Crispy Pork Belly Bao 

This appetizer is great for entertaining. Pork belly is relatively cheap to buy, you just need to be patient during the cooking process and give yourself enough time to make it nice and crispy. I didn’t bother trying to make my own steam buns. I bought these at the Asian supermarket and they worked perfectly on top of saving me a lot of prep time. If you run out of steam buns but still have extra pork belly use a tortilla wrap instead! The pork belly is fantastic as leftovers. Simply slice the leftover pork belly and pan fry it for extra crispiness.


Crispy Pork Belly Bao 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours + 12 hours inactive
Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes (12 hours inactive)
Yield: ~16 bao


For the Pork Belly

  • 2lbs boneless pork belly

  • 2 tsp. salt

  • 2 tsp. baking soda

  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar

  • 3 tbsp. honey

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1 tsp. white pepper

  • 2 tbsp. Chinese 5 spice

  • 2 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

For the Bao

  • 16 pre-made mini steam buns

  • ¾ cup pickled carrots, shaved or thinly sliced

  • ½ an English cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

  • Handful cilantro

  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts

For the Kimchi Mayo

  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp. kimchi, minced

  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

  • Pinch of salt


Poke holes all over the skin of the pork belly using a fork or a sharp knife. Mix the baking soda and salt together and evenly pat it all over the skin. Let it sit in the fridge, uncovered overnight or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Rinse the pork belly thoroughly & pat it dry. Spoon the vinegar over the pork belly to ensure there are no traces of baking soda left. Rinse and pat dry again. In a small bowl combine the honey and the lemon juice. Spoon over all sides of the pork belly. In a another small bowl, combine white pepper, Chinese 5 spice, salt and garlic powder to make a rub. Rub the spice mixture all over. Cook the pork belly on a rack lined roasting dish for 80 minutes. After 80 minutes has elapsed, turn up the heat to 450F. Continue to cook the pork belly for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the skin is extra crispy. Remove from oven and allow to rest somewhere warm with you prepare the bao for assembly.

In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients for the kimchi mayo and refrigerate until ready to use. Warm the steam buns in a steamer for 10 minutes. Carve the pork belly into ½ inch slices. To assemble bao, spread with kimchi mayo, top with sliced pork belly, pickled carrots, cucumber, green onion, cilantro and chopped peanuts.