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Chinese dim sum dumplings in bamboo steamer basket

The kickoff of the Chinese New Year is only days away, which means the year of the pig is nearly upon us. The porcine zodiac sign comes but once every 12 years, so it only makes sense to celebrate this special occasion by pigging out on some hog. It just so happens that pork and Chinese cuisine go hand-in-hand and these recipes represent prime examples of pig-focused eats that will make you squeal with delight.

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Twice-Cooked Pork (Red-Braised Pork Belly)

Chinese Twice Cooked Pork recipe

Clare Barboza

It’s the pork so nice they cooked it twice.  The two-step process for this Sichuan favorite starts with a preparation of red-braised pork belly. The fatty, skin-on pork is braised in a fragrant mixture of star anise, ginger, garlic, and rice wine. The dish is good enough to eat on its own but reaches new heights when the pork is cooked again, this time getting the wok treatment. Get the Twice-Cooked Pork recipe.

Sweet and Sour Pork

sweet and sour pork recipe

Chowhound

Though it’s not traditionally prepared in China, sweet and sour pork has become a standard of American Chinese cuisine. This rendition, highlighted by chunks of deep-fried tenderloin, lives up to its name thanks to a ketchup-heavy sauce and the addition of fresh pineapple chunks. Get our Sweet and Sour Pork recipe.

Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Ground Pork

Chinese Eggplant with Ground Pork

Clare Barboza

This simple yet flavorful stir-fry pairs ground pork with tender sticks of Chinese eggplant, which is longer, thinner, and paler than the more familiar bulky, dark purple variety common in U.S. supermarkets. If you want to shake things up while keeping it in the pig family, Chinese sausage and bacon are worthy substitutes to the ground pork. Get the Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Ground Pork recipe.

Char Siu Chinese BBQ Pork

China Sichuan Food

Sweet and sticky char siu with its signature red hue is a staple of Cantonese BBQ. This version, modified for the home, uses pork butt (a.k.a. shoulder), which is marinated for at least 24 hours and then roasted until tender. Get the Char Siu Chinese BBQ Pork recipe.

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)

The Woks of Life

Take advantage of your leftover char siu with this dim sum staple. Known in China as char siu bao, these filling buns stuffed with chopped BBQ pork are steamed to fluffy perfection. If you don’t own a bamboo steamer, here’s an excuse to buy one. Get the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao) recipe.

Pork Shiu Mai Dumplings

Fine Cooking

If you’ve got a big party on the horizon (perhaps an Oscars celebration?), these mouthwatering steamed pork dumplings will come in handy. This particular recipe utilizes premade shu mai or wonton wrappers so you can sidestep all the aggravation of making the dough from scratch. The filling is simple to prepare, anchored by a delectable mix of ground pork, cabbage, scallions, and cilantro. If you end up with some extra dumplings, no worries. They can easily be frozen and stored for up to a month. Get the Pork Dumplings recipe.

Minced Pork Noodles

Grits and Chopsticks

Also known as zha jiang mian, minced pork noodles showcase a rich, earthy flavor thanks to the addition of sweet bean paste (tianmianjang) and shiro miso. A topping of fresh, crunchy vegetables helps round out the noodles, which take less than 40 minutes to prepare, making this an ideal weeknight meal. Get the Minced Pork Noodles recipe.   

Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs

Omnivore’s Cookbook

Lion’s head meatballs—so named because they resemble the head of a Chinese guardian lion—are a popular snack across China. While there are several variations of the dish, this particular version is steamed, providing a healthier option without sacrificing flavor. The secret is blending a hearty dose of breadcrumbs and chestnuts with the ground pork. The finished meatballs are ample in size but moist and tender. Serve over rice and with a side of greens. Get the Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs recipe.

‘1-2-3-4-5-6’ One-Pot Chinese Ribs

One-Pot Chinese Pork Ribs recipe

Tasty

It takes only six ingredients and a single pot to pull off these addictive pork ribs. A 90-minute simmer yields tender, fall-off-the-bone meat bathed in a luscious sweet-and-savory sauce. Make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand. Get the One-Pot Chinese Ribs recipe.

Crispy Pork Belly

RecipeTin Eats

The trick to perfecting this classic Chinese specialty highlighted by a layer of crispy, crackling skin is in two simple steps. The first involves poking several holes in the skin to ensure it puffs up while cooking. The second requires roasting the pork belly under a layer of rock salt. The result is pure porky perfection—the combination of the unctuous flesh and crunchy skin simply can’t be beat. Get the Crispy Pork Belly recipe.

Ready to wok? Check out our guide to Essential Chinese Cooking Tools for Homemade Chinese Food.

Related Video: Chinese New Year Cooking with Grandma Ruby

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