Dong Po Rou

Tung Po Pork

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    6

    as Part of a Chinese Meal, or 3 as a Single Dish.

Appears in

This delicious dish is named for Su Dongpo, a famous poet, statesman, and gourmet of the Song Dynasty, a combination of talents not uncommon in Chinese history. I certainly admire him for his many culinary skills, and especially for inventing this savoury dish. Dong Po pork is a house speciality in several restaurants in Hangzhou since Su Dongpo was a governor of the city. Gentle, long, slow simmering renders the meat into a melting, buttery, tender gastronomic experience. The cut used is pork belly, referred to as “five-flowered” pork in Chinese. There seem to be many versions of this popular dish in restaurants throughout China, but my favourite is this one in which the skin is first browned; in addition, simmering the pork in a whole piece keeps the meat moist. Although this is a time-consuming preparation, it is relatively simple, and it reheats well. It is wonderful served with plain rice and stir-fried vegetables.

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Ingredients

  • 900 g1.1 kg/2-2½ lb fresh bacon
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 6 spring onions
  • 6 fresh ginger root slices
  • 125 g/4 oz rock sugar, crushed or 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 125 ml/4 fl oz dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 125 ml/4 fl oz rice wine or dry sherry
  • 125 ml/4 fl oz water

Method

Blanch the bacon in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and blot thoroughly dry with kitchen paper.

Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the oil, turn down the heat, add the fresh bacon, skin side down. Slowly brown the skin until it is golden and crispy. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the meat and wipe off any excess fat with kitchen paper.

Cut the onions into 7.5-cm/3-in pieces. In a large heavy casserole pot, combine the onions, ginger, rock sugar, the soy sauces, rice wine or sherry, water and meat together. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover tightly, and cook slowly over low heat for 3 hours or until the pork is very tender and much of the fat is rendered. Drain off the liquid, remove the onions and ginger. Skim off any surface fat. Cut the pork into thin slices, arrange on a platter, pour the sauce over and serve.

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