Pork belly

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Pork belly
Samgyeopsal 3.jpg
Uncooked pork belly
Nutritional value per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,456 kJ (348 kcal)
8 g
26.4 g
15.8 g

Source: [1]

Pork belly is a boneless cut of fatty meat[2] from the belly of a pig. Pork belly is popular in East Asian, European and North American cuisine.

Regional variations[edit]

This cut of meat is enormously popular in Chinese, Korean and Philippine cuisine.


Chinese braised pork belly

In Chinese cuisine, pork belly (Chinese: 五花肉; pinyin: wǔhuāròu) is usually diced, browned, then slowly braised with skin on, or sometimes marinated and cooked as a whole slab. Pork belly is used to make Slowly Braised Pork Belly (红烧肉) or Dongpo pork (东坡肉) in China (Sweet and Sour Pork is made with pork fillet).


In Colombian cuisine pork belly strips are fried and served as part of bandeja paisa (chicharrón).


In Alsatian cuisine, pork belly is used to make choucroute garnie.


In German cuisine, pork belly is used to make schlachtplatte.


Pancetta is made from pork belly.


In Okinawan cuisine, rafute is traditionally eaten for longevity.


Koreans cook Samgyeopsal on a grill with garlic, often accompanied by soju.

Pork belly
Samgyeopsal (pork belly).jpg
samgyeopsal (pork belly)
Korean name
Hangul 삼겹살
Hanja 三겹살
Revised Romanization samgyeopsal
McCune–Reischauer samgyŏpsal

Samgyeopsal (삼겹살; Korean pronunciation: [samɡjʌps͈al]) is a popular Korean dish that is commonly served as an evening meal. It consists of thick, fatty slices of pork belly meat. The meat, usually neither marinated nor seasoned, is cooked on a grill at the diners’ table. Usually diners grill the meat themselves and eat directly from a grill. It is typically served with ssamjang (Korean: 쌈장), vegetables, and lettuce leaves to wrap it in.[3][4]


The literal meaning of the word is “three (sam; Korean: 삼(三)) layered (gyeop; Korean: ) flesh (sal; Korean: )”, referring to what appears to be three layers that are visible in the meat. One can also find ogyeopsal (Korean: 오겹살), with o meaning “five”.

Popularity in Korea[edit]


According to a 2006 survey by Agricultural Cooperatives in Korea (Korean: 농업협동조합), 85% of South Korean adults surveyed stated their favorite pork is samgyeopsal.[5] The survey also showed 70% of recipients eat the meat at least once a week. The high popularity of samgyeopsal makes it one of the most expensive parts of pork. South Korea imports wholesale samgyeopsal from Belgium, the Netherlands, and other countries for the purpose of price stabilization as imported pork is much cheaper than domestic.

The South Korean government planned to import 70,000 t of samgyeopsal with no tariff in the second half year of 2011. Thus, importation of samgyeopsal was expected to expand.

Samgyeopsal is popularly consumed both at restaurants and at home, and also used as an ingredient for other Korean dishes, such as kimchi jjigae.


The most common accompaniments for samgyeopsal are lettuce (sangchu; Korean: 상추) and sliced raw garlic, but very often the meat is served with other accompaniments, such as perilla leaves (kkaennip; Korean: 깻잎), sliced green chili peppers, shredded green onions, sliced raw onions, and aged kimchi (mugeunji; Korean: 묵은지). Garlic, onions, and kimchi can be either grilled with the meat or consumed raw with the cooked meat. Mushrooms, such as button mushrooms or oyster mushrooms, are also grilled with the meat.

Dipping sauce[edit]

Samgyeopsal is almost always served with at least two kinds of dipping sauces. One is ssamjang (Korean: 쌈장), a paste consisting of chili paste (gochujang; Korean: 고추장), soybean paste (doenjang; Korean: 된장), sesame oil (Korean: 참기름), and other ingredients; the other is gireumjang (Korean: 기름장), made with salt and sesame oil, sometimes also with a small amount of black pepper. Usually ssamjang is used when a diner eats samgyeopsal with vegetable accompaniments, and gireumjang when a diner wants to taste the cooked meat itself.


