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Red-Braised Pork (Hong Shao Rou)

Red Brasied Pork, Chinese pork belly. Shanghainese pork belly
Red-Braised Pork

Red-braised pork belly is a traditional pork dish in China, with each region boasting its version of the recipe.

Families in Eastern China or the Yangtze Delta area are known for their generosity in cooking soy sauce-braised dishes. These dishes are typically thick, rich, and dark with a saucy texture. The classic flavor from this region is known as 'nong you chi jiang' (浓油赤酱). One of the best examples of this timeless flavor is red-braised pork.


I typically use larger pork cubes for this recipe, around 1 to 1 ½ inches in size. To cut down on cooking time, I opt for ½ to ¾-inch cubes of pork, which can also be purchased pre-cut.



  1. Soak pork cubes in water in the refrigerator overnight. Rinse the pork and pat dry before cooking.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a wok or a large pot. When the oil is hot, sear pork over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until slightly browned.

3. Add 2 ½ Tbsp light soy sauce, 2 ½ Tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 Tbsp cooking wine, 4 slices ginger, 2 scallions, 2 star anise, 2 bay leaves and ¼ cup of rock sugar. Add water to the wok/pot, covering ¾ of the pork.

4. Bring the pot to a boil. Cover and simmer pork for 45 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir the pork frequently while simmering. Watch the water level. If you like a melty texture, simmer for 1 hour.

5. Uncover the wok and remove the scallions and ginger. Increase the heat to medium-high. Slowly stir the pork while the sauce is reduced.

6. When the sauce thickens and coats the pork, remove it from the heat. Serve hot with plain rice.

shanghainese braised pork, pork belly


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