Chefs' Recipes

Ho Jiak's tau yu bak (braised soy pork belly)

Chef Junda Khoo shares the recipe for a dish close to his heart.

By Junda Khoo
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 4 - 6
  • Print
"This [tau yu bak] was my amah's signature dish," says Junda Khoo, executive chef and co-owner of the Ho Jiak restaurants in Sydney. "As she aged she couldn't cook it anymore so my aunts and uncles came up with their own version; and this is mine."


  • 2½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 800 gm piece boneless pork belly, skin on, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp black pepper, cracked
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp karamel masakan (see note)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Sliced spring onions and steamed white rice, to serve


  • 1
    Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add pork and cook, turning frequently, until browned all over (5 minutes). Add garlic and star anise and cook until garlic is fragrant (2 minutes). Add 750ml water followed by pepper, soy sauce, karamel masakan and sugar. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender and cooked (1 hour). (Ensure your saucepan is both large enough to brown the pork but also compact enough to retain the moisture of pork – if too large it will overcook.) Add a little extra water during cooking if needed.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Cook eggs until soft boiled (6½ minutes). Run eggs under cold water until cool enough to handle, then peel and halve lengthways.
  • 3
    Once pork is tender and braising liquid reduced by half, transfer pork to a deep platter, then pour over reduced, strained, braising liquid. Serve topped with halved eggs and spring onions and steamed rice on the side.


Karamel masakan is a dark soy cooking caramel sauce available from Asian supermarkets.