Hong Kong locals, or those who are familiar and love Hong Kong cuisine all enjoy a bit of ‘Siu Mei’ and ‘Siu Lap’.
If you are unfamiliar and wondering what siu mei is, it’s a platter of Cantonese-styled roasted or barbecued duck, goose or pork (assorted meats) and Siu Lap is a selection of white cut chicken (served with an oily spring onion and garlic sauce), soy sauced chicken and poached duck.
The most common carby partner for Siu Mei is rice, but if you are a bit more daring you could go for a mai fun (rice vermicelli) noodle, lai fun (rice flour & tapioca starch) noodle accompaniment or add a salted duck egg and pieces of pak choi or Chinese cabbage on the side. Don’t forget to go completely HongKee and drink an iced lemon tea or iced milk tea!
In what Hong Kong locals call “Cha Chan Teng”, (literal translation: tea food hall or tea restaurant) which are known for diverse, cheap menus, extra fast service and ying yeung (mixture of coffee and milk tea) beverages, you will be able to find roasted pork or Siu Yuk. If i’m not mistaken, there could be over 10 cha chan tengs in a single Hong Kong street. Could I emphasize its popularity anymore? 🙂
They make the ‘Yuk’ by roasting an entire pig with seasoning, usually in a charcoal furnace at a very high temperature. Siu Yuk should have crispy skin and very juicy meat saucily served with Chinese mustard, soy sauce or hoi sin sauce.
Making an entire roast pig at home for a weeknight dinner might be a bit over the top, so opting for a small hunk of pork belly from the supermarket will do just fine.
Cha Chan Teng Roasted Pork
- 1 slab of pork belly
- 1 lemon (cut into halves)
- Chinese five spice powder
- Sea salt
Using a small knife, poke many holes on the ‘skin side’ of the pork belly. Make sure the holes are deep enough, this is to absorb the salt and lemon juice.
Using a half cut lemon, scrub sea salt evenly on the cut skin sided part of the belly. Make sure it is being rubbed in deeply.
Think: Total body exfoliation with a loofah!
Turn the belly over and continue to rub lemon juice on it. Add a generous amount of Chinese five spice powder evenly over the belly. Cover with cling film, plastic or place in tupper ware to allow for a 4-5 hour marination in the fridge.
Note: If you have time, leave it for 24-28 hours.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees and place the pork belly upside down and roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, change the oven’s temperature to 180 degrees, flip the belly over (skin side up) and roast for another hour or so.
The skin should start to make a crackling noise and raise what resembles goosebumps! This is how you know the skin is ready and crispy.
Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 10-15 minutes, cut vertically into small pieces and serve with white rice, noodles, Chinese mustard, hoi sin sauce or soy sauce. Enjoy!
If you own a hook or anything that resembles a hook that can hold the weight of the pork belly, you can opt to hang the belly for an hour or so before or after marinating to enhance flavor. Make sure you place a dish under to catch any dripping residue or liquid.
Crackling skin is the highlight of this dish, if the skin hasn’t crackled or looks like it has goosebumps then you haven’t scrubbed the lemon and salt in deep enough.