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Recipes of China: Crispy Pork Belly from Pearl Ocean Las Vegas

By Clarissa Wei

Aug. 24, 2017
A plate with crisply pork belly from Pearl Ocean
Clarissa Wei learns to make Lucky Dragon’s crispy pork belly

Foodie Clarissa Wei explores Sin City’s most authentic Chinese food.

Lucky Dragon is Las Vegas’ first Chinese-themed resort. The 203-roomed boutique hotel is host to a plethora of Chinese dining options. One of them is Pearl Ocean, which is arguably one of Vegas’ most exquisite dim sum concepts. But more impressive than that is their pan-Chinese menu, which spans the entirety of China. There’s roast duck a la Beijing, to cumin-drenched lamb from Xinjiang, the far-western province of China.

This is something that’s rare among Chinese restaurants; most Chinese chefs are regional specialists, not generalists. Sous chef Stanley Ma credits Pearl Ocean’s inclusive menu to the accessibility of ingredients and the diversity of his colleagues.

Stanley Ma, sous chef at Pearl Ocean
Stanley Ma, sous chef at Pearl Ocean

“In recent years, there’s a lot more Chinese produce grown in the States. Now, we can get essentially the same ingredients that we get in Hong Kong and China,” he says. Because of the increased accessibility, Las Vegas’ Chinese dining scene now rivals that of Los Angeles.

Vegas is ripe for this. In recent years, an influx of Chinese tourists has inspired entrepreneurs to direct their efforts to appeasing this new crowd. Lucky Dragon is so in tune with this new wave of Chinese consumers that they consulted a feng shui expert before construction on the property began. They also have a full-service tea bar complete with a tea sommelier—the first of its kind in Sin City.

People eating at a booth of Las Vegas Pearl Ocean restaurant
The interior of Pearl Ocean

Of the handful of dining concepts in the resort, Pearl Ocean is the mid-range, comfort food kind, complete with seafood tanks and plush turquoise booths. The menu is expansive enough to appease even the most stubborn of diners. All of the dishes are staunchly authentic.

Ma provided a recipe for crispy pork belly, which is a Cantonese staple. The key is getting the crispy skin; he recommends air-drying it for a day before cooking. This is best served with a spicy mustard sauce, paired with a fluffy bowl of white rice.

Cantonese Crispy Pork Belly

Cooking time: 1 day

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb pork belly
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp of five spice powder
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
Directions:

  1. Trim pork belly into a 3 lb rectangle slab.
  2. Poach pork belly in boiling water for 5 minutes.
  3. Slice bottom of pork belly meat with crisscross patterns into 5-inch squares.
  4. Marinate bottom meat part with salt, five-spice powder, chicken powder, and garlic powder.
  5. Puncture pork skin with tenderizing tool. Add Shaoxing wine into the skin while puncturing holes into the pork skin.
  6. Make sure the whole pork skin is nicely punctured.
  7. Let it hang and air dry overnight in a clean place.
  8. Roast pork belly at 330 degrees Fahrenheit with skin facing down for 20 minutes.
  9. Take out the pork and scrape out the first layer of burnt pork skin until it smoothens.
  10. Roast pork belly for another 10 minutes. Then repeat the scraping until it is crispy and not hard.
  11. Serve with spicy mustard.

Pearl Ocean: 300 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89102

Hungry for more? Follow Clarissa’s journey through China as she uncovers authentic dishes and cultural insight.

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