Refrigerating the meat uncovered overnight draws out the moisture in the rind and meat, which helps it to crisp when cooked.
In Hong Kong, there are a few ways to prepare this dish. In typical roast stores, where they sell BBQ pork, white cut chicken, and roast goose, they lightly cure the pork belly so that the meat is a bit salty. This makes it perfect with stir fried vegetables or over plain steamed rice, without any condiments. You can also eat it as a starter, unsalted with yellow mustard. Most dim sum restaurants sell this dish as kind of tapas to share alongside other small plates.
The highlight of this dish is the perfectly crisped crackling. Refrigerating the meat uncovered overnight draws out the moisture in the rind and meat, which helps it to crisp when cooked. And poking the rind all over before roasting helps keep the rind “in shape” so that it doesn’t shrink during roasting.
Serves 2-3 together with 2-3 other dishes.
- 500 g pork belly, with rind
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- Shaoxing wine
Poke holes all over the pork rind, trying to not poke too deep. You only want to pierce the fat layer, not the meat. Season the pork belly rind and meat with five spice powder. Let it chill, uncovered, overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours.
Remove from fridge and lightly brush the rind with Shaoxing wine. Let meat rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 245C (fan assisted if your oven has this function).
Pat meat dry of any remaining wine with paper towel, then transfer to a shallow nonstick baking tray or one lined with baking paper. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over rind and roast for 20 minutes. Check halfway to make sure that rind doesn’t get burnt. If it gets too dark, use a baking tray on the top rack of the oven to reduce the direct heat.
When time is up, turn heat down to 200C and continue to cook for another 30-35 minutes. Check again at around halfway to make sure that the rind has not burnt. After the first 20 minutes of roasting, the rind should be crispy and have bubbles on it.
Remove from the oven when ready and let cool at room temperature until cool enough to handle and slice.
P.S. I scraped off some of the salt on the rind, but if you like it salty, you can disregard this part.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Condiments: Mustard (I used Dijon).