How can we say no to crispy pork belly? Each piece of crispy pork belly contains the crunchy pig skin, rich fat, and flavorful lean meat, all combined into a perfect bite that bursts in your mouth. There are many crispy pork belly recipes; in this post, I’m going to introduce a Vietnamese crispy pork belly recipe (Heo Quay) that is both easy and tasty.

Vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay

Vietnamese Crispy Pork Belly, or Heo Quay, appears to have originated from Cantonese crispy pork belly, known for its super-crispy skin after baking. A special mixture of condiments is also applied to give the meat a unique taste. While the condiment is not compulsory, if you are not familiar with the strong flavors of soy sauce and five-spice powder, you can skip it and focus on mastering the technique of creating the crispy skin.

How to successfully make crispy pork belly?

The key to achieving even crispy pork skin after baking lies in how you prepare the pork skin. To make it “explode” and become super crispy, pay attention to three things. Firstly, you must keep it as dry as possible. Secondly, a mixture of vinegar and salt can help. Finally, carefully pricking all over the skin will result in an even crispy texture for the skin.

Vietnamese Crispy Pork Belly Recipe

  • 750g-1kg pork belly with skin
  • Vinegar 5% or vinegar 7%
  • Salt
  • Baking powder (optional)

Marinade (optional):

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp five-spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instruction

Step 1. Preparing The Pork Skin

  • Boil 100-200ml of water, 1 tsp of vinegar, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a saucepan to blanch the pork skin. When the water boils, place the pork skin in and blanch for about 2-3 minutes. Ensure that the water only covers the pork skin, not the meat. If there is too much water, pour some out (as shown in the picture below).
  • After blanching, turn the skin side up. Use a bunch of toothpicks or a fork to prick the pork skin, then pat it dry. Repeat these steps 2-3 times until the skin is evenly pricked and completely dry.
vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
  • Prepare a tray, mix 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of vinegar to soak the pork skin for 5-10 minutes. Then, pat it dry again. Remember to always keep the skin dry because this is the key to crispy pork skin.

Step 2. Marinating The Pork Belly

  • Mix salt, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and pepper together until all combined into a dark brown mixture.
  • Make some cuts on the pork belly in order to let the condiment absorb better, as well as to cut the meat more easily once done. Wear gloves and massage the meat with the condiment mixture you have prepared.
vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
  • After marinating, wrap your pork belly in foil by lying the pork belly on a cutting board with the skin underneath and place a large piece of foil on top. Wrap the foil around the meat tightly and carefully fold the edges inward to avoid hand cutting. Then, flip the pork belly and pat dry the skin one more time. 

Step 3. Drying The Skin

  • Air-dry the pork skin with a fan for 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight. The purpose of this step is to let the pork skin dry as much as possible. If you want to save time waiting for the skin to dry, you can try using baking powder. Mix 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp 5% vinegar (or 1 tsp 7% vinegar) together. Apply this mixture once and wait for 20 minutes to let it dry, then apply again and wait for 10 minutes. Pat it dry and prick it the last time.
  • Air-dry with a fan or dry at 100oC (212 oF) in the oven for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
Pork Belly after being dried for 30 minutes.

Step 4. Baking the Pork Belly

  • Once the pork skin is dry, apply a thin layer of oil on the skin. If possible, you should wrap the edges with foil to prevent it from being burnt too much, then put it in the oven. Bake at 180oC for 45 minutes, top heat only. If the skin has not exploded evenly, bake the second time at 230oC for 30 minutes with both top and bottom heat.
vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
  • Remove the pork belly from the oven and let it cool down a bit. Then, gently cut it into bite-size pieces to enjoy. The dipping sauce can be simply soy sauce, fish sauce, ketchup, or chili sauce.

Storing and Reheating Crispy Pork Belly

The thing is, we always want to keep the pork belly crispy for as long as possible. After enjoying warm, crispy pork belly right away, you should let the rest cool down completely and store it in an airtight container, at room temperature (for a short time) or in the fridge (for a maximum of 2 days). To restore the crispiness, you must reheat your pork belly by baking it again or air-frying it at 180°C for 10 minutes. Always keep an eye on it while reheating to prevent over-baking. So, if you apply salt and vinegar on the skin, prick it carefully, and let it dry completely, you’ll definitely get crispy pork belly at home. Also, follow the baking temperature guide to achieve the best texture and crispiness.

Vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay

Vietnamese Crispy Pork Belly (Heo Quay)

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Among many crispy pork belly recipes, this is Vietnamese crispy pork belly recipe (Heo Quay) that is both easy and tasty.

Ingredients

  • 750g-1kg pork belly with skin
  • Vinegar 5% or vinegar 7%
  • Salt
  • Baking powder (optional)

Marinade (optional)

Instructions

Step 1. Preparing The Pork Skin

  • Boil 100-200ml of water, 1 tsp of vinegar, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a saucepan to blanch the pork skin. When the water boils, place the pork skin in and blanch for about 2-3 minutes. Ensure that the water only covers the pork skin, not the meat. If there is too much water, pour some out (as shown in the picture below).crispy pork belly
  • After blanching, turn the skin side up. Use a bunch of toothpicks or a fork to prick the pork skin, then pat it dry. Repeat these steps 2-3 times until the skin is evenly pricked and completely dry.vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
  • Prepare a tray, mix 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of vinegar to soak the pork skin for 5-10 minutes. Then, pat it dry again. Remember to always keep the skin dry because this is the key to crispy pork skin.vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay

Step 2. Marinating The Pork Belly

  • Mix salt, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and pepper together until all combined into a dark brown mixture.vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
  • Make some cuts on the pork belly in order to let the condiment absorb better, as well as to cut the meat more easily once done. Wear gloves and massage the meat with the condiment mixture you have prepared.vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
  • After marinating, wrap your pork belly in foil by lying the pork belly on a cutting board with the skin underneath and place a large piece of foil on top. Wrap the foil around the meat tightly and carefully fold the edges inward to avoid hand cutting. Then, flip the pork belly and pat dry the skin one more time. vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay

Step 3. Drying The Skin

  • Air-dry the pork skin with a fan for 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight. The purpose of this step is to let the pork skin dry as much as possible. If you want to save time waiting for the skin to dry, you can try using baking powder. Mix 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp 5% vinegar (or 1 tsp 7% vinegar) together. Apply this mixture once and wait for 20 minutes to let it dry, then apply again and wait for 10 minutes. Pat it dry and prick it the last time.vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
  • Air-dry with a fan or dry at 100oC (212 oF) in the oven for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay

Step 4. Baking the Pork Belly

  • Once the pork skin is dry, apply a thin layer of oil on the skin. If possible, you should wrap the edges with foil to prevent it from being burnt too much, then put it in the oven. Bake at 180oC for 45 minutes, top heat only. If the skin has not exploded evenly, bake the second time at 230oC for 30 minutes with both top and bottom heat.vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
  • Remove the pork belly from the oven and let it cool down a bit. Then, gently cut it into bite-size pieces to enjoy. The dipping sauce can be simply soy sauce, fish sauce, ketchup, or chili sauce.Vietnamese crispy pork belly heo quay
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 150g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 780

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