Recipe by Tuan

Okinawan slow cooked shoyu pork

If that photo above hasn’t got you licking your lips, you’re probably vegetarian. It’s a melt in your mouth slow cooked shoyu pork belly, originating from Okinawa in Japan. Shoyu being a type of Japanese soy sauce and the slow cooked referring to the 2~3 hours this thing spends in a pot. I love this style of cooking – minimal preparation and a simple cooking process, leaving you free for the rest of the afternoon to play your favourite computer game. A very manly and awesome way of multi-tasking if you will.

The pork is simmered for two hours to get rid of the gunk, fat and smell and to make it tender, then for another hour it is simmered in a soy broth to impart the flavour and colour. I took the meat out at the end and reduced the stock to it became a syrupy and a bit on the salty side, but generally I read that you just serve it straight up after its done cooking in the broth. It’s practically the same as the Buta no kakuni I had at Sakura Japanese restaurant, and similar to the Vietnamese Thit heo kho.

If you haven’t cooked Japanese food before, you’ll need to get yourself some dashi powder and mirin. Dashi is fish stock, but it’s easier to just make it from the powder, and mirin is a sweet rice wine. Both can be found in the Japanese section of most food stores.

The first step is to chop up the pork rashers / belly and brown it lightly.

Pork after simmering for two hours

Pork after simmering for two hours

Next you rinse the pork under water and put it into a pot, add the ginger, cover with cold water and simmer gently for two hours, then moving on to the final step where you simmer it in the soy broth. Full recipe below, adapted from “A little taste of Japan”.

Okinawan slow cooked shoyu pork belly recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Yield: Serves 4 -6


  • 1kg Pork belly, rashers or shoulder
  • 4cm Ginger, sliced
  • 500ml Dashi
  • 1/2 cup Mirin
  • 1/4 cup Sake (You can buy it from Vintage cellars on Cavenagh Street, or you can use more mirin or Chinese rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar, could do with 3/4 of cup

Cooking directions

  1. Cut the pork into large cubes and brown in some vegetable oil in a large pot or heavy wok
  2. Rinse the pork under cold water, put back into the pot, add the ginger and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer for 2 hours. Top up water if needed.
  3. Strain the pork, discarding the liquid.
  4. Put the dashi, sake, mirin, sugar and soy sauce into a clean pot/wok, add the pork, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  5. Optional step: Remove the pork, turn the heat up to high and reduce the stock to a desired consistency. The more you reduce it, the sticker it will be but it'll also become saltier. Put the pork back in when you're happy with the reduction.
  6. Serve with rice and vegetables.


  • Matt H

    Where’s the soy sauce?

    • Tuan

      It’s been reduced a lot, plenty in the pot too.

  • wyvern99

    Pretty sure that other person was just asking how much soy sauce to use. It seems to have been omitted from the ingredients. :)

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