Mastering the Art of Crispy Roast Pork (Chinese Style)


Crispy roast pork is a beloved dish in Chinese cuisine, known for its rich flavors and cultural importance. This dish, especially the crispy pork belly, is a testament to the culinary tradition and expertise found in Chinese culture. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, this delicacy has captured the hearts of many around the world. Its popularity is not just about taste but also the deep-rooted history and tradition it represents, making it a significant part of Chinese culinary heritage.

Preparing Pork Belly

Selecting and Prepping Your Pork Belly

When it comes to roasting, choosing the right pork belly is crucial for achieving the perfect balance of flavor and texture. Pork belly selection can seem daunting, but with a few tips, you can easily pick the best piece for your meal. First, look for pork belly with a good meat-to-fat ratio; this ensures that your roast will be juicy and flavorful. The meat should be pink and firm, with white fat—not yellow. Visiting reputable meat markets can also make a significant difference in meat quality. These markets often offer a variety of cuts and can provide valuable advice on selecting the best pork belly for your needs.

Seasoning the Pork Belly

Seasoning is key to enhancing the natural flavors of the pork belly. Follow these simple steps for an aromatic and tasty roast:

  • Mix your dry ingredients: Combine a tablespoon of five spice, two tablespoons of garlic powder, two tablespoons of salt, and three tablespoons of brown sugar in a bowl.
  • Rub it in: Massage this mixture thoroughly into the pork belly, ensuring every inch is covered, especially on the skin. This not only flavors the meat but also starts the process of drawing moisture out of the skin, which is crucial for crispiness.
  • Let it rest: For deeper flavor penetration, let the seasoned pork belly rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or overnight if possible.

Achieving the Perfectly Dried Skin

The secret to crispy skin lies in effective drying techniques. Proper air circulation is key to drying out the skin of the pork belly before roasting. Follow these steps for optimal results:

  • Pat the skin dry: After seasoning, use paper towels to pat the skin of the pork belly dry, removing as much moisture as possible.
  • Score the skin: Lightly score the skin with a sharp knife. This increases the surface area, allowing more moisture to escape during the cooking process.
  • Air dry: Place the pork belly in a refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. The cold air circulates around the meat, further drying out the skin.
  • Before roasting: Right before cooking, give the skin one last pat with paper towels to remove any moisture that may have surfaced.

Implementing these skin drying methods ensures that you’ll achieve that much-desired crispy skin on your roast pork belly, making it not just a meal, but an experience.

Why Air Fryer is Best

Maximizing Crispiness with an Air Fryer

The air fryer offers significant advantages over traditional cooking methods, especially when it comes to maximizing crispiness. One of the standout benefits of using an air fryer is its cooking efficiency. Unlike a conventional oven, an air fryer circulates hot air around the food, creating a crisp outer layer while keeping the inside moist and tender. This method ensures that foods like French fries and chicken wings achieve a desirable texture and taste that is often hard to replicate with other appliances. The air fryer’s ability to cook food evenly and quickly without the need for excessive oil makes it a healthier option, highlighting its advantages in today’s fast-paced world.

Conventional vs. Convection Oven

When it comes to roasting pork or any other meats, the choice between a traditional oven and a convection oven can greatly influence the outcome. Oven comparisons often highlight the distinct cooking technology each type employs. A traditional oven cooks food by surrounding it with hot air, which can sometimes lead to uneven cooking. In contrast, a convection oven uses a fan to circulate hot air around the food, ensuring a more even roast and often reducing cooking times. This difference in how heat is distributed makes the convection oven a preferred choice for achieving a perfectly roasted pork with a crispy exterior and a juicy interior. Understanding these differences can help make informed decisions on which oven type might best suit your cooking needs.

Cooking with Salt

The Role of Salt in Crisping Pork Skin

When it comes to the salt cooking method, particularly in the roasting process of pork, the role of salt, such as kosher salt, is paramount in influencing the skin texture. During the roasting process, kosher salt draws out moisture from the skin of the pork. This is crucial because the drier the skin, the better it crisps up. Essentially, the salt causes the skin to dehydrate, and when exposed to high heat, it crisps up beautifully, giving it that sought-after crunch. This method of using kosher salt doesn’t just season the meat but plays a scientific role in altering the skin’s texture by affecting the moisture levels directly.

Turning Roast Pork into Banh Mi

“From Roast Pork to Banh Mi: A Culinary Journey”

  • Banh Mi creation is an art that combines various flavors and textures into one delicious sandwich.
  • Integrating crispy pork into Banh Mi is a popular choice that adds a rich and savory element.
  • This culinary journey bridges the gap between traditional roast pork and the vibrant world of Vietnamese cuisine.
  • By incorporating pork, Banh Mi transforms into a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • The process of pork integration into Banh Mi highlights the fusion of cultures and flavors.

Recipe for Crispy Roast Pork

Step-by-Step Guide to the Ultimate Crispy Pork Belly


  • 1 kg pork belly
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Cooking Temperature: Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F).

Step 1: Prepare the Pork Belly

  1. Score the skin of the pork belly with a sharp knife, creating a diamond pattern. Make sure to cut through the skin but not into the meat.
  2. Rub the entire pork belly with salt, pepper, and five-spice powder, ensuring the seasoning gets into the cuts on the skin.

Step 2: Marinate

  1. Place the pork belly in a large bowl or dish.
  2. Pour vinegar and soy sauce over the pork, making sure to coat it evenly.
  3. Let the pork belly marinate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 3: Preheat the Oven

  1. Remove the marinated pork belly from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F).

Step 4: Roasting

  1. Place the pork belly on a wire rack set over a baking tray, skin side up.
  2. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes to allow the skin to start crisping up.
  3. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and continue roasting for another 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy, and the meat is cooked through.

Step 5: Resting and Serving

  1. Once the pork belly is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
  2. Slice the crispy roast pork belly into desired portions and serve hot with your favorite sides or sauces.


What is the best cut of pork for making crispy roast pork?
The best cut for making crispy roast pork is the belly cut, due to its fat content and skin that crisps up perfectly.

How does an air fryer enhance the crispiness of pork skin?
An air fryer circulates hot air around the pork, removing moisture from the skin, making it exceptionally crispy.

Can crispy roast pork be incorporated into other dishes?
Yes, crispy roast pork can be added to dishes like fried rice or noodles for extra flavor and texture.

What are the key seasonings for authentic Chinese crispy pork?
Authentic Chinese crispy pork is seasoned with five-spice powder, salt, and white pepper for a classic flavor.

What alternatives can I use if I don’t have an air fryer?
If you don’t have an air fryer, using an oven with a broiling function can achieve similar crispiness in the pork skin.