Pork 29: Wok “Roasted” Pork (鍋燒肉)

“Boil the pork with its skin on until done, then pan-fry it with sesame oil in the wok. Cut the pork into pieces and serve with salt. Alternatively the pork can be eaten dipped in light soy sauce.


A dish of Chinese roasted pork with crisp crackling and tender meat. Wok likely not involved here, but results would have been similar. (Credit: avlxyz)

The Cantonese excel at all manners of roasted and grilled pork items. Part of this is no doubt because of skill, but some of it is also due to the specialized equipment they use. For instance, items such as shaorou (燒肉, lit. broiled/roasted pork), which involves roasting the whole animal, are almost always prepared using custom built ovens. This ensures that the pork skin turns into crisp crackling while the meat remains juicy and tender.

Yuan Mei’s “wok roasted pork” probably allows for cooking smaller portions of pork but still achieving the same delectably textured skin and meat as roasting a whole pig. Actually, the “roasting” part of the dish’s name is a bit of a misnomer, since the technique is just boiling and pan-frying pork. Nevertheless, boiling in water would have kept the meat moist and frying in sesame oil would have turned the skin into fragrant golden brown crackling.

As such, although it is not technically roasted, the resulting dish would have been just as delicious.


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