

    eugene : Did you prick the skin prior to roasting?

  44. 45
    August 31st, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    We have something like this in the Philippines. We call it lechon kawali. I like to boil the pork belly with peppercorns, laurel leaf, and salt. Afterwards I put it in the turbo broiler to make the fat come out, making the skin crispy. After it cools down, when it is time to serve, fry it in the wok to make the skin extra crispy. The water used in boiling the pork belly can be used as the base to mee sua soup. :)

  45. 46
    September 10th, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Hi. I’d like to try out this recipe. Siu yok is my fav. What is five spice btw?

  46. 47
    October 17th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Pablo – thanks for the recipe. I’m new to your blog and lurve it! Tried this sio bak recipe and it took me almost all afternoon and still no crispy skin. After many (many) hours, I got fed up, removed it from the oven, chopped it into smaller sections and moved it up to the grill. Voila!! The meat was juicy (probably from the slow cooking all afternoon) and the skin was great. (Note to self – read ‘comments’ for troubleshooting).

  47. 48
    October 21st, 2008 at 5:42 am

    What a great site! I stumbled upon this while looking for a siobak recipe. Cooked this yesterday and it turned out great. Used coarse salt ( well salt.. great combination,huh?) on the skin and it turned out real crispy – tho I had to turn on the grill towards the end. My other half who is Jewish simply LOVED it. ( I’m sure I’ll go to hell for this!)
    Thank you and I will try your other recipes.

  48. 49
    Lotus Flower
    October 29th, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Well,I learned Chinese cooking at the age of 10.
    I enjoy creating my own style of chinese cooking,
    I am now cooking for whatever fresh menu with fruit
    which I prefer to add on.
    I try your roast pork with Shau Hin Wine, it tastes
    much better. Yummy πŸ˜›

  49. 50
    October 30th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    I have tried this yesterday. It was really good! :) Thanks for sharing!

  50. 51
    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.

  51. 52
    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…

  52. 53
    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!

  53. 54
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

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

    Nice blog, keep your work.

  54. 55
    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

  55. 56
    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.

  56. 57
    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

  57. 58
    June 19th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

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

  58. 59
    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

  59. 60
    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….

  60. 61
    Elsie Hui
    January 25th, 2012 at 1:59 am

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

  61. 63
    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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