Vietnamese Thit Heo Quay – No Fail Crispy Crunchy Pork Belly Recipe

Video heo quay recipe

In this post, learn how to make crispy, crunchy Vietnamese pork belly called Thit Heo Quay. It is an absolute favorite that is sure to be a crowd pleaser at dinner and at potlucks!

Thit Heo Quay, a crispy pork belly dish, could be considered the 8th wonder of the world. It is truly a Vietnamese dish that is out of this world.

If you’ve visited any Asian or Chinatown market that has an embedded restaurant, you are sure to run into the smell of crispy roast pork showcased in a cart window somewhere. Crispy, crunchy roast pork is absolutely delicious. It has incredible flavor when done right.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Making Vietnamese crispy pork belly is an art form that takes a few tries to complete successfully. Once you start hearing the crackling sound of the skin start popping, you will be soon validated with the delicious taste and textures of the crispiness of the pork belly skin followed by the juiciness of the meat. Pairing this with jasmine rice makes the meal impeccably delectable.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Thit Heo Quay is a Vietnamese dish made from pork belly where the skin is roasted until crispy and crunchy. It is a beloved dish that is served often at family gatherings, dinner parties, and family celebrations.

The hallmark characteristic of Thit Heo Quay is its bubbly, crispy, brown pork skin with it’s flavorful, juicy meat.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

After perfecting my recipe for this dish over the last few decades, I’m sharing my fail-proof recipe. There are various ways to make this dish and every Vietnamese household has their own way of doing it. It’s a dish you’ll learn to perfect over time, but you don’t have try that hard with my recipe I am sharing with you. My no-fail recipe showcases a beautiful, crispy pork that is poofy and seasoned better than restaurant and Asian market version crispy pork with the juiciness you know and love. As an added benefit, my recipe also allows you to not have the smokey odor of pork meat permeating through your house as well.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

While it may look hard to achieve the beautiful roast on this pork belly, my recipe is fairly simple with just a few tips you need to know. This is my absolute favorite way to make Thit Heo Quay, the Vietnamese pork belly dish that you all know and love.

All About Thit Heo Quay

Thit Heo Quay is a popular Vietnamese meat dish, and it’s attraction most is the crispy pork skin that provides a crunch and the juicy meat of the pork belly with the flavor.

Where did Thit Heo Quay originate from?

Thit Heo Quay is a Vietnamese dish that has its origins from the Chinese. It was then adapted in Vietnam, and has become a prominent staple in Vietnamese culture.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

What does Thit Heo Quay taste like?

Thit Heo Quay is a flavorful pork belly dish. It has a crispy and crunchy layer, with a juicy fat layer, followed by a seasoned meat. This crispy and crunchy pork belly dish is often served with rice, fresh herbs, and vegetables. It is often dipped in nuoc mam, a sweet fish sauce recipe.

What are other names for Thit Heo Quay?

Thit Heo Quay has been adapted over several Indochina regions, so you’ll often see forms of this recipe referred to as:

  • Crispy pork belly slices
  • Vietnamese crispy pork belly
  • Roast Pork Chinese style
  • Chinese roast pork loin
  • Thai crispy pork belly recipe
  • Crispy braised pork belly five spice
  • Asian crispy pork belly
  • Cantonese Roast Pork Belly
  • Crunchy crispy pork belly
  • Thai pork belly
  • Siu Yuk
  • Thit Heo Quay

What does Thit Heo Quay mean?

Thit Heo Quay is roughly translated to crispy pork belly. Thit refers to meat. Heo refers to a pig or pork. Quay means turn or crispy.

Asian Grocery Store List for Thit Heo Quay

While this recipe isn’t complex, it does require some preparation and planning because you’ll need to have the right ingredients.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Pork Belly

Pork belly can be readily found at Asian markets. You’ll want to ensure you choose a piece that doesn’t have hair or have markings on it. In addition, the meat and the fat should be evenly distributed across the section of meat.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Sea Salt

Salt and other seasonings can be found really affordable at most Asian supermarkets.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Five Spice

Five spice is also an ingredient you’ll want to pick up at the Asian market since you are there. Generally though, you can find this at your local grocer.

