Three pork belly buns on marble serving board
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Chinese Pork Belly Bun (Rou Jia Mo, 肉夹馍)

The nutrition facts below include the homemade flatbread with the toppings. To adapt the recipe to gluten-free, use tamari to replace the soy sauce and use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine. You can use gluten free bread to assemble the sandwich.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 10 buns
Calories: 360kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 3.5 lbs (1.2 kg) pork belly (*Footnote 1), cut into 2-inch (4.5-cm) chunks

Braising

Pork bun (to make 10 buns)

  • 10 homemade flatbreads (or store-bought pita bread)
  • 1 cup cilantro , chopped
  • 2 bell peppers , cubed (*Footnote 2)
  • Sriracha sauce or homemade chili oil (Optional)

Instructions

  • Place pork belly in a 5.5-quart dutch oven and add cold water to cover the pork by 1 inch (2 cm). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn to medium low heat and boil for 10 minutes. Skim the broth with a fine mesh strainer to get rid of the foam.
  • Add chili peppers, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, green onion, and Shaoxing wine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn to lowest heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  • Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, and salt into the pot and stir to mix well. Continue to simmer, covered, for an additional 1 hour.  Skim off the oil from the top by using a fine mesh strainer.
  • Uncover, and continue to simmer for another hour or so, until the broth is reduced to about one fourth and has thickened slightly. Keep an eye on the pork during the last 30 minutes, because the broth can reduce very fast at the end and burn the bottom. You should have at least 1 cup of broth in the pot after reducing, in order to assemble the pork buns.

Assemble

  • Option 1 the modified style - Transfer one piece of pork belly onto a cutting board and slice it into bite-size pieces. Use a spoon to stuff the pork mixture, cilantro, and peppers into the bun. Drizzle a spoonful of broth onto the pork and add Sriracha sauce (if needed). Serve immediately.
  • Option 2 authentic street food style - Transfer one piece of pork belly onto a cutting board, cut it coarsely into small chunks. Place a handful of cilantro and a handful of peppers on top of the pork. Use a knife to chop and mix everything together. Use a spoon to stuff the pork mixture into the bun, drizzle a spoonful broth onto the pork and add a few drops of homemade chili oil. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Try to select pork belly that contains 70% to 80% of lean meat, so the finished meat will have a good lean-fat ratio and will be tender without tasting greasy.
  2. Anaheim pepper is a great choice because it is not overly spicy but is more flavorful than bell peppers. If you want to add spiciness, you can mix in some jalapeno peppers as well. I used a mix of sweet peppers and jalapenos for the color and the spicy taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of the 10 buns | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.6g | Protein: 40.5g | Fat: 5.3g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 441mg | Potassium: 702mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 2.8g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 3.8mg