Pork Belly with Watermelon, Witlof and Sherry Caramel

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as an Entrée

Appears in

Mr Hong

By Dan Hong

Published 2014

  • About

This was a classic entrée at Lotus and one of the simplest. In my opinion, pork belly and watermelon is a perfect combination. The freshness and juiciness of the melon works well to cut the fatty richness of the pork belly. Add the bitterness of witlof, and it balances out the sweetness of the melon and sherry caramel.


  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) piece pork belly
  • 5 litres (175 fl oz/20 cups) Chinese masterstock (Essentials)

Sherry Vinegar Caramel

  • 210 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

You Will Also Need

  • ½ seedless watermelon, flesh only
  • 1 witlof (chicory)
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil, to dress


To prepare the pork belly, follow the braised pork belly method.

When cold and pressed, cut the pork belly into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes, allowing for 3–4 cubes per person. You may have some left over, but that’s not such a bad thing.

Sherry Vinegar Caramel

Put a small plate in the freezer. Add the sugar, salt and tablespoons water to a small saucepan over a high heat. Resist the urge to stir as the sugar melts. When the mixture starts to caramelise (about 185°C/365°F on a sugar thermometer), carefully pour in the sherry vinegar. If the mixture is too thin, bring it back to the boil, as it may need a little reducing. To test if the caramel is done, remove the plate from the freezer and spoon a small amount of the caramel onto it. After some seconds, the caramel should become the consistency of honey.

To Serve

Slice the watermelon into 1 cm (½ inch) pieces. Cut these into isosceles, or long triangles. Separate the witlof into individual leaves. Wash them and halve each lengthways.

Fill a large heavy-based saucepan or deep-fryer one-third full with oil and heat to 180°C (350°F) or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the pork belly cubes in batches for about 4 minutes until golden, caramelised and crisp. Drain on paper towels then put all the pieces in a bowl. Spoon a few tablespoons of sherry caramel over the top and give it a stir to ensure the pieces are evenly coated.

Divide the pieces of pork among six plates. Dress the watermelon slices with a little lemon juice and lean a few pieces up against the pork. Dress the witlof leaves in a little lemon juice, olive oil and salt and arrange a few of these around the plates. Serve it up.