Tips and Tricks Before Making Thit Heo Quay

Choosing Good Pork Belly

You’ll want to buy commercial pork belly that is from a young pig where the skin is thinner, which will allow the skin to cook all the way through. If you purchase an older pig pork belly, the skin is generally thicker and you’ll need to ensure that the skin gets crispy without also burning some of the skin.

You’ll generally want to choose a piece that has evenly distributed fat and lean meat. The goal is to find a pork belly piece that has the same thickness all around the meat. You’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t have any markings (often they’ll mark it blue for tagging) or extra hairs (however, this can easily be removed by tweezers, but why hassle it when you can choose one that’s clean).

Do not use pork belly from boars, as the gamey smell will ruin the dish.

The Trick to Getting Crispy Pork Skin

The magical secret and key point to crispy skin is ensuring that you make small punctures that break through the pork skin. You can use metal skewers, a meat thermometer, or a paring knife to make the holes.

You’ll also want to make sure the meat is refrigerated for 24 hours to allow the meat to dry out.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

When the pork belly roasts, it will allow the fat to pubble and form blisters on the skin to allow it to deep fry in it’s own fat.

Room Temperature Before Roasting

You’ll need to make sure that the pork belly is at room temperature before roasting it. So make sure that you take it out an hour prior to roasting time.

Preventing the Smell of Roast Pork

When you make this dish, know that you’ll have the smell of smoky, roasted pork permeating throughout your house. Get all of your air purifiers going because it is well worth the effort. You can avoid some of this by using my method which allows some of that smell to be captured by the sea salt.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Seasoning Tips

You’ll need to make sure the seasoning does not touch the skin or else you’ll be very disappointed in a non-crispy skin.

Positioning the Meat in the Oven

The pork belly should be positioned about 8 inches away from the top of the heating element on the High Broil setting.

Ensure that you stay close to your oven in the last 15 minutes of roasting, as you’ll want to make sure that parts of the skin don’t brown faster than other areas. If they do, you can always add aluminum foil from allowing those sections from burning.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Let Sit Before Slicing

Before slicing the Thit Heo Quay, you’ll want to allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. Otherwise, it will release a lot of juices and become soggy.

Substitutions

You can use regular Morton salt if you don’t have sea salt or kosher salt available.

If you don’t have lime, you can use vinegar. Using lime or vinegar is crucial because it allows the skin to become dry and crispy.

Various Methods of Making Thit Heo Quay

There are various methods of making Thit Heo Quay that you’ll find after researching this recipe. Here are a few things to note:

  • You can use baking soda or baking powder to help with the crisping of the skin.
  • Using a layer of sea salt to trap heat and moisture under a crust of salt.
  • Using lime juice or vinegar rubbed into the skin.
  • Adding bean curd, which provides a salty, fragrant flavor to the meat.

Without further ado, here’s my absolute favorite, tried and true way of making this recipe:

How to Make Authentic Vietnamese Thit Heo Quay Recipe

Ingredients for Vietnamese Thit Heo Quay

Pork Belly Skin Layer

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Pork Belly Meat Marinade

  • 3 pounds of pork belly
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of five spice
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

Instructions for Making Vietnamese Thit Heo Quay Crispy Pork Belly

Preparation Day Before

  1. Eliminate the impurities and odor of the pork skin by using a sharp knife to scrape the pork belly skin. If you see extra hairs, use a tweezer to remove the hair on the skin. Pat the skin completely dry with a paper towel.thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork bellythit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  2. In a small bowl or mortar and pestle, combine the salt, five spice, sugar, and garlic. Mix the ingredients together. thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork bellythit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  3. Flip the pork with the skin side down on a dry cutting board. Make vertical cuts into the pork belly that are about ½ inches deep and 1 inch apart, not cutting into the skin.
  4. Add the seasoning mixture onto the top and sides of the meat, careful not touching the skin with the mixture.thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  5. Flip the meat over with the skin facing the ceiling. Using a paper towel, pat the skin surface until it’s completely dry.
  6. thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  7. Place the meat on a dry plate (and even using a rack on top of a dry plate) and place in the refrigerator for at least four hours, uncovered. (Note: Do not wrap the meat in plastic wrap as the goal is to dry out the meat. Wrapping it in plastic wrap will cause moisture to form on the meat.)

