Fragrant pork

Among the cheapest cuts of meat on the market is belly pork (called bacon piece in the USA). In China it is known as ‘five flowers meat’ because when viewed in cross-section the alternate layers of fat and meat form a pretty pink and white pattern. If you cook this dish in a fairly large quantity it can be served at a number of meals, or the leftovers can be used in other dishes such as Yangchow fried rice, or stir-fried ten varieties.

2 lb (900 g) belly pork
1-2 spring onions
2-3 pieces fresh ginger root
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Five Spice powder
3 tbsp Chinese rice wine or sherry
3 tbsp crystallized (or rock) sugar
5 tbsp soy sauce (2 of dark and 3 of light)
lettuce or cabbage leaves for garnish


If you bought the pork in one or two big pieces, cut it into large chunks about 6 in x 3 in (150 mm x 75 mm). Place it in a large saucepan with the spring onions, ginger root, salt, Five Spice powder, wine, sugar, soy sauce, and just enough cold water to cover. Bring it to a rolling boil, and keep the heat fairly high for about 2 hours, adding a little water now and again to keep it from drying out, but otherwise keeping the lid firmly closed so that the meat juices do not seep out.

To serve, remove the meat from the sauce, cut it into thin slices rather like rashers of bacon, and serve it on a bed of lettuce leaves or cooked cabbage. The sauce can be stored and re-used for cooking other meat or chicken.

© Deh-Ta Hsiung and reproduced with his kind permission.