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Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce)

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

Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce Recipe

Constantly check that the braising sauce is not dried out during the simmering. You will need to add water (a little at a time) when the stew is drying out.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 60 mins


  • 8 dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 500 grams pork belly
  • 1.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • spring onions or coriander garnishing
  • 1-2 piece of fried beancurd (tau kwa/豆干) quartered

(A) Seasonings

  • 1 litre water
  • 1.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 cinnamon stick (桂皮)
  • 1 star anise (八角)
  • 4 cloves (丁香)
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder (五香粉)
  • 1.5 bulbs garlic separated into individual cloves (no need to peel)
  • 1 tsp rock sugar optional; omit if you don't like the stew sweet
  • dashes of white pepper powder to taste


  1. Soak dry mushrooms in small bowl of hot water until puffy, then drain water. Squeeze out the water from mushrooms and trim away stems. Set aside the mushroom caps.
  2. Prepare 80% cooked hard boiled eggs. To do that, place eggs in saucepan of cold water (enough water to cover eggs one layer). Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes, turn off the stove and cover with lid for about 7 minutes (for 100% hard boiled eggs, it’s about 10 minutes). Rinse the eggs with cold water until eggs are cooled. Peel when cool enough to handle. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in casserole (wok, claypot or deep pot). Brown pork belly on both sides on medium heat. Add 1.5 tbsp dark soy sauce on both sides of browned pork belly.
  4. Add (A) and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer (with lid partially closed) for an hour, or until the meat is tender.
  5. During the last 10 minutes of simmering, add eggs and tau kwa. To serve, slice pork belly to smaller, bite-sized pieces. Serve with rice or steamed buns. Garnish with spring onions or coriander.

Cooking Notes

  1. Browning the meat before cooking adds depth and flavour, but you may skip this step if you are busy.
  2. Constantly check that the braising sauce is not dried out during the simmering.  You will need to add water (a little at a time) when the stew is drying out.
  3. The recipe is very forgiving and flexible. Adjust to taste with dark soy sauce (for colour and sweetness), light soy sauce (for saltiness) and rock sugar for (sweetness). Simmer longer for more tender meat.
  4. Do not overdose on the spices (like star anise, cinnamon) as a little goes a long way.
  5. For best results, cook and serve this dish in a claypot. My claypot is too small for cooking, so I cooked it in a wok and transfer the cooked stew to a claypot for reheating.


If you want marbled eggs (Chinese tea leaf eggs), do not peel the eggs. Instead, gently tap the exterior of the eggs with the back of the spoon to form cracks evenly around the egg, careful to leave the entire shell still intact and covering the egg. This will create the beautiful “marbled” look and also allow the flavours to seep through the eggs.

Leave a Comment

112 Responses to “Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce)”

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  1. Adrian — December 31, 2015 @ 4:45 pm

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


    • wiffy replied: — January 7th, 2016 @ 1:22 pm

      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. Footai — January 15, 2016 @ 10:16 pm

    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?


    • wiffy replied: — January 16th, 2016 @ 5:31 pm

      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. Michelle Cham — May 14, 2016 @ 2:35 am

    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 :)


    • wiffy replied: — May 18th, 2016 @ 12:45 pm

      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. Felicia Ng — July 3, 2016 @ 4:42 pm

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


    • wiffy replied: — July 4th, 2016 @ 9:57 am

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


  5. Amber — February 21, 2017 @ 7:48 pm

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


    • wiffy replied: — February 27th, 2017 @ 11:38 pm

      yes you can.


    • Rica Jhane HK replied: — May 31st, 2017 @ 1:56 pm

      Im very attracted to this recipe. In my whole life I will try to cook today😊😊


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