Crispy Pork Belly with Caramel Vinegar Sauce

In 3 little words: Crunchy, Sweet and Savoury
How's your weekend? :) I planned on hosting a nice dinner on Saturday night but the plan fell apart. Boo. I'm determine to try out the recipe for the main dish anyway so I made it for Sunday instead, which Robin was invited to test it out :)

What I love most is how well balance the taste of salty savoury pork with sweet spiced sauce and the extra bite (texture) too, crispy crunch from the pork skin contrasting with soft caramelised onion and beetroot. So many adjectives, so yummy!

This dish is a combination of advice and tips from 3 superb Aussies (coincidentally), Billy Law, Bill Granger and Donna Hay. Billy Law got me started on making homemade crispy roasted pork belly (a must-try, at least once!) and I thought I'd jazz it up a little with sauce from Bill Granger. While I flip through Donna Hay's cook book (always a saviour) for a perfect healthy side. Don't get me started on the benefits of beetroot!

Crispy Pork Belly
  • 1kg pork belly, preferably uncut in a slab
  • 1 tbs ginger, minced
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs five spice powder
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • Sea salt
  1. Rub coarse sea salt on pork belly and rinse through with running water 
  2. Optional: Blanch pork belly in boiling water. I usually boil a kettle of water and pour it over the meat, for me personally, is to rid of the strong porky-taste
  3. Pat the skin of pork belly dry with kitchen towel
  4. Mix minced ginger, garlic, five spice powder and white pepper in a small bowl and rub the marinate on the meaty part of the belly. Do not rub on skin, it's crucial to keep the skin super dry to achieve the crunchiness
  5. Cling wrap and let marinade for at least 2 hours in the fridge, or overnight
  6. Preheat oven at 220°C.  And prepare the sides. See below
  7. Line the pork belly on a baking dish with skin side up
  8. Pat the skin dry again to rid of any moisture from the fridge before pushing in to the oven. Let it roast for 20 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and randomly puncture the skin with a fork. Sprinkle sea salt on the skin and let it roast again for another 20 minutes. At this point, remember to add prepared sides to the baking tray as well. Start preparing sauce at this point
  10. Once 20 minutes is up, add another 10 minutes to the timer but this time switch the baking tray a rack higher and turn up the temperature to 250°C. Keep checking to ensure that the skin is blistering evenly and not blackened. Add more salt or puncture more holes if necessary. In any case if the skin blackens, fret not (it happened to me the first time), just use a small knife to shave it off and it'll look as crispy as ever :)
  11. Remove from oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Do not cover the baking tray as the condensation will soften the blistered skin. A big no-no
Serves 4. Tips from A Table for Two 

Onions and Beetroots
  • 2 medium-sized globe (yellow) onions, peeled
  • 2 beetroots, washed and scrubbed 
  • 1 tbs rosemary 
  • Sea salt and black peppercorns
  • Olive oil
  1. Slice onion thickly in horizontal (latitude) strokes. This way looks prettier plus the onion layers won't fall apart
  2. Trim the sprouting top of the beetroot and quarter it (vertically) leaving skin on. Take care not to stain your clothes as beetroot bleeds its natural colour once sliced
  3. Lay both onions and beetroots away from the pork belly, each taking a corner of the tray
  4. Season both with rosemary, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a slug of olive oil 
  5. See above for oven temperature and timing if cooking the sides separately
Adapted from Instant Entertaining

Final touch: Caramel, Spice, Orange and Vinegar
Caramel and Vinegar Sauce
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 4 long strips of orange peel
  1. Stir red wine vinegar, brown sugar, star anise and cinnamon over medium heat in a non-stick pan 
  2. Keep stirring until sugar dissolve completely
  3. Bring to boil and quickly lower the heat to simmer for 5 minutes
  4. Add chicken stock and simmer for another 10 minutes
  5. Once liquid has reduced slightly, pour in orange juice and orange peel
  6. Let it simmer until it's thick and syrupy
  7. Drizzle generously on each cut of the crispy pork belly and serve immediately
Adapted from Cuisine

Whew, this is a super long post alright! Especially with the added naggy reminders :) Hope it helps and wish you had as much fun reading it as I did in the kitchen (and blogging). Bon Appetit!


  1. OH MAN this looks sooooooo good.... my mouth is literally watering as I look at this at work. Need to get me some pork belly...

  2. Gorgeous! It's always nice to pair sweet with savoury food!

  3. Love crispy pork belly, esp the skin! Will that be crackling! ;p

    But I have not tried crispy pork belly with a caramel reduction like that. Must be delicious.

  4. Everything about this dish sounds fabulous! The sauce... the beets... the PORK. Yum! Perfect recipe.

  5. Wow I'm flattered to hear all your compliments! Thank you for being so encouraging :)

  6. Wow, I haven't had pork belly for a while and this one sure looks delicious, would love to have a big bowl of rice with it :-)

  7. This pork belly looks very yum.. I love how crispy the skin looks!

  8. Hi Leemei, thanks so much for dropping by! I'm such a big fan of your site :)

  9. This must be really full of flavor, Min. You combined Asian-style roast pork with Western-style vegetables plus exotic sauce! Well done! Your guests were missing out on something delicious!

  10. Hi Jun, heheh I hope they feel the same way ;)

  11. I used balsamic instead of red wine and I didn't have any anise. Still came out delicious.