It’s time for a new authentic Taiwanese recipe, guys! Over time, the more I cook for myself, the more I find myself going back to the dishes of my childhood. Since I was the oldest kid, I got the brunt of a more traditionally Taiwanese upbringing—including the palette. So now, my comfort foods are these dishes instead of the mac&cheese, pasta, ribs, and pizza that my brother would be seeking out today.
Traditionally, this dish is served in the winter, the time when western societies would be serving stews and pies. The reason why this dish is so spectacular is in the way it’s cooked: slow. The amount of time the pork spends bubbling gently in the sauce gives enough time for it to be deliciously infused. And because of the specific cut of pork, it’s so melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Now, there are a lot of variations of this dish all over the internet… and I looked at a good many of them with confusion. I never saw my grandma or my mom putting rice wine, green onions, or even the staple of rice vinegar in the pot when they cooked this dish! Nor do I remember such a complex flavor when I inhaled the bowl set before me. So, I turned to the source themselves: my mother and my grandmother.
Before we start, I need to prepare you on how much work this takes. Seriously guys, it’s the easiest thing to do ever. There’s probably a max of 20 motions you’ll have to make to get this into the crockpot, 15 of those peeling the hardboiled eggs (because they’re so damn hard to peel!)
What you need
- Rice cooker
- 1.5 lb pork belly (with a visible layer of fat on one end). Grocery stores usually keep this cut in the back, so you’ll have to ask the people at the meat counter.
- 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed flat, whole
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- Salt to taste
- Make sure there’s no skin on the cut of meat. Cut the pork belly into 1-inch slices, making sure to slice it so that you get all cuts of the meat in one piece. For example, the fat on one side and the meat on the other.
- Place pork belly, hardboiled eggs, soy sauce, water, white sugar, and salt to taste in the crockpot.
- Set on high for 2 hours. When the 2 hours are up, go and check on it and then switch it to low for the next two hours. By the time it’s done, the meat part should be about to fall apart from the fat part.
- Serve over rice. Careful of how much of the sauce you pour over the rice; too much and it’s going to be too salty. A good rule of thumb is just enough to coat the rice in the sauce, but not enough for a soupy layer at the bottom. For example, in the photo above, there’s just a bit too much sauce. Serve the soy-sauce infused egg with each serving. These could be eaten alone as a breakfast meal, which I often did as a child.
To make it healthier, just add spinach 30 minutes before the 4 hours are up! Or, alternatively, boil some spinach, place it in the bowl on top of the rice, and then spoon a healthy dollop of the sauce over it.
If you’re ever wondering what to cook for dinner, this is a perfect hearty meal to make! It’s better than any I’ve experienced at restaurants and gives you the authentic experience. Don’t believe me? Wait until you get a whiff of the smell escaping your crockpot!
PS, did you know that links could have Mandarin in them?? That’s insane.
Please leave a comment if you ever make it! I want to know how you liked it!