Shanghai Braised Meat (上海本帮菜红烧肉)



When I told readers that I will be on vegetarian diets for 45 days, one of the readers was worried that I will not issue any meaty recipe… Don’t worry, I still have some meat recipes with me and I will gradually issue over this period. My vegetarian diet is temporary and is my yearly ritual..


Some readers may know that I have stayed in Shanghai for a few years as I have said it a few times in other post. While in Shanghai, I have a helper and one of the most common household dishes besides braising fish as in this post: Braised Ribbon Fish (红烧带鱼)is braising pork belly meat.


She cooked this pork belly dish at least once a week and I have never get tired of it. This is not a very difficult recipe and every household’s granny will have its own version. 


I missed this dish and I have located a few recipes and finally decided to try one recipe . I am very happy that the taste is rather close to what I had in Shanghai. The meat for this dish are supposed to be glossy and it should be braised until it melt in the mouth. It is on a sweet side as compared to other savoury style of braised meat.


However, there is one important ingredient that is missing in this household dish, the quail eggs. I searched high and low from a few supermarkets and I can’t get hold of the quail eggs. Therefore, I have decided to omit it in this illustration.


Members of Facebook group are asking me if Dong Bo Rou is the same as Hong Shao Rou as in this post. I am sorry that I am technically incompetent to give the answer. I believed that there are many similarities with minute differences.


One of the main differences is the size of the meat and the different method of preparation but I do not rule out that they are all originating from the same source. If you are interested , you can refer to this post: A Cuisine With A Long Chinese History– Dongpo Meat (东波肉)


As per Wikipedia:

Hong shao rou (also “Red Braised Pork”; Chinese: 红烧肉) is a classic pork dish from mainland China, cooked using pork belly and a combination of ginger, garlic, aromatic spices, chilli peppers, sugar, light and dark soy, and rice wine. The pork belly is cooked until the fat and skin are gelatinous and melt easily in the mouth, while the sauce is usually thick, sweet and fairly sticky. As the English name suggests, the melt in the mouth texture is formed as a result of a long braising process, using relatively little liquid.” (Source:



Recipe adapted from: 【外婆红烧肉】浓油赤酱别具上海特色的红烧肉

Servings: 4-6 adult servings


  • 500 grams of pork belly (cut into about 1 inch x 1 inch x 2 inch size)
  • 15-20 quail eggs (cooked, shelled and deep fried)
  • 400 ml or grams of Chinese cooking wine like Hua Tiao
  • 80 grams of rock sugar
  • 25 ml or grams of dark soya sauce
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 2-3 sprigs of spring onion, cut into big pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anises
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinches of salt


PicMonkey Collage1

  • Boil a pot of hot water and blanch the pork belly until the external is set and there is no blood water. Drain and while it is hot, add the dark soya sauce and let it marinate for 5-10 minutes. This will help to colour the meat.

  • In a pressure cooker pot, layer the bottom with spring onion, bay leaves, ginger, star anises and cinnamon stick, On top of the herbs, add rock sugar and the blanched pork belly meat.

PicMonkey Collage2

  • Add the wine and adequate water such that the water cover about 1/2 of the meat. Pressure cook the meat in accordance to the pressure cooker instruction. I have used the “meat function” in the pressure cooker and it pressure cooks for about 30 minutes. After the pressure cooking, release the gas and you will see there are lot of meat juices remain in the pressure cooker. (Note that you can also cook over the stove)

PicMonkey Collage4

  • If you are adding quail eggs, boil the quail eggs, shelled and deep fried the quail eggs until golden brown. Set aside for later use.

  • Transfer the meat and juices from the pressure cooker to another pan over the stove. Add the quail eggs, bring to boil. Once it  boils, let it simmer at high to medium heat until the sauce thicken, glossy and coated the meat.  Sprinkle with chopped spring onion and great to serve with steaming white rice. The timing will depend of the quantity of sauces. I found it rather fast with high heat but I did keep an eye on the process.



I am happy with the recipe and I hoped that readers will give it a try. The use of pressure cooker is to expedite the preparation. If you do not have  pressure cooker, you can always boil the meat over the stove though the time may be considerably longer like 45-50 minutes to reach your desired texture and you will have to keep an eye on the water level . Add additional water if necessary.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.


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  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.


One thought on “Shanghai Braised Meat (上海本帮菜红烧肉)

  1. Hi Brother Kenneth, I’m preparing this braised pork today n notice that the recipe calls for 400ml hua tiao wine. Is this correct? Thank you in advance

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