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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

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

  1. Tried your recipe. Too much five spice powder. Noticed you tagged rock sugar this recipe but didn’t include it.

    • half teaspoon of five spice powder isn’t really a lot. But if you find it too much, feel free to omit or reduce it next time to suit your preference. Added the rock sugar back to the recipe – it’s optional as some people don’t like their stew to be sweet. The sugar gives a nice glaze to the mushrooms.

  2. Hi, just wondering if the pork belly can be replaced with any other cut of pork? Not too keen on fatty meat (though I know the fats probably add to the flavour)… Is it possible to do any substitution?

    • Yes, try the “twee bah” cut. I think it is labelled as such at NTUC too. My mum loves to use this cut for this dish nowadays, and yes, it’s less fatty than pork belly, but the meat can still turn out tender.

  3. Hey just wondering if I could do this using chicken instead and keeping everything else the same? Trying to cook for a party but my friend’s muslim :)

    • I’m sure it can work with chicken too, sometimes my mum make it (probably with a bit less gravy and dark soy sauce).

  4. Hi hi, may I know which brand of dark soya sauce did you use?

    • I used Tai Hua superior soy sauce, but the brand isn’t important. You can use any. Adjust to taste and preference.

  5. Is it possible to replace the dried mushroom with fresh shiitake mushrooms?

  6. Pingback: Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce (豆油肉) – Calis Cooks, Bakes & Eats

  7. When do you put the garlic in?

  8. how much water should i put in? i can’t find it stated in the recipe!

    • Sorry, I accidentally removed the water from the last edit. Please start with 800 ml, then add water whenever needed (when the braising sauce is reduced after simmering/evaporation). Thanks.

  9. Pingback: Braised Pork Belly with Mushrooms and Eggs | Treasury of Recipes

  10. Step 4 says bring to boil then simmer for an hour or until meat is tender…. so u add meat while simmering… or step 5 says add meat in the last 10 min… ??

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