Snacks and sides

Lechon kawali pork belly bao buns

Pork belly bao gets a Filipino twist in this fun snack recipe.
Lechon kawali pork belly bao buns

Lechon kawali pork belly bao buns

Ben Dearnley
6 - 8
1H 30M
2H 5M

“Lechon kawali is a Filipino classic that was always at my family table,” says Smith. “My mother would vary it by braising with Filipino brandy and lemonade.” Begin this recipe a day ahead.


Lechon kawali pork belly
Pickled radish (atcharang labanos)


1.For pork, place skin-side down in a large saucepan with a lid and cover with water. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a cartouche and lid and cook until tender (1 hour). Remove pork from braising liquid and drain, pat dry with paper towel. Place pork skin-side down on a tray lined with baking paper. Place another sheet of baking paper on top, followed by another tray and a heavy weight; refrigerate overnight.
2.Preheat oven to 160˚C. Sprinkle pork skin with fine cooking salt. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat with 5mm oil. Add pork, skin-side down, and cook, weighing down with another frying pan until skin is golden and crisp (3-5 minutes).
3.Meanwhile, for pickled radish, place radishes in a large bowl and scatter with 2 tbsp sea salt flakes; toss to combine and stand 30 minutes. Place vinegar, sugar, 125ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook stirring until sugar dissolves (5 minutes). Set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour over radishes and refrigerate.
4.Place pork, skin-side up, on an oven tray and cook in oven until heated through (15 minutes). Cut pork into 1cm thick slices and season to taste.
5.Place buns, in batches if necessary, in a large steamer and set over a wok of boiling water. Cover and steam until cooked through (8 minutes).
6.To assemble, place a slice of pork in a bun and layer with cucumber, pickles, spring onions and place on a platter, then scatter with micro tatsoi. To serve, drizzle with hoisin and mang tomas on the side.

Frozen bao buns are available from select supermarkets and Asian grocers. Mang tomas, a Filipino pork liver sauce, is available from Filipino grocers.


Related stories