Dec 9, 2020

Braised Pork Belly with Penghu Shiju Octopus 鮖鮔爌肉

Braised meat is a common dish throughout the world with various versions, but how about braised pork with octopus?

It's a homey local food often found in Penghu, which is an archipelago of 90 islands and islets on the west of mainland Taiwan. Because of its proximity to the ocean, Penghu is abundant with a wide variety of seafood. Shiju octopus is among one of the famed local seafood selections. Usually made into soup or added in braised pork, shiju octopus provides another layer of umami kick, somewhat similar to dried squid or crustaceans can bring to the meal. To bring the most flavor out of shiju octopus, try the dried one instead. As for my version here, I used freshly frozen kind instead.

Braised pork belly with Penghu octopus 鮖鮔爌肉 -


  • 650 grams pork belly
  • 250 grams shiju octopi
  • 2 stalks garlic leek 
  • 3 to 4 pieces crystal sugar 冰糖
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Chinese rice cooking wine 米酒
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil (if needed)
  • 2 cups water


There is no need to quickly drench the pork in boiling water, usually that's been done in order to remove some dirty brownish bits or blood from the meat, but not necessary here. Just watch out the pot carefully during the first 5 to 10 minutes of cooking and scoop out any foamy bits will do the trick.

Cut the pork belly into large bite size chunks. Cut the fist-sized octopi into smaller chunks.

One other fun fact about the Penghu shiju octopus, the kind I bought was already "beaten," meaning that the texture has been tenderized. Beating the octopus before cooking is a common way to do in Penghu. I would suggest you to do the same, it'll help shortening the cooking time too.

Destem garlic leeks then slice the remaining section diagonally. Separate the white and the green parts.

Take a big pot. Depending on how fat the pork belly used, if not fat enough to get some extra oil rendering in the pot, then drizzle some oil over then add in the white section of garlic leek along with pork chunks; However, if using fatty pork, simply toss in the pork and sear till oil renders, then transfer white section of the garlic leek over.

Continue to cook till pork chunks start to get some lightly browned color. Add in the green section of garlic leek. Cook for about one more minute.

Add in shiju octopus and give it a quick stir.

Add in 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of Chinese rice cooking wine, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and scoop out any foamy bits floating on top. 

Put the lid on and lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook for about 2 hours or till the pork can be poked through easily with a chopstick or fork.

Towards the end, add in crystal sugar and continue to cook till the sugar has been fully dissolved and blended in. 

This braised dish definitely works well with steamed rice. Just remember to drizzle extra sauce all over before enjoying the meal.

It's always fun to work with unfamiliar ingredients. I've had octopus so many times but never really cooked it myself. Feeling its sucker-covered tentacles was quite an experience. There's still one more pack of frozen shiju octopus in the freezer, what to do with it next? 

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