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Lacquered Five-Spice Pork

Iain Bagwell
Total time 3 hrs
Yield Makes 4 servings
This recipe is an adaptation of one in Florence Lin's Chinese Regional Cookbook (Hawthorn Books, 1975). We like to serve the pork with white rice or with a bowl of soba noodles sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Leftover pork can be diced and added to a stir-fry or fried rice. Prep and Cook Time: about 1 hour, plus 2 hours marinating time. Notes: Though suspending meat over simmering water seems unusual, it has its roots in the delicious crispy-duck technique used in many Chinatown shops. You'll need a 12-in. metal skewer to make this recipe.


  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 boneless center-cut pork chops, each about 1 in. thick (about 2 lbs. total)
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Nutrition Information

  • calories 483
  • caloriesfromfat 41 %
  • protein 50 g
  • fat 22 g
  • satfat 8.2 g
  • carbohydrate 19 g
  • fiber 0.1 g
  • sodium 1186 mg
  • cholesterol 140 mg

How to Make It

  1. In a medium bowl, mix garlic, salt, brown sugar, five-spice powder, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 2 tbsp. water. Add pork chops to marinade, cover, and refrigerate 2 hours, turning several times.

  2. Preheat oven to 325°. Fill a roasting pan with enough water to come 1 in. up sides and put on bottom rack of oven. Insert a 12-in. metal skewer through all 4 chops, about 1/2 in. from edge. Space chops about 1 in. apart on skewer. Pull out top rack of oven halfway, making sure rack is still supported and level, and very carefully lower the skewer crosswise onto rack so meat goes between the bars and skewer rests on rack. Slowly push rack back into oven, then move pan of water directly beneath hanging meat.

  3. Bake chops 30 minutes. Increase temperature to 425° and cook 10 minutes more. Pour corn syrup and remaining 1 tbsp. soy sauce into a shallow dish and mix to combine. Transfer pork chops from skewer into corn syrup mixture, rolling to coat, then thinly slice each chop. Serve with hot rice or soba noodles if you like.

  4. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.