Strips of marinated pork belly are braised in soy sauce with star anise, cinnamon, shallots, garlic and sugar. The tender pork, with its thick sauce, is served over rice with egg and pickled vegetable on the side.
It’s a gaifan dish, uncomplicated and inexpensive, likely brought by Chinese immigrants to Taiwan. In northern Taiwan where pork belly is used, it is called khong bah png. In the south where minced (ground pork) is preferred, it is called lu rou fan.
We’ve made both variants at home. While lu rou fan requires less work and a much shorter cooking time, I have to admit that braised pork belly is infinitely more satisfying than its minced meat counterpart.
And just what makes khong bah png more difficult to cook? Not exactly more difficult. There’s just the additional step of cutting the pork belly into strips and the extra time to marinate the meat.
Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly RiceRecipe by
Pork and marinade
- 500 grams skin-on pork belly cut into half-inch slices then cut into half-inch strips
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 6 shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 4 eggs hard-boiled and peeled
- Place the pork belly in a bowl, pour in the Shaoxing rice wine and soy sauce, mix well and leave to marinate for half an hour.
- In a wok or frying pan, heat the cooking oil.
- Spread the shallot slices in the hot oil and cook, stirring occasionally, just until starting to brown.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for half a minute.
- Push the shallots and garlic on one side of the pan and spread the marinated pork in the hot oil.
- Leave for half a minute then stir everything together. Cook until the pork belly is starting to brown along the edges.
- Pour in the rice wine and soy sauce.
- Add the cinnamon stick and star anise.
- Pour in two cups water and stir in the sugar.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until the pork is tender.
- Turn up the heat to medium.
- Stir in the shiitake and hard-boiled eggs.
- Cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thick and sticky.