Mei Cai Kou Rou – Steam Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard

by | Last updated Feb 7, 2021 | Chinese Recipe, Pork Recipe, Recipe

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Mei Cai Kou Rou is one of the Hakka people’s signatures dishes, it is steamed pork belly with Chinese Preserved Mustard vegetables. The layers of fats literally melt in your mouth pair with an aromatic sauce that would definitely make you want an extra bowl of rice!
mei cai kou rou recipe

What is Mei Cai

Mei Cai is a type of pickled Chinese mustard of the Hakka people from, Guangdong, China. The pickle is made from the whole head of Chinese mustard vegetables, which are dried, salted, and steamed. They are then left to ferment in large clay urns for about 15 to 20 days. Due to their strong aroma, they are used to flavor stewed and steamed dishes. There is another type of similar pork belly dish from Zhejiang but are stewed instead of steamed.

Types of Mei Cai

Please note that there are a few types of Mei Cai. In general, there is dried mei cai, sweet mei cai, and salted mei cai.

I have attached some pictures below for your reference.

dried mei cai

Dried Mei Cai

sweet mei cai

Sweet Mei Cai

salted mei cai

Salted Mei Cai (note that they are covered with salt)


For this recipe, we will be using the Salted Mei Cai

Author have a say…

Following the ZheJiang style of stewing it, this Hakka Mei Cai Kou Rou is one of the Hakka people’s signature dishes. It is steamed which results in a gravy-rich bowl of pork belly goodness! This recipe will not fail you!

Source  :  Wiki

Mei Cai Kou Rou Recipe - Chinese Preserved Mustard Steamed Pork Belly

mei cai kou rou recipe
Ethan Wong
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5 from 2 votes

Be sure to use the salted Mei Cai for the right flavor, otherwise your Mei Cai Kou Rou will out of balance. Besides that, pick a good soy sauce and a good shao xing wine brand.
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Difficulty Tough
Servings 3 people


  • 400 g Pork Belly (with skin)
  • 200 g Salted Chinese Preserved Mustard
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shap Xing Wine
  • 1 tsp Thick Soy Sauce
  • Spring Onion (for garnish)
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  • For the pork belly, blanch whole slab of pork belly for 10 minutes. Transfer to cold bath before sear.
  • To sear pork belly, preheat cooking oil in a pan. Turn off heat and add blanched pork belly in. Sear pork belly at medium heat and use the pan cover to protect yourself from popping hot oil. Sear all sides until you have crispy edges. Remove from heat,
  • To cut pork belly, cut pork belly into approximately 3 inches (H) x 4 inches (W) x 1/2 inches (T).
  • For the Chinese preserved mustard, rinse off the salt in a bowl of water twice. Then soak in water for 2 hours or more. After soaking, remove from water and cut into uniform sizes.
  • Mix sugar, soy sauce, shao xing wine, and thick soy sauce. Dissolve the sugar and then mix evenly with pork belly.
  • Prepare a bowl with a depth of 4 inches or more.
  • Begin placing pork belly, skin side down, piece by piece into the bowl.
  • Once you have them neatly place in the bowl, cover the pork belly with Chinese Preserved Mustard.
  • Then in a heap, pour in all the marinade.
  • Use your hand and press downwards to squeeze in any gap/fillings.


  • To steam, make sure the water is at full boil.
  • Steam pork belly for 90 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and remove pork belly from steamer.


  • Pour the gravy into another container while using a spoon to prevent any Chinese Preserved Mustard from falling out.
  • To remove the pork belly from the hot bowl, place a piece of cloth underneath the hot bowl, then place your serving plate (use a deep curve plate) to cover the bowl.
  • Flip over so now the plate is below while the hot bowl is on top.
  • Gently remove the hot bowl upwards leaving the steamed pork belly and preserved mustard on the plate.
  • Pour a generous amount of gravy over the pork belly.
  • Garnish with julienne spring onion and serve!



Calories : 757kcalCarbohydrates : 14gProtein : 14gFat : 71gSaturated Fat : 26gCholesterol : 96mgSodium : 378mgPotassium : 344mgSugar : 13gVitamin C : 1mgCalcium : 7mgIron : 1mg
Allergy : Meat
*These Nutritional Values have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
Keyword Chinese Mustard Steamed Pork, Mei Cai Kou Rou, Mei Cai Kou Rou Recipe, Pork Belly, Pork Belly Recipe

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  1. Promedos.Com

    Season pork belly: Season the pork belly with salt and leave it in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours, or overnight if possible.

  2. Susan

    5 stars
    Hi, what’s the difference in sweet and salted meicai for this dish?
    My aunt used to cook meicai Teochew style but she’s gone and I never knew if it’s sweet or salted meicai that she used and would like to tap on your expertise.
    Appreciate your help, thanks!

    • Ethan Wong

      You need to use the salted one for this dish.
      The sweet one could not bring out the flavor intended for this dish.


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