Bowl-Steamed Pork Belly Recipe

Chichi Wang

Pickled chilies, preserved mustard greens, ya cai, and/or Tianjin preserved vegetables can be found in cans, jars, foil pouches, or sometimes in the refrigerated section of a good Chinese grocer.

Adapted from Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop.

Recipe Facts

Active: 45 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 pound fresh boneless pork belly, skin-on

  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce or 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons pickled chile, spicy pickled mustard green stems, or 4 bird's eyes chiles, thinly sliced (see notes)

  • 1 tablespoon dried fermented black beans

  • 1 cup Sichuanese ya cai (pickled greens) or Tianjin preserved vegetable


  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the pork to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pork from the water and rinse under cold running water. Do not discard the cooking water.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil to 350°F in a wok. Add pork, skin side down, and fry, swirling pan occasionally, over medium heat until the skin is crispy and dark brown, about 5 to 8 minutes (be careful, pork will sputter—use a splatter guard or light lid if desired). Return pork to pot of water and let soak for 15 minutes, until the skin is wrinkled. Remove the pork from the liquid and let it cool. When the pork is cool, cut it into 1/4 slices so that each piece has a strip of skin at the top.

  3. In a shallow bowl about 7 to 8 inches in diameter, lay the pork in two neat rows across the entire base of the bowl, including the sides. Each slice should overlap with the last. Every strip of skin should be touching the bowl. Lay any fragmented pieces of pork on top, then spoon the soy sauce all over the meat. Add the pickled chilies and fermented beans. Press the ya cai all over, so that it forms a cover over the meat. Press down gently to compact everything into the bowl.

  4. Place the bowl in a steamer insert, cover with a lid, and steam over medium-high heat for 2 hours, taking care that the water on the bottom doesn't dry out.

  5. To serve, pour off excess fat and moisture and place a large plate upside down over the bowl. Grasping plate and bowl firmly, invert to unmold. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be gently re-steamed.

Special equipment

wok, steamer

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
427 Calories
29g Fat
8g Carbs
32g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 427
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 108mg 36%
Sodium 774mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 88mg 7%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 497mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)