Sticky Oriental Pork Squares – Get the Good Plates Out!

Sticky Pork Cubes

Many, many years ago, my great aunt Anna passed away. She was on my mother’s side of the family and a pretty fantastic woman by all accounts. She left to my mother, (amongst other things), a fine bone china tea service. Despite my being only a callow youth at the time, I well remember the beautiful translucent cups and delicate plates. The story went that the only person to whom tea and cakes had been served on that set was the Archbishop of Armagh. Back in the day, he was a man of great influence in Irish society. Having such a service was a rare thing. We really didn’t appreciate it. It spent most of it’s life in our house gathering dust on a basement shelf. I tell you this because there needs to be a good reason for any Irish person to get the good plates out. This easy to cook oriental delight is a great reason. So, with distant memories of Great Aunt Anna’s tea service, I present you with Sticky Oriental Pork Squares

The ingredients list for this dish is short and sweet.

Sticky Pork

That’s all the ingredients. It’s hard to make too much of them.


  • 1 kilo of best pork belly, bones removed*
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon of palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds

*Get your butcher to remove the skin too, if you haven’t the wit or desire to do it yourself.

Skin the pork belly like I do in the picture. Don’t remove too much of the fat. Fat equals flavour.

Sticky Pork

Yes, if the Archbishop was visiting, I’d cook this for him.

Side note on quality pork belly; If you buy cheap, cement-cell reared pork, you shouldn’t waste your time making this dish. The meat will be awful, will probably fall apart and the end result will be pretty unappealing too. 

Slice the meat into 3cm (1 inch) cubes.

Sticky Pork

Quality pork looks lovely, even when skinned.

Side note on what to do with the skin: You could maker a sheet of crackling out of the skin. To do this, scald it with a kettle of boiling water. This will tense the skin. Rub it all over with salt and black pepper. Rub the skin side with a little oil. Roast it in a hot oven, skin side up until nice and crispy but not burned. This won’t take too long, keep an eye on it. When it’s cooked, let it cool and break it into shards. Enjoy. 

Place the pork cubes into a large pot of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain it and let it dry completely before frying it in a wok, using a little oil.

Sticky Pork (4 of 10)

The pork takes on a lovely white colour at this stage. It has also firmed up nicely too.

When the pork starts to brown at the edges, add the soy sauce and rice wine. Flame off the alcohol by tipping the wok to the flame. (This is fun to do and totally unnecessary as the alcohol will steam off as the wok heats.)

Sticky Pork (5 of 10)

The soy adds a lovely saltiness to the dish.

Stir the dish until the sauce thickens a little. Add the sugar and keep stirring. The sauce will thicken quickly and will start to coat the pork.

Sticky Pork (7 of 10)

Getting pretty sticky now.

When the sauce is almost glue-like, remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds, ring the Archbishop’s palace and invite him over. Remember to use the good dishes. Generations of Archbishops have been eating from fine bone china, or so I hear.

Sticky Pork (8 of 10)

The great pork served on the good china.

Footnote of admission: I have to come clean, I am guilty of having a ‘best’ dinner set too. It’s the one in the pictures. We bought it soon after we got married (over 30 years ago) and if we have used it a dozen times, that is about the height of it. Perhaps I should cook more of this delightful pork so I have an excuse to use it. The chances of the Archbish visiting here are pretty slim….

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  • That sounds delicious and the final result looks beautiful too!
    You are not the only ones with best china collecting dust – I bet at least half the population of the UK and Ireland have similar. I think the best should be used more often and enjoyed. Your set is quite pretty and definitely suits Chinese.

      • Oh dear – that’s a sorry time to get sick, though I think there’s been a lot of it about, this Christmas. I suppose, at least you’ve had a good seasonal opportunity to show the service off.
        Happy New year!

  • You do a lot of impressive Asian dishes. Who knew an Irishman had it in him? 😜 That glaze looks great and I’m sure it makes the meal. That last photo is straight out of a restaurant menu!

  • As a lover of both fine bone china and Asian cuisine, this slides right into my must try list. I’m with Mad Dog when comes to using one’s best dinnerware. I love to fix a simple but lovely dinner, plating it up on our finest Gustavsberg china, pour a nice wine in the crystal and burn some candles. Life’s too short not to enjoy. Conor thanks for the great images and recipe.

  • That looks delicious, my mouth is watering. We too have a ‘best’ dinner service which belonged to my late mother in law, a woman of exceptionally good taste. It comes out about three times a year, so I feel I’m ahead of you on porcelain points if not on recipes. 🙂

  • I’d get the good stuff out more often if I wasn’t so terminally clumsy… I have my mother’s Royal Doulton porcelain dinner plates, in their beautiful pale green and white Provençal pattern, but they’re just decorating the dresser, as I dare not get them down… Love the sound of that pork glaze, which I may have to try on another cut currently reposing in the freezer.

      • It’s also true to say that the ‘good’ stuff was never intended for daily use, and certainly not for the dishwasher. I’ll stick with my everyday, virtually unbreakable stuff unless there’s something really posh going on…

  • I think you hit a home run with this one – beautiful! I can just about smell it and taste it. Forget the Archbishop, I’m on my way over.

  • Oh Conor, I would probably eat this delight whilst still burning hot, straight out of the pan, jumping from foot to foot because of a burning mouth 🙂 ! Very simple indeed . . . .tho’ I use a slightly different recipe. Love the elegance of your crockery . . . use it more! Remember my future in-laws going to Japan whilst I was engaged . . . back came a full specially made crockery set with everything that opened-and-shut for 24. Similar in styling to yours: the Japanese copied well even then! One of the few things I managed to get in my divorce settlement!!! Well I use it every day and still love it . . . yes, a lot of things have been broken, but there was a lot to break 🙂 ! And I have enjoyed holding such beautiful items all my grown life . . . . that said, some dishes can’t wait to be plated!

  • Gorgeous meal on gorgeous dinnerware. Time to pull out the family heirlooms!

  • I was looking for your “flaming wok” shot, Conor! 😀 Wonderful recipe, and I’m completely admiring those lovely dishes. You definitely need to bring those out more often, not just for the blog. I would love to eat off those dishes, Archbishop history or not.

  • Yum, definitely giving this a go, always looking for wok inspiration. I have “best china” too, a wedding present from my English grandparents. It gets used a couple of times a year, but using it every day isn’t an option. The dishwasher would take of the gold and I’m dammed if I’m going to wash dishes after preparing meal

  • I’ve always rebelled against new clothes that shouldn’t be worn because they are new (how could you even break that loop). I use my best plates, best crystal wine glasses, and best silverware on a daily basis. They were expensive and I want to enjoy them. My grandfather grew up on a farm that had a salon (front room) that was only used to receive the priest. No arch bishop, I seem to have a more humble background.
    Lovely pork, Conor. It looks great on that china.

  • Oh to have a piece of pork like that…it just doesn’t happen in our small town.

  • Anything with sticky and pork is delicious and pork belly is one of my favorite cuts. What a great recipe for sharing and plated on beautiful china! 🙂

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