- 500g piece pork belly, centre cut (see vid for explanation)
- ½ tsp 5-spice powder (I have a recipe for this one the website, or you can buy)
- ¼ tsp white pepper, ground
- ¼ tsp salt for the meat, plus another ¼ tsp for the skin
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- ¾ tsp sugar or light brown sugar
- ½ tsp roasted chili flakes, or to taste
- 2 tsp toasted rice powder
- A little chopped green onions or cilantro (optional)
Prepping the Pork:
- Using a meat tenderizer, a metal skewer, a thick wooden skewer, or an ice pic, poke as many holes as you can in the pork skin, being careful not to go too deep and puncture the meat.
- Use a sharp knife, score the skin into 1-inch strips, going only deep enough to break the skin, try not to cut too much into the fat, and definitely not into the meat.
- Turn the pork meat side up, and sprinkle ¼ tsp salt evenly over the meat. Then sprinkle ½ tsp 5-spice powder and rub it evenly into the meat. Finally, sprinkle ¼ tsp ground white pepper and press it in. Be careful not to let any of the spices get onto the skin.
- Wash your hands if you’ve got spices on it, so it won’t get on the skin, then turn the pork back skin side up. Sprinkle about ¼ tsp of salt thoroughly over the skin; I prefer using coarser grain salt like kosher salt for this so it’s easier to see that you have salted the skin evenly. Let sit for about 20 mins until you see lots of water drawn up out of the skin. Dab it dry, and brush off any remaining grains of salt.
- Place pork into a container and refrigerate, UNCOVERED, for at least 18 hours to dry out the skin. (I usually do it for 24, but 18 is the lowest I have personally gone and was still successful. I have seen other recipes say 12, but I have not tried this out myself).
Roasting the Pork
- Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C, set the rack in the middle of the oven. Put pork on a rack so heat can circulate around the meat, then set it on top of foil-lined baking sheet (for easy cleaning).
- Roast for 50-60 mins, or until internal temp reaches a minimum of 145F. 50 minutes usually gives you juicy pork that is still beautifully pink inside. If you want well-done pork you will have to roast it for at least 60 minutes for this size, for a minimum temp of 160°F.
- TIP: You can take the pork to this stage up to 4 hours in advance, let it sit at room temp, and broil the skin about 40 minutes before ready to serve.
To Crisp The Skin:
- Once the pork is done, remove from the oven. If you’re going to crisp the skin right away, turn the oven off and open the door for about a minute just to release the heat so the pork doesn’t continue to roast while it’s crisping the skin.
- Set the rack on the lowest or second lowest rung – you want the pork to be about 10 inches away from the broiling element.
- Switch to “broil” on high setting.
- If there’s any fat pooling on the pork skin, dab it dry with paper towel, then broil the pork for 10-20 minutes or until the skin is puffed and bubbly all over. KEEP AN EYE ON IT! There may be hot spots that require you to turn the pork around half way through. Or if the pork is getting too browned on one side you can tent it with foil (sometimes the pork is not even and one side will be closer to the element than the other).
- *It’s important to keep an eye on it. In my oven, it took 20 mins, in Adam’s oven it took only 10 cuz it’s smaller and the pork was closer to the element. So it can vary a lot!
- Let the pork rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
For the dipping sauce:
- Combine fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, chili flakes and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- When ready to serve, stir in toasted rice powder and green onions or cilantro.