12 Aug2013


This falls somewhere in no-man’s land between an authentic Chinese dish and Cebu’s humba which has some vinegar and is really the “adobo” of the island. It’s simple to make, but takes some elapsed time. I was fooling around with the Chinese clay pots so I was using that as the jumping off point for this simple version of braised pork belly that turned out to be incredibly comforting and familiar without all the bells and whistles.


First take some good fatty boneless pork belly and cut it into really substantial cubes (it will shrink). Then season the pork with salt and pepper and brown it in a pan with some seriously hot pork lard (or in our case, some chicharon oil, the byproduct of making chicharon the good old fashioned way). Place the browned meat in a claypot, add a whole head or two of garlic (I didn’t bother to peel it, just lopped off the tops of the bulb and threw them into the pot) then add some soy sauce, a couple of tablespoons of muscovado sugar and a whole dried star anise. Add some water or pork broth until most of the pieces are covered with liquid, put the cover on and bring this to a gentle simmer where it should remain for say 2-3 hours until the pork is incredibly tender and the sauce is almost sticky with fat and natural gelatin…


You will probably need to add some water or broth during the cooking as it appears to be drying out. Note that there is no vinegar whatsoever in this version. The results were incredibly tender pork (even the skin had transformed into jelly) with a hint of sweetness and just the right amount of saltiness. Perfect with loads of steamed rice. This would be brilliant as a filling for some Chinese style siopao bread. Our cooks insisted we should try it with hard boiled eggs (a pinoy addition I think) and it tasted great that way as well. Throw in some banana blossoms and you lean heavier to a Visayan humba. But still without the vinegar. :)



  1. dasselle says:

    Dear Mr. MM.. Everyday it’s been my routine to check your page:) I want to eat and eat whenever I saw sumptuous dishes in your page..

    Aug 12, 2013 | 3:12 pm


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  3. Faith says:

    Hi MM, this is also similar to a Khmer dish called Kor Sach Crouk (Caramelized pork in sugar palm) my favorite Khmer dish just because its like Adobo.. According to my local colleagues they would normally cook this during Pchum Ben (Buddhist All Souls Day). Chef Molly has a fish version and its yummy as well.

    Aug 12, 2013 | 3:42 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    Faith, pls. send my best regards to Chef Molly, she mentioned there were a couple of pinoys on the staff at Aman in Siem Reap! How nice to find readers all over the place! :) dasselle, thanks! :)

    Aug 12, 2013 | 3:48 pm

  5. Lee says:


    Aug 12, 2013 | 5:35 pm

  6. Betchay says:

    Is the taste similar to pata tim?

    Aug 12, 2013 | 7:22 pm

  7. Footloose says:

    Those sand pots are usually shown in Chinese cookbooks being used per above pics, as cooking vessel for slow-cooked pork belly. It’s hardly conceivable that we will ever tire of it at home though sometimes we seek a pause from the powerful flavors of the humble humba so the exalted Dong Po Rou becomes the alternative. Arrange the carefully sliced pork belly in a bed of green onions and sliced ginger, flood it with soy sauce and rice wine and a bit of sugar and braise until the pieces wobble in tenderness.

    Aug 12, 2013 | 9:44 pm

  8. Faith says:

    MM, your blog was our icebreaker when Chef Molly first moved here. We were exchanging Filipino food stories and I told her I’m an avid reader of your blog. :) Will send your regards to her once I’m back from my holiday. I’m now searching your recipe posts for inspiration…

    Aug 13, 2013 | 12:10 am

  9. Bong says:


    Aug 13, 2013 | 1:04 am

  10. marilen says:

    Comfort food!!

    Aug 13, 2013 | 8:51 am

  11. odessa says:

    hmm…. yum yum! we also sometimes add potato wedges other than the eggs MM. u can also fry it pag may natira para png partner sa sinangag the next day. heaven!

    Aug 13, 2013 | 9:28 am

  12. Slightly Epicurean says:

    Looks delicious! It’s been a little while since I’ve checked your blog MM. I can’t believe how many posts I have missed. I’ll try to catch up. Thanks for sharing!

    Aug 13, 2013 | 9:10 pm

  13. Anna Banana says:

    Delish! Now I know what I’ll cook tomorrow! BTW, I made my first ever Paella using your recipe MM! I made it for friends and they thought it was superb! They never did find out that it was my first time making paella (I live in Spain so they mistakenly thought I was a wiz at paella-making) haha! Thanks for the recipes!

    Aug 14, 2013 | 3:13 am

  14. Shan says:

    Oh, comfort food indeed. I always cook them with my claypot. It seems stew tastes better than having them in pans. I don’t fry the pieces in oil. I boil the meat pieces in vinegar, oil, pepper and muscovado till they turn brown before adding some water. I learned from my mom that hard boiled eggs should be pan fried first before having them in adobo. The egg white has a texture we so love. I tried the claypot sotanghon. It was sooooo gooood! Comfort food on rainy days!

    Aug 14, 2013 | 7:53 am

  15. terrey says:

    oh my…humba galore! *drooling*

    Aug 14, 2013 | 5:24 pm

  16. kristin says:

    yesterday, i was totally craving for a guinataang kalabasa (the complete works: the young flowers, the tender vines,the fruit itself, the driedfish and the creamy cocomilk) and by heaven, half of the stuff is not available here…and now, seeing the above dish (which is doable) i must say…this is dinner tonight! :) thanks MM!

    Aug 15, 2013 | 6:52 pm

  17. peanut says:

    No vinegar? Always made my humba with vinegar…

    Aug 17, 2013 | 5:09 am

  18. Piaya says:

    Incredibly yummy! A comfort food indeed =) Thanks for sharing this MM!

    Aug 17, 2013 | 2:59 pm

  19. Kate says:

    That’s also the recipe my (Chinese) dad uses for his adobo…. And pata tim too! Slow cooked for ~3 hours.We add eggs as well. :)

    Aug 17, 2013 | 4:45 pm

  20. joey @ 80 breakfasts says:

    Yes please!! My type of dish…sweet, salty, jiggly pork belly! :)

    Aug 28, 2013 | 10:30 pm

  21. sophie says:

    thank you for this yummy recipe MM, tried and tested. so simple BUT so great with lots of rice.

    Sep 18, 2013 | 10:09 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    sophie, you are welcome… so glad you enjoyed it!

    Sep 18, 2013 | 10:19 pm


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