By Chris De La Rosa
This dish brings back a ton of memories, every-time I make it. I first shared this recipe, back in 2018 on the YouTube channel, and to this day, it’s still a hit.
As a young fella in the Caribbean islands, Saturdays were reserved for attending Kung Fu movies at the local cinemas, in San Fernando, with my dad and younger brother.
After the movies, dad would take us to a Chinese shop/restaurant on Mucurapo Street to have this same crispy pork belly sandwiches — loaded with pepper sauce, ketchup and, the odd time, topped with chow mein. Real niceness!
Piece of pork belly (not too fatty)
Chinese cooking wine
Chinese 5-Spice powder
Important! Please try to get a piece of pork belly with a fair amount of lean meat and not too much fat. While you do need the fat, I find that, too many times, restaurants give us overly-fatty, crispy pork belly.
Make sure the pork is hair-free (you may need to use a razor to remove any remaining hair on the skin). You now need to prick the skin of the pork, so that you get that crunch/crispy skin after it’s done in the oven. I used bamboo skewers to prick the skin (watch the video), but you can use anything with a sharp point that can go through the skin (it can be tough). Try to prick as much of the skin as you can.
Then flip it over and make 1-inch (wide) cuts, down the length of the flesh and about 1/2-inch deep (as in the pic below). Here is where we’ll add the rub, to add a ton of flavor to the completed dish.
First off, brush the Chinese cooking wine over the flesh side of the pork belly (not the skin) and into the cuts you made. Then make a mixture with the salt, black pepper, Chinese 5 Spice powder, sugar, garlic powder and onion powder and work into the flesh and cuts (NOT the skin).
Now flip it over and place in a bowl and into the fridge to air-dry overnight. Do NOT cover!
The next day, remove it from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. Please pre-heat your oven to 400 F. Create a pouch with foil for the flesh side of the belly, with the skin exposed, and brush the skin with the vinegar, then sprinkle on the remaining salt and put into the oven on the middle rack.
After 55 minutes, it’s time to crank up the heat in your oven to “broil”, which in my oven is 500 F.
Put back on the middle rack, and please keep an eye on things, as this is where it can burn with the high heat. In my case, the edges did char a bit, but small t’ing. It took about 7-10 minutes.
Allow it to cool, then flip it over, and using the long cuts we originally made as a guide, slice though, then cut into bite-size pieces.
A tribute to my childhood and spending time with my dad and brother. Do give the recipe a try, as I know it will be a hit in your home. If you can, please support. And should you have questions about this recipe or anything food-related, be sure to Ask Chris.
This recipe is courtesy of Gourmand Award winning cookbook author and founder of CaribbeanPot.com, Chris De La Rosa. With over 450 printable recipes with step by step cooking instructions and demo videos, PLUS over 1 million social/fan connections globally every month, CaribbeanPot.com is the world’s #1 resource of Caribbean Culinary Culture. Connect with Chis on Instagram: www.instagram.com/caribbeanpot/.