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Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce)

I grew up eating this homely dish of braised pork belly in soy sauce (or locally known as “tau yu bak”/豆油肉) so this is true taste of home-cooked food to me. Deliciously savoury, this dish goes very well with rice or steamed buns (kong bak bao). Every family has a different way of cooking this dish.

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My family’s version is no fuss – just one type of soy sauce (dark) and no need to grind the spices. The recipe is also very forgiving and flexible so you can always “rescue” it if something goes wrong. Do not overdose on the spices (like star anise, cinnamon) because a little goes a long way.

Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce Recipe

Browning the pork belly (optional but highly recommended) adds additional flavour to the stew.

Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce Recipe

Aromatics for cooking tau yu bak – garlic, 5-spice powder, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and rock sugar.

Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce Recipe

I re-created the dish from memory of the taste and I let my mum taste test the dish. Her verdict – my tau yu bak was good, and she liked that the sauce is just the right amount (if too much, the stew is diluted; too little will result in insufficient gravy for the rice & meat).

Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce Recipe

119 comments on “Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce)”

  1. This is my family favourite too. Though we don’t really add the satr anise and cinnamon but I think the flavour is much richer when you add them. Love to eat the egg and the gravy.

  2. I love this! Now I have to cook some really soon!

  3. The sauce must be so flavorful. Looks delicious with the eggs!

  4. awwww i really miss this. My mother used to make this often. funny it’s the same recipe, but in place of rock sugar, she uses the red dates sweet sauce that also gives it the colouring. :)

    • that’s interesting! I’ve never heard of red dates sweet sauce but I’ll like it. Would love to try this version one day :)

  5. Great dish! Run well with rice … no need to add other dish. So hungry now :)

  6. I like tau yu bak with sambal belacan, but what I love most is the fatty pork that melts in the mouth.

  7. Wiffy, this looks absolutely delicious. Love the flavours and colour of this dish. I too made some braised pork belly a couple of weeks back .. yum! Love this sauce with steaming white rice.

  8. This has to be the best tao yu bak I have ever seen! I can imagine how many bowl of rice I will need.

  9. This is a must have dish in our family during festive season. So Hokkien :) I actually like eating this the second day as I think it taste much better.

    • yes! somehow it tastes better the second day. I like to cook extras, keep leftovers in a claypot, reheat the next day. It’s really yummy :)

  10. This looks delicious! I bought some pork belly in one slab today (1.3kg) but it has the skin on. Do you remove the skin? And how big should each piece of meat be if I cut it up (I will only use 500gm and save the rest for twice cooked pork belly – yum!) Last question, is the dark soy just plain dark soy or a sweet dark soy like kecap manis?
    Can’t wait to make it,

    • Hi Shell, I left the skin (and fats) on. To me, it’s the good part… makes the stew very flavourful and I know it’s unhealthy but after stewing, the fatty part just melts in your mouth, very delicious to me.

      regarding the size of each piece of meat, it’s up to you. For mine, each stab of meat (when I begin cooking) is 12cm. After stewing, I cut them to the sizes I want (either thinly sliced or 5cm length).

      and I use normal dark soy sauce, not kecap manis. Happy cooking!

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