Cooking Day

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Remove the marinated pork belly from the refrigerator.
  3. Using a skewer, sharp knife, or meat thermometer, prick holes into the skin without going into the fat layer. If you go into the fat layer, it will cause the fat to release moisture onto the skin, which will cause your skin not to get the crackly, bubbly crispy texture this dish is known for.
  4. Choose a roasting pan that will fit the entirety of the pork belly. Create a rectangular aluminum foil box around the meat, tall enough to hold a layer of salt. Place the aluminum foil box on the roasting pan. Add the pork belly into the aluminum foil box.
  5. thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  6. Dry the skin once more with a paper towel. Squeeze the lime juice all over the skin, rubbing it in.thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  7. Cover the pork skin with a layer of sea salt. This will allow heat and moisture to be trapped underneath the salt crust. It has the added benefit of reducing the pork odor that often permeates into the house with this dish.thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork bellythit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  8. Put it in the oven. For three pound pork belly, generally it will roast for about an hour.
  9. After an hour, remove the pork tray from oven. Scrape off the top layer of salt and throw it away along with the aluminum foil.thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  10. Line the roasting tray with a new aluminum foil to catch dripping fat in the next step.thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  11. On the same roasting pan, add a rack. Put the pork belly on top of the rack with the roasting tray.thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  12. Put the try in the oven at the lowest rack. Switch the oven temperature and heat to broil for another 15 minutes.
  13. The skin should start crackling and evenly create bubbles throughout the skin layer. If you see parts of skin burning or crisping faster than the other, you can add aluminum foil and continue to broil the pork belly until it is uniformly crispy.
  14. The meat is ready when the juices run clear after poking it.
  15. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  16. Scrape off any burnt parts of the skin.
  17. Cut into bite sized pieces, each with skin and meat.thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly
  18. Serve with Vietnamese nuoc mam sauce.
thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Serving Thit Heo Quay Recipe

Serve the crispy pork belly recipe with jasmine rice, cabbage salad, and fresh herbs and vegetables like cilantro, cucumber, mint, and lettuce.

In addition, you can also serve it with a baguette and cooked vermicelli rice noodles.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Preserving Thit Heo Quay, Vietnamese Pork Belly

Only cut the portions that you plan to eat right away in order to keep the moisture in. Wrap leftovers in the refrigerator and store for up to 5 days.

To reheat the crispy pork belly, put it in a toaster oven for 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

While not recommended, crispy pork belly could be frozen for up to 3 months.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

Summary About Thit Heo Quay Recipe

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

I’ve shared with you my favorite, no-fail way to create crispy pork belly at home so that you can make it yourself (and choose whether or not to share) the infamous Vietnamese Thit Heo Quay, a modern version of crispy pork belly.

thit heo quay vietnamese crispy crunchy pork belly

If you are a meat lover, you will absolutely love Thit Heo Quay. The beautiful mixture of textures of this dish makes this delicious and addicting. The first layer provides the crispiness, the second layer provides the juicy fat, and the third layer provides the flavorful meat seasoning.

Other Recipes Using Pork Belly You Might Like

  • Marinated Pan-Fried Vietnamese Pork Belly
  • Banh Xeo – Vietnamese Yellow Pancake
  • Thit Kho Braised and Caramelized Vietnamese Pork with Eggs
  • Vietnamese Thit Nuong Recipe
  • Vietnamese Caramelized Pork
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
thit heo quay asian vietnamese pork belly crispy roast recipe
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Vietnamese Thit Heo Quay – No Fail Crispy Crunchy Pork Belly Recipe
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