This is the signature dish of the Nyonya communities. It is cooked using very simple ingredients and is slightly sweet, with a hint of saltiness from the fermented salted beans. Some families add pieces of cabbage to this dish as well.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (25 votes)


  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms 
  • 800 g pork belly 
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped 
  • 50 g garlic, finely chopped 
  • 35 g fermented soya bean paste 
  • 1½ tbsp light soy sauce 
  • ½ tsp thick dark soy sauce 
  • 35 g palm sugar 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 2 waxy potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks 
  • 1 long red chilli, split, to garnish

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time overnight

You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.

Add enough water to shiitake mushrooms to cover. Soak overnight. Strain and reserve soaking water.

Cut pork belly into pieces, about 5 cm square. Add pork to a large pot of boiling water to blanch, then strain. Discard water.

Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan over a low heat. Add onion and stir-fry until translucent. Add garlic and continue to stir-fry until a light golden colour. Add fermented soya bean paste and stir-fry until aromatic and slightly dry. Reduce heat to very low.

Add pork, and light and dark soy sauces to wok and stir-fry for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, reserved soaking water, palm sugar, salt and potato. Top up with enough water to just cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a low heat, adding more water when necessary, for at least 2 hours or until pork is tender but still has some texture. Check seasoning and add more salt if desired. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with chilli and serve.