• Pork on the bone has multiple benefits. (Angela Cui)Source: Angela Cui
There are good reasons for keeping meat on the bones and here's how to pack yours full of spice.
Angie Cui

18 Nov 2020 - 12:31 PM  UPDATED 18 Nov 2020 - 12:31 PM

There are several reasons why bones are often kept in the meat of many Asian dishes.

First, it avoids waste. Eating bone-in meat is also fun. Navigating the bones can even be considered rewarding. In fact, many children in Asia are trained with all kinds of techniques to separate the bones from the meat when they eat.

But sone of the most notable reasons are the health benefits. Eating meat this way provides more collagen, gelatin and glycine. These nutrients promote gut health

Collagen supports a healthy gut lining, and gelatin helps keep the layer of mucus so that gut microbes stay away from the intestinal barrier. These nutrients also strengthen our immune system and reduce overall inflammation.

"Meat on the bone retains a certain special flavour that is otherwise lost on the boneless kind."

However, they're not just good for you, they taste great, too. Meat on the bone retains a special flavour that is otherwise lost on the boneless kind. Stir-fry pork bones are one of my favourites, especially if they've been sparked with spices. 

Additionally, meat containing bones is usually cheaper, because butchers don't need to remove the bones.

I usually buy bones from our local butcher; they often keep some for us because we are loyal customers, and bones can sell quite quickly now, especially over the weekend.

It seems these days that it doesn't matter what culture you are from to enjoy meat on the bones.

Love the author? Follow Angie Cui on Twitter @angiecuiwrites.

Spice-packed pork bones

Serves 4


  • 4 pork bones
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 2 spring onions
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red bean curd sauce

1. Soak the pork bones overnight, make sure the blood completely leaves the bones.
2. Place the bones in a bowl, drain off the water and put them in a big frying pan.
3. Sprinkle the bones with the onion, garlic, salt, star anise and bay leaves.
4. Stir fry and flip the bones as often as possible. Pour in the vinegar and cooking wine in between.
5. Cover and cook on high, add 3-4 cups water if needed. Cook until the meat on the bones is tender, which is for about 1-2 hours.
6. Feel free to add chilli flakes and vegetables as you cook.

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