Braised Pork Belly (Chashu)

Braised pork belly, also known as chashu, is pork belly which is rolled up, tied with twine to hold its shape, and then braised until tender.  It can be sliced after cooking and used to top ramen, as a delicious cold cut, or used as an ingredient in other dishes such as pork fried rice or soup.

Chashu is best known as the delicious pork slices that top off ramen, but it is also used in fried rice, soups, or special sandwiches known as kakunimanju.

Kakunimanju- Chashu Sandwiches

Braising is the process of cooking a dish over both dry and wet heat.  Braised pork belly is prepared by rolling up the pork belly and then frying over high heat.  Once the pork has been fried, a sweet and savory sauce is added and the pork cooks for three hours allowing the flavors to soak in.  After cooking the roast marinated in the reduced sauce overnight which allows it to further absorb the juices.

Braised Pork Belly

Pork belly, like bacon, is extremely fatty and even after the roast is complete, you may choose to further fry, roast or broil the meat to crisp the fat up a bit, depending on how you want to use it.  Chashu is also used as an ingredient in soup stock where you want to infuse the flavor of pork in the stock.

Braised Pork Belly

Savory chashu is made by rolling up pork belly and braising it in sauce so that the meat soaks up the sauce while cooking. Using this cooking method allows the pork to remain moist and tender while absorbing the flavors of garlic, ginger, onion, sake, mirin and soy sauce.

Chashu takes about three hours to cook, after which it needs to cool and then marinade in the refrigerator overnight. So it’s a lot of work, but that work will be rewarded when you have a delicious pork belly, poached with flavor and ready to slice.

Braising the meat rends the fat, so you can freeze the chashu and reuse it at a later time.

20 mins 3 hours
PREP 20 mins
COOKING 3 hours


  • 2 3/4 pounds pork belly (1.25kg)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil (50ml)
  • 2 cups water (400ml) + 2 cups (400ml)
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce (150ml)
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake (100ml)
  • 1/4 cup mirin (50ml)
  • 1/2 oz fresh ginger (15ml), peeled and cut into four pieces.
  • 1 leek, cut into 4 or 5 pieces.
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in two. (Not shown below)


  • Before cooking, remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Tenderize the meat using a tenderizing mallet.  This will make it easier to roll up.

  • Roll up the pork belly tightly.  Tie it up with cooking thread to ensure that it holds its shape while cooking.

  • Add the oil to a stock pot.  Heat to medium high and add the rolled pork.  Brown on all sides.

  • Drain the oil.
  • Add all the ingredients except for two cups of water to the pot.

  • Bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Cover and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover, turn the pork, add one cup of water, cover it again and continue cooking on medium heat for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Uncover, turn the pork, add one cup of water, cover it again and continue cooking on medium heat for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove the cover.  Continue to cook the pork uncovered for 15 minutes over medium heat while allowing the sauce to reduce.  Baste the top occasionally with the juices from the sauce.
  • Turn and continue to cook uncovered over medium heat for 15 more minutes.  Continue to baste the top of the meat occasionally.
  • Cover, turn down to low, and simmer for 1  hour, turning every 20 minutes.

  • Remove from heat.  Allow to cool for 30-45 minutes.  Remove the pork from the pot and in a large plastic sealable bag.

  • Gently pour off the fat which will have risen to the top of the drippings.  The remaining drippings should be thick and tarry looking.  Add the drippings into the plastic bag with the pork.  Seal, put in the refrigerator, and marinate overnight.
  • When the pork comes out of the refrigerator it is ready to be sliced and served.  Save marinade for reheating.  Rinse in water and remove the thread before slicing.

  • Slice into thin slices for ramen, thicker slices to serve ala carte, or dice for fried rice.

  • Leftovers can be frozen.


  • Chashu can be reheated in the marinade before serving. This imparts some additional flavor and color through the meat.
  • Chashu can be frozen for several months in the freezer and then thawed out in the refrigerator prior to using.  I usually add some drippings to the freezer bag and then use them when I am ready to reheat the meat.
  • A single two and a half pound piece of pork belly will yield about 20 thin slices of cooked chashu.


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