kruizing with kikukat

Monday, September 24, 2012

Looking for a Heart Attack: Dongpo Pork

This past week at work seemed very busy, albeit much less dramatic than the previous week.  Thats good on one hand, but on the other hand, all that trouble making was never resolved.  I feel for Uncle, but he needs to get a handle on things and step it up if he wants to be respected.  I don't get paid to be Uncle's keeper, but I am enjoying the entertainment aspect.

By the time this post hits the net, there will be less than 5 days of work before Fall Intersession.  Yay!!!  I need to take D1 to the doctor for a follow up visit (from her recent bout with walking pneumonia), and I was also hoping to squeeze in a facial w/Jennifer.  I have 2 brisket flats taking up space in my freezer, so I'm going to tell The Help to fire up the kamado.  I also hope to bake some Halloween-themed cookies and try out my new tart pans.  I'm thinking about all the high-fat high-flavor foods I could make, and as I'm running through the list, I realize its been a long time since I've had some good pork belly.

I really love pork belly, but I can't have it too often.  Every four months or so, I go to the doctor so she can be sure I'm being a good girl and working hard to bring down my cholesterol.  My efforts have been paying off because within the last year, I've managed to bring it down by 20 just by watching what I eat and walking on the treadmill daily.  Unfortunately, that tells my doctor that I can control my cholesterol on my own and don't need to be put on meds to bring it down.  Some of you might be thinking this is a good thing, and I guess it is, but if you are like me and love cholesterol (pork belly, chicken skin, crispy bacon, etc.), a pill that allows you to eat taboo food without repercussions doesn't sound like a bad thing at all.  Bring me a tall glass of Lipitor with my pork rinds, please.

When it comes to pork, the Chinese have got it going on.  I have a hard time going to Leung's Chop Suey House and not having kau yuk as part of my 2-choice plate.  I love how the meat just falls apart and the fat melts in your mouth.  The kau yuk at Hilo Rice Noodle is similar to the kau yuk I've had in Honolulu (I recall Hee Hing making the best), which is similar to Dongpo Pork.

Like Dongpo Pork, Honolulu kau yuk is brown (kau yuk in Hilo is almost always red).  I spend a lot of my time checking out blogs, and many Chinese food blogs somehow find a way to blog about Dongpo Pork.  Some bloggers describe almost an other-worldly experience when eating Dongpo Pork.  I hope I live long enough to try real Dongpo Pork ("real" meaning not made by me).  I will definitely need to take a day-long plane ride to accomplish this, as I have never seen Dongpo Pork on any Chinese restaurant menu anywhere in the 50th state.  I'm guessing its because real Dongpo Pork takes a long time to cook, and many Chinese restaurants in Hawaii do lots of business with "fast food" and take out service.  Since going somewhere with real Dongpo Pork is not a realistic options now, I had to make my own. 

Dongpo Pork is not hard to make, but you need to be willing to go through the trouble tying the meat in packages (see above pic).  The reason for the tying is to keep the meat intact.  Because the meat is cooked for so long, the meat and fat will eventually separate.  The string holds it all together.  And no, you don't eat the string!  Dongpo Pork is cooked for a long time at a low temperature.  While that sounds easy to do, careful monitoring to avoid burning is required.  Thats it!

The ingredients are all fairly easy to find.  If you can't find shaoxing wine, sherry can be substituted.  Rock sugar may be hard to find, but its sometimes labeled "rock candy", and most asian stores (yes, like the Chinese store) will sell it.  I've included a pic of the box and the product.  You may need a hammer to break up large chunks of the sugar.  You may also need a quadruple bypass if you eat this too often. . .just saying.

 click on recipe title for printable recipe
Dongpo Pork

     2 1/2 lbs pork belly
     1/4 c light soy sauce
     1/4 c dark soy sauce
     1/2 c shaoxing wine
     4 oz rock sugar
     1 piece ginger, sliced
     3 stalks green onions, knotted
     1 star anise
     2 c water
Slice pork into 1 1/2" wide strips.  Cook pork in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Rinse well.  Cut pork strips into 1 1/2" cubes, being careful to include a skin on each piece.  Tie each piece with string.  In a heavy pot, combine all remaining ingredients.  Add pork cubes and simmer for 2 hours, carefully turning pork periodically so all sides cook in the sauce.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. Its very easy to make...just takes time to simmer the pork. Thank you for visiting.