Hui Guo Rou (Sichuan Twice-Cooked Pork)

Also known as double-cooked pork, this classic Sichuan recipe is deeply savory with fermented black beans and chili bean paste.

A plate of Sichuan twice-cooked pork, ready to be passed around the table.

Serious Eats / Chichi Wang

Why It Works

  • Simmering the pork belly first tenderizes it while rendering out some fat.
  • Stir-frying it with aromatic ingredients builds flavor and a pleasant crisp-tender texture.

Here's a dish that will make you look like a pro among your friends, but takes just a little know-how to make delicious. Twice-cooked pork is a Sichuan dish of fatty pork leg or belly, skin-on, that gets two very different cooking preparations. The skin is the best part of the dish.

In the first stage, the belly is simmered just until it's cooked through. Then you allow it to cool down in the refrigerator so the fat and the meat firm up. In such a stage, you can slice the meat into very thin slices and already, your guests will marvel at your handiwork. Belly is an impressive cut of meat to manipulate. It looks like the strata of some rock—you get a layer of fat, a layer of meat, and then the skin on top.

A wider shot of twice-cooked pork on a plate.

Serious Eats / Chichi Wang

In stage two, you get your wok hot and you add some oil. Stir-fry the slices of belly until the meat is brown, the fat has rendered somewhat, and the layer of skin is a little crispy around the edges. The slices of meat curl in the heat. Watch for the skin to turn brown and crispy, then add to the wok this holy trinity of Chinese flavorings: fermented black beans, chili bean paste, and sweet bean paste. Immediately, the pork sops up the flavors: salty, sweet, and spicy with an earthy, fermented undertone. A very winning flavor.

The Sichuanese typically stir-fry this dish with a kind of leek, but state-side you'd be hard-pressed to find leeks so tender. Ramps are a good substitute, as are plain old green onions. The real draw of the dish is the fatty, skin-on pork. The greens take a backseat to the irresistible little squares of thin belly meat. It is probably one of my favorite preparations ever for belly.

Imagine fresh bacon, which is then almost deep-fried, and you'll have some idea of what the texture is like: tender, toothsome, and crisp all at once.

June 2012

This recipe was cross-tested in 2022 and lightly updated to guarantee best results. Adding a 1-inch piece of ginger brightens the pork and complements the flavor of the alliums.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Active: 30 mins
Resting Time: 80 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Serves: 4 servings

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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (340g) pork belly, preferably with the skin left on

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) neutral cooking oil or lard

  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons (22-30ml) chili bean paste, such as doubanjiang

  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) sweet bean paste (tian mi jiang)

  • 2 teaspoons fermented black beans or 1 tablespoon fermented black bean paste (about 20g)

  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) dark soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) granulated sugar

  • 6 baby leeks (330g), 12 ramps (200g), or 12 green onions (160g), sliced on a steep bias into 2-inch long segments (2 to 3 cups)

  • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pork and simmer until just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Remove pork from water and let cool. (Water can be set aside for use in stock, or discarded.) Place belly in refrigerator until flesh is firm, about 1 hour.

  2. Slice pork thinly into 1/4-inch-thick rectangles.

    Simmered and cooled pork belly is thinly sliced.

    Serious Eats / Chichi Wang

  3. In a wok, heat oil or lard over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add pork and stir-fry until fat has rendered somewhat and skin is brown and somewhat crisp, about 2 minutes. Push pork to one side of wok and add chili bean paste. Stir-fry until oil is red, then add sweet bean paste and black beans and stir-fry for a few seconds longer. Mix everything together, then stir in soy sauce and sugar.

  4. Add leeks (or ramps or green onions) and ginger and stir-fry until they are just cooked, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Special Equipment

Wok

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