Prior to consumption, the large slice of the pork belly is cut into smaller pieces with scissors. A common way to consume samgyeopsal is to place a slice of the cooked meat on a leaf of lettuce or a perilla leaf or both, with some cooked rice and ssamjang, and to roll it up in the leaf and eat it. It is usually called sangchu-ssam (Korean: 상추쌈). Cooked rice and other foods wrapped in Korean lettuce can also be called sangchu-ssam. Any combination of the vegetable accompaniments mentioned above can be added to the roll according to preference, the most popular is sliced garlic. Many people also add in kimchi, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and grilled onions. Usually, different types of banchan are added. Part of the reason so many people enjoy this food is they can customize it to their liking.

A recent trend in Korea is to serve palsaek samgyeopsal (Korean: 팔색 삼겹살)[6] literally meaning "eight colour pork belly", also known as "rainbow pork", where belly pork is marinated in eight different flavors. Common marianades include ginseng, wine, pine needles, garlic, herb, curry, soy bean paste and hot pepper sauce. Diners are invited to start with lighter flavors and progress to the strongest tasting.


In Philippine cuisine, pork belly (Filipino: liyempo) is marinated in a mixture of crushed garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper before being grilled. It is then served with soy sauce and vinegar (toyo’t suka) or vinegar with garlic (bawang at suka). Pork belly prepared this way is called inihaw in Filipino and sinugba in Cebuano. Seasoned pork belly deep-fried and served chopped into pieces is called lechon kawali.


In Swiss cuisine, pork belly is used to make the Berner Platte.

United Kingdom[edit]

In British cuisine pork belly is primarily cooked using two methods. For slow roast pork belly the meat is baked at a moderate temperature for up to three hours to tenderise it, coupled with periods of approximately twenty minutes at a high temperature at the beginning or end of the cooking period to harden off the rind or 'crackling'. This is often accompanied by a sweet chilli baste or sauce. For barbecued belly pork the meat is seasoned and slow cooked in a pan by indirect heat on a covered barbecue, on a bed of mixed vegetables to which apple cider is added. Heat is again varied to produce tender meat with hard crackling. Pork belly is also used in the UK to make "streaky" bacon.

United States[edit]

In the United States, bacon is most often made from pork bellies, as is salt pork, which is commonly used for making soups and stews.


The pork belly futures contract became an icon of futures and commodities trading. It is frequently used as a pars pro toto for commodities in general and appears in several depictions of the arena in popular entertainment (such as the 1974 movie For Pete's Sake, the 1983 movie Trading Places, and the 1991 cartoon "Ren and Stimpy").[7] Inaugurated on August 18, 1961 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), frozen pork belly futures were developed as a risk management device to meet the needs of meat packers who processed pork and had to contend with volatile hog prices, as well as price risks on processed products held in inventory. The futures contracts were useful in guiding inventories and establishing forward pricing. The unit of trading was 20 short tons (40,000 lb or 18,000 kg) of frozen, trimmed bellies. (Bellies typically weigh around 6 kg (13 lb).) Pork bellies can be kept in cold storage for an extended period of time, and generally it was the frozen bellies that were most actively traded. Spot prices varied depending on the amount of inventory in cold storage and the seasonal demand for bacon as well as the origin of the pork; in the past, the former drove the prices of the futures as well.

In more recent years pork belly futures' prominence declined; eventually they were among the least-traded contracts on the CME, and were delisted for trading on July 18, 2011.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Korean Standard Food Composition Table, 8th Revision". National Institute of Agricultural Sciences. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Smith et al "Factors Affecting Desirability of Bacon and Commercially-Processed Pork Bellies," J. Anim Sci. 1975. 41:54-65.
  3. ^ "Hansik, Must-Eat Foods" Visit Seoul
  4. ^ "40 Korean foods we can't live without" CNN Travel
  5. ^ [1] 2006 ACK Survey
  6. ^ "The new colour thing: Korean rainbow pork" The Star Newspaper, Malaysia
  7. ^ a b Monica Davey (30 July 2011), "Trade in Pork Bellies Comes to an End, but the Lore Lives", New York Times, retrieved 16 May 2016 
  8. ^ Garner, Carley (January 13, 2010). "A Crash Course in Commodities". A Trader's First Book on Commodities. FT Press. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 

Steele.J (2014, February 28)The Korean Blog:Blogging Korea,Sharing Experience. ZenKimchi. (2006, June 28) The Korean Food Journal. Sue. (2007, January 24) My Korean Kitchen. Oh. (2012, January) Asian- Australasian Journal of Animal Science.

External links[edit]