Soy Braised Pork Belly with Chinese Steamed Buns

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

One of the keys to the deep, savory flavor of the of the braise is what’s known as “thin” or “superior” or “premium” soy sauce. It is also occasionally refered to as light soy sauce—but don’t confuse that with low sodium! Thin soy sauce is actually saltier and lighter in color than regular soy sauce. 

  • Yield: Makes 4 servings
  • Course: Dinner

All you need for this recipe and more...


Pork Belly:

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless uncured pork belly, cut into (8) 3-inch x 1-inch thick slices

5 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup black or dark soy sauce 

1/3 cup shaoxing wine

3 tablespoons thin soy sauce

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

3 quarter size slices fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the buns:

8 Chinese (sandwich style folded) buns 

16 thin slices cucumber

2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion 

Buy the buns at your local Chinese market: look in the freezer section for folded, not round, buns. 


1. Toss the pork belly in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Heat a nonstick ADutch Oven with Steamer Insert (steamer insert removed) over medium heat until hot. Add half of the pork belly and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining pork belly. 

2. Preheat the oven to 275°F. 

3. Wipe out the Dutch oven with a paper towel. Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, broth, black soy sauce, wine, thin soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic and scallions. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook 10 minutes. Add the pork belly and any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cover and transfer to the oven and cook until the pork is very tender, about 2 hours. Remove pan from the oven then transfer the pork belly to a clean plate. 

4. Bring the sauce in the Dutch oven to a boil over medium heat and cook 4 minutes. Place the steamer insert into the pan and fill with the buns. Cover and cook until the sauce thickens slightly and the buns are heated through and soft, about 8-9 minutes. Return the pork belly to the sauce, remove from the heat and let stand covered, until heated through, 2-3 minutes. To serve fill each bun with 2 cucumber slices, 1 piece pork belly, and a sprinkle of sliced scallions. Spoon extra sauce over the filling.