Oriental Pork Ribs – Globalisation Is Good!

As Oriental as they get.

Globalisation is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that it introduces us all to foods and flavours from all points on the compass. It also has a very annoying habit of promoting fake food. Many Brits are shocked when they discover that the most popular Indian dish in Great Britain the ‘classic’ Chicken Tika Masala is English not Indian. Tempura is Portuguese and Sauerkraut hails back to the building of the Great Wall, not a German in sight. Not that any of these are fakes they are just misunderstood. The fakes are in the ranges of foods like the Tex Mex crud of which any Texan would be ashamed or the Oriental sauces that sell themselves by combining fake flavouring with too much sugar. We buy it because it has a picture of a junk  and  some vaguely oriental looking text on the label. Thats globalisation for you.

Now, I wouldn’t do that you, so here’s a recipe for Oriental Pork Ribs that uses real Oriental ingredients. I drift into the reals of globalised victim as I serve them with sweet potato chips. The only positives we can take from that is that I know I am not being authentic and they taste great together.

From left to right France, Madagascar, Japan, China and Ireland in front, as is right.


  • One slab of pork belly (free range, good quality) about 2 kilo
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (Yes, it’s Oriental)
  • 1 tablespoon of fermented bean curd (as Oriental as it gets)
  • Black pepper to season

Skin the belly and keep the skin for making some pork scratchings (a British contribution to global culinary excellence).

The skin can make some lovely crackling too.

Cut the belly, between the ribs, into chunky, meaty pieces. I suppose these are really not ribs. But, in the spirit of this post, we’ll call them that.

Belly or ribs? You decide.

Add the various marinade ingredients to a bowl and stir them to combine. The fermented bean curd is pretty potent. Don’t be put off.

That bean curd certainly smells like nothing from around these parts.

Pour the mixture over the ribs and stir to coat every bit of them.

This is a gloopy mess of a sauce.

Cover (cover very well, they stink!) and leave in the fridge for a few hours or preferably overnight.

They do have a lovely colour though.

Cook on the barbecue or in a 200ºC oven. Serve with sweet potato chips (also oven cooked).

As Oriental as they get.

These are really delicious. They are meaty, tasty and you will eat more than you might think. I enjoyed mine with a glass of dry English cider. It was probably made with Irish apples. That’s globalisation for you.

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  • Your ribs look delicious! I had some genuine Jack Daniels cider yesterday, made in Belgium – who knows where their apples come from. My Kent farmer sometimes sells his surplus apples to Stella Artois for their genuine Belgian cider…

      • It is quite ridiculous – I would love to see everything correctly labeled by origin and not place of tampering.

        • Amen, Mad Dog!

        • In Australia, we’ve just started labelling all packaged foods by its percentage of Australianness, and whether it’s produced or only packaged here. It’s been an eye-opener, I can tell you, and manufacturers are scrambling to correct their on-pack claims now that they have to be accurate. Seasonal produce is exempt because of supply chain difficulties in always declaring correct provenance, but displays have to give origin anyway.

          • Oh Kate, I have so welcomed this move! Don’t know how much the ‘average’ shopper will look, but perchance more than the ordinary label long present stating what exactly is in a given packaged item/

          • It’s certainly much easier to make informed choices, and the icon is very user friendly, so a good thing all round, I think.

  • Funny how something that smells appalling can taste wonderful. I’m thinking specifically of shrimp paste here… That’s an extremely handsome set of ribs (stop blushing, man, I’m talking about the pork), and sweet potato chips is an inspired accompaniment.

  • These look great, any recommendations on where to buy the fermented bean curd?

  • Cheers Conor I’ll look online.

  • Any recommended cooking time?

  • Fermented tofu opens a whole new world of funk! You are much more brave than I. I’m finding that the older I get, the more I notice “unusual” smells and tastes and the less I seem to be able to enjoy them, unfortunately.

    Today being Independence Day in the US, provides a great excuse to barbecue some ribs! 😉

  • What a delightfully simple but no doubt oomph recipe. So agree with you about some of the globalization aspects one meets . . . . that said am grinning about the kumera fries 🙂 ! Well . . . not for me perhaps . . . . must say am smiling as widely about your take on Tex-Mex as the ubiquitous tika masala . . . .

  • Any replacement for The Bean Curd ?? Specially if it may be difficult to get in this part of the world…

  • We don’t care so much for actual ribs, but these pork belly strips are great! Cutting the pork belly that way before cooking ensures the marinade gets everywhere, so more flavor. I suppose you could even get pork belly with some ribs still attached. Great flavors with lots of umami (which autocorrect wanted to change into Miami).

  • Oooh yummy sticky ribs! I’d eat those in a heartbeat, who cares about the source of ingredients! Now is my mind deceiving me, or do I see bones sticking out of the boneless ribs in that last shot?

    • If I may be so bold and rude as to ask, do you not think that your country’s credit balance, when it is somewhat in your making, is somewhat for which you are responsible? Or the huge importance of where and how your food [consumption] is grown and produced? Or how healthy that production may be or how well the workers paid for its production may be paid? I DO care!!!

  • Authentic or not this does sound delicious. And yes I have all the ingredients. (Though I don’t blog about it, I’m an avid admirer of the cuisines of China.)

    What you say about fake food resonates with me, as I look around and see what passes as “Italian” here in the US and elsewhere. My Mexican friends are aghast at what passes for their cooking here—and they consider “real” Tex-Mex as little more than a ripoff of their cooking, but that’s another debate, I suppose…

  • Made this for lunch today – was absolutely delicious. Thanks so much for the healthy, tasty recipes.

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