Kong Ba Pau (Braised pork belly bun)

kong ba pau

Pork Belly. One of my husband’s greatest loves. He loves them served up on the Korean BBQ, in thin strips in steamboat and definitely, he loves them served up this way, in a bun. There are few people I know, who would willingly turn away Kong Ba Pau. There may be the initial hesitation over the layers of fats but the aroma of the braised pork belly will soon win you over. If it makes you feel better, pick the least fatty piece of pork belly and add an extra serving of lettuce. Now that should ease your guilty conscience a little, doesn’t it?

I do not naturally gravitate towards pork belly, but I do enjoy Kong Ba Pau occasionally. In the last two weeks, I’ve prepared this dish not once, but twice for gatherings with family and friends. The first time preparing it, the pork belly was a little drier than I would have liked it, because dear hubby kept the pork braising for 40 minutes (YES 40 minutes) longer than I asked him to. He felt that it was not “braised enough”. He quickly learnt that in cooking, longer does not neccessarily mean better. The second time round, the pork belly was perfectly braised and judging from the response at the dinner table that night, it was well received.

Even though the dish may sound tricky to prepare, it is really very simple. The only trick is to marinate the pork belly well. By well, I mean marinate it for a good 20 to 24 hours. That will ensure that all the flavourings are thoroughly absorbed into the pork belly. Most people preparing this dish will choose to use a large slab of pork belly, braise it and then slice it up for the buns. That works fine. For me, I used frozen sliced pork belly (because that was available readily), braised it for a slightly shorter time than I would a slab of pork belly and saved myself the trouble of slicing. The sliced pork belly also absorbs the marinate better. Both methods work fine – just do whichever works better for you.

Kong Ba Pau (Braised pork belly bun)
Serves: 15
  • 2 pieces of pork belly or about 500g of sliced pork belly
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 star anise
  • 15 cloves
  • 10 pieces of garlic, smashed with its skin
  • 10 pieces of shallots, skin removed
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp shao xing cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 2-3 pieces of small rock sugar
To serve
  • Coral lettuce
  • Leaf bun
  1. Wash, clean and dry pork belly.
  2. In a large bowl, marinate pork belly with all the remaining ingredients except the oil and rock sugar.
  3. Cover and keep refrigerated for 18 -24 hours.
  4. In a large claypot with a flat bottom, heat 2 tbsp of oil.
  5. Add the rock sugar and saute the pork belly for about a minute on each side. (If using sliced pork belly, you can skip this step.)
  6. Add in the marinate and 4 - 5 tbsp of water.
  7. Allow the pork belly to simmer in the marinate for about 30 - 40 minutes.
  8. Remove when meat is tender.
  9. Slice and serve hot with lettuce and bun.

Braised Pork Belly

tau yew bak Alas, after multiple attempts to post the recipe, this post is finally successful. It must be some bug in the recipe widget that does not like pork belly! Anyhow, this is one of my comfort foods – salty, fragrant, garlicky, fatty goodness. I cut down the fatty portion by not eating the layers of fat, and only eating the meat. My husband chastised me on this every so often. He declares that the fatty portion of the braised pork belly is the best portion! I’m sure many readers will agree.

Whether or not you eat the fatty part of the pork belly, this recipe is sure to please. My toddler loves the egg and tau kwa that goes into this! The pork belly is soft and tender, as a result of the braising process. Absolutely delicious. If you wish to reduce the calorie intake of this dish, replace the pork belly with pork shoulder. For non-pork eating friends, you can replace the pork belly with chicken too!

As I am typing, this dish is cooking in the kitchen. My mom’s version though, not mine. My mom adds chilli to this dish to add some heat and more star anise and cloves than I like. She sometimes uses the packet ingredients for Tau Yew Bak too. I’m partial to my version though. Try it and let me know!

Tau Yew Bak

Serves 6-8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 45 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Region Chinese


  • 600g Pork Belly (Sliced)
  • 8 Dried Chinese mushrooms (Soaked and stalks removed)
  • 5 cloves Garlic (Lightly pounded)
  • 1 piece Tau Kwa (firm tofu) (Cut into large cubes)
  • 10 small tofu puffs (Tau Pok)
  • 6 hard boiled eggs (Peeled)
  • 3 tablespoons dark soya sauce
  • 3 tablespoons light soya sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 800ml water


Step 1
Season pork belly with 1 tbsp of dark soya and light soya sauce. Leave meat to marinate for 30 minutes.
Step 2
In a large claypot or casserole, lightly brown pork belly. (No oil is needed)
Step 3
Add garlic and mushrooms and stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes.
Step 4
Add tau kwa, remaining dark and light soya sauces, sugar and pepper. Mix well and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
Step 5
Add in star anise, cloves, cinnamon and water and bring to a boil.
Step 6
Allow to boil for 5 minutes then add tau pok and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 7
Add hard boiled eggs and simmer for another 40 minutes or until meat is tender.
Step 8
Serve hot with rice.