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East & West Style Crispy Roast Pork Recipe

Before pursuing his education, Nigel was a cook for two years in several restaurants specializing in Malaysian and international cuisine.

The Final Product

The Final Product

Crispy Roast Pork (or "Siu Yuk" in Cantonese) is a traditional Cantonese-style method of preparing pork belly, with a crispy layer of skin up top and it is often served on a bed of fragrant rice.

In Malaysia, there is a large Cantonese community here, hence, this method of Roasting Pork is one of the most popular in the country after Char Siew (BBQ pork).

When do we eat it?

Roast Pork is quite versatile in Cantonese Cuisine as it could be served in Wedding Banquets or even just for lunch.

Typically in Malaysia, Crispy Roast Pork is commonly eaten in stalls that sell Chicken Rice, as part of the trio of roasts which are, Roast Chicken, Roast Pork and Char Siu (Barbequed pork).

A Chicken rice stall in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown.

A Chicken rice stall in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown.

What are the East & West elements in this?

Before i make this introduction too long, i should give you an explanation on why is this Roast Pork Recipe, "East & West" inspired.

Well, the secret behind it, is to use the combination of Chinese Five Spice blend, which consist of, Star Anise, Clove, Chinese Cinnamon, Sichuan Pepper and Fennel Seeds

together with the combination of Cajun Spice blend which has Paprika, Salt, White & Black Pepper, Onion powder, cayenne, dried thyme and dried oregano.

List of ingredients in each of the spices

East blend of spices and West blend of spices

Chinese Five Spice Blend (East) Cajun Seasoning (West)

Chinese Cinnamon


Dried Oregano

Star Anise


Dried Thyme

Sichuan Pepper






Fennel Seeds


Onion Powder






Black & White pepper

The ingredients to making the Roast pork

The ingredients to making the Roast pork

Before We Start


First things first, you'll need to find a pork belly cut that is not too fatty, you need something that has more meat than fat ratio.

Why? because majority of a pork belly is fat, even if you find the leanest cut of pork belly, you will still get a good amount of fat you will need for this recipe.

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Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

24 hours

1 hour

25 hours

Serves 3-4 people


For the pork belly marinade:

  • 500 grams/ 1.1 lbs. pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning

For the vinegar mixture:

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar


  1. First, you'll need to make the marinade for the pork belly, adding the salt, chinese cooking wine, sugar, white pepper, five spice and cajun seasoning to the mix.
  2. Secondly, after making the marinade, make a few flash cuts at the meat side for the marinade, cut only about half an inch deep and about 1 cm/centimeter apart. Be sure not to cut too deep or the fat and the skin will break.
  3. Before applying the marinade, poke some small holes at the skin using either a few forks or a meat tenderizer. Be sure not to poke too hard, just be gentle with it. HACK: You can use a few bamboo skewers to poke the holes with similar effect to a tenderizer if you do not have one.
  4. Apply the marinade to the meat side, make sure to cover the meat but at the same time do not let the marinade touch the pork skin.
  5. In this step, use an aluminum foil and create a box the size of your pork belly and leave 1 inch of space for the salt to sit on, this is to cover the bottom of the pork belly during the drying process and making sure the skin dries properly free from the excess salt.
  6. Apply the vinegar mixture to the skin of the pork using a brush and cover the whole area of the pork belly skin.
  7. After applying the mixture, cover the skin of the pork with coarse salt, this is to absorb moisture during the drying process.
  8. Put the pork belly in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours (the longer the better as the skin will be dryer). You want a dry skin before putting it into the oven.
  9. After 12-24 hours, remove the pork belly from the fridge and let it sit for about 15 minutes to get room temperature.
  10. Once room temperature is achieved, set your oven at 400°F or 200°C for 40 minutes. Do not remove the salt layer yet, as it will help to keep the skin dry in the oven.
  11. After the 40 minutes is up, remove the salt layer from the skin. The pork belly is basically cooked, but you wont see the crispy skin yet. Fret not! the next step is the key.
  12. After removing the salt layer, set your oven up to broil and broil the meat for another 20 minutes, this is to get that crispy layer of skin.
  13. Once done, you can chop it up and serve, enjoy!

What You Should Get

The aftermath of cooking

The aftermath of cooking

Here's a video on the process of a Crispy Roast Pork by user, Qian Hao Chai.

What's Chinese Five Spice? And Where To Get It?

What goes into a five spice powder

What goes into a five spice powder

Chinese five spice can be used in many other Chinese dishes besides Roast Pork, its used in dishes such as five spice pork roll or "Lobak".

Chinese Five Spice consists of Chinese Cinnamon, Star Anise, Sichuan Pepper, Cloves and Fennel Seeds. These 5 spices are blended into a powder form and it has a sweet but spiced up aroma.

Where can you get this spice? you can get it in the blended powder version in an Asian supermarket near you, but you can make if yourself as well, just remember not to use the same grinder for coffee grinding.

Cooking Notes

- Five spice powder flavor will be stronger even when you just add half a teaspoon, therefore, if you like a smokier flavor, put more cajun seasoning.

- The salt layer on the skin gave the skin a slightly salty flavor when eating, but at the same time, it was not too salty.

-You are looking for a tender, flavorful and juicy pork and crispy skin, just let the oven do the work, do not move the pork belly around too much while it is cooking as it will affect the cook time of the pork belly.

What do you think of this recipe?

© 2020 Nigel Koay

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