This is incredibly easy to make and tastes just like the siu yuk (roast pork belly) that you buy at the Chinese restaurants and grocery stores. I suggest buying the meat from an Asian grocery store because it is much much cheaper there. Make sure you buy the boneless pork belly with the skin/rind on. Pork side also works. You want to choose a cut of meat that has an even thickness so that the rind cooks evenly, otherwise sections of the skin will burn. But if this happens you can always scrape the burnt parts off with a knife before serving. I tested three different methods of making crispy siu yuk. The simplest method involved brushing oil onto the rind prior to baking; the second method involved brushing the skin with vinegar before drying it out in the fridge; and the third method involved scalding the rind with vinegar and boiling water prior to refrigeration. From my experience, the rind that had been brushed with vinegar crackled the soonest. Scalding the rind resulted in a very crunchy, but tough, skin. I have posted the method that, in my opinion, was the best.
Chinese Roast Pork Belly (Siu Yuk) Recipe
1 kg (approx.) pork belly or pork side, skin on (Note: Try to get a cut that has an even thickness and ratio of meat to fat throughout. It is very important to buy the freshest piece that you can find. Any pieces of skin that look dried or tough will not crisp up after roasting.)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp coarse salt (sea salt)
1/2 tbsp five-spice powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp white vinegar or rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Wash pork belly under cool running water. Pat dry. Score the surface of the skin well with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern (don’t cut through the surface of the skin). Rub the soy sauce on the meat side of the pork belly. Combine 1/2 tbsp of the salt, five-spice powder and garlic powder and rub it into the meat side of the pork. Brush the vinegar over the skin. Then rub the remaining salt into the skin side of the pork. Set the meat side down on a rack over a cookie sheet. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.
Set the rack so that it is in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F. Pat dry any moisture that develops on the skin. Rub the oil into the skin side prior to baking. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes until the meat is almost cooked through. Do not overcook. Turn the oven to broil and continue roasting until the skin is crispy, about 10 to 20 more minutes. Watch the skin carefully so that it does not burn. You will be able to hear the sound of the skin crackling. Expect some smoke. You can open the door to release some of the smoke every now and then. As soon as the entire rind has crackled, remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes. Using a knife, scrape off any burnt parts of the rind. Cut the pork into pieces using a cleaver and serve warm with rice.