Boiled Pork Belly With Garlic Sauce

boiled pork belly with garlic sauce

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Cool Time: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 2 pounds
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
514 Calories
36g Fat
4g Carbs
39g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 514
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 47%
Saturated Fat 13g 65%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 920mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 103mg 8%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 516mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Boiled pork belly with garlic sauce (蒜泥白肉) is one of my favorite Sichuan cuisine dishes. It’s delicious, and it’s also a very popular dish in both Chinese and Taiwanese households.

When cooking you need to bring the pork belly to a boil over high heat and then simmer for about 1 hour. You can use a chopstick to poke the pork belly while cooking, and if the chopstick can go through the pork belly, then the pork belly is ready.

"The pork belly was tasty, and the preparation was quick and easy. It can be challenging to slice the pork thinly even when cooled—make sure your knife is sharp. The flavor and texture of the pork belly was excellent with the garlic sauce and chopped peanuts." —Diana Rattray

boiled pork belly with cucumber and garlic sauce
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 5 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 star anise

  • 2 cardamom pods

  • 1 ounce (30 grams) spring onions, about 3, root ends trimmed

  • 2 knobs ginger (each about 1-inch)

  • 2 to 2 1/4 pounds pork belly

  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon roasted crushed peanuts, optional

For the Garlic Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon black vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • 1 drizzle white sesame oil, or blended sesame oil

  • 1 ounce (30 grams) garlic, about 10 cloves, finely chopped

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Boiled Pork Belly ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Place the water, rice wine, salt, star anise, cardamom pods, spring onion, and ginger into a stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

    spices and green onions boiling in pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the pork belly and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour until the pork is cooked—test by piercing the pork with a chopstick. The chopsticks should go through the meat easily. Set aside to cool. Reserve stock.

    pork belly boiled, resting on plate, stock in pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Place all the ingredients for the garlic sauce in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of stock from the stockpot and mix well. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

    garlic sauce ingredients mixed in small bowl with spoon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Using a sharp knife, slice the cooled pork into 3mm (1/8-inch) thick slices.

    cooled pork belly sliced on cutting board with knife

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Arrange the pork on a serving plate with the cucumbers. Garnish with crushed peanuts if desired. Serve with the garlic sauce.

    pork belly slices on plate with garlic sauce, cucumber slices on side and peanuts on side

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • Try to slice the pork belly as thin as possible so you won’t feel the pork belly is so greasy and heavy to eat.

Recipe Variations

  • Crushed peanut is an optional extra, but it does add extra flavor and texture to the dish. If you have a peanut allergy or think it’s too much hassle then leave it. It won’t affect the flavor of this dish too much.
  • You can add some chili oil or Sichuan pepper oil if you like your food hot and spicy.
  • Add very thinly sliced carrot along with the sliced cucumber.

How to Store Leftover Pork Belly

  • Refrigerate leftover pork belly in a shallow airtight container within 2 hours of cooking and eat within 3 to 4 days.
  • To freeze cooked pork belly, place it in zip-close freezer bag or a freezer container and freeze for up to 4 months.
  • Reheat leftover sliced boiled pork belly in a skillet over medium-low heat until hot or reheat it in the microwave.

Is There a Substitute for Black Vinegar?

You can find black vinegar online. If you must substitute, use an equal amount of white vinegar or rice wine vinegar. Balsamic vinegar can be used, but it can be overly sweet and syrupy, and might alter the flavor.

Is Pork Belly the Same as Bacon?

Pork belly, like bacon, comes from the underside of the animal, but pork belly is usually sold in large pieces, or slabs, and is not cured or smoked.