Salt and Pepper Pork

I first went to Hong Kong right after the handover and it was a travel awakening. And down a little alley on Jordan Road in Kowloon my family and I found what looked like a reasonable place to eat. The tables were plastic and outside. There were no napkins, but rather a roll of toilet paper in the center of every table. The service was quick and snippy but the food was what I remembered most. So much so that when I finally moved to Hong Kong I would go back to that same restaurant at least once a week. This is my recreation of that little alley restaurant’s salt and pepper pork, made exactly as I remember it.

plate of hong kong style salt and pepper pork with peanuts and chili

Salt and pepper pork, or any salt and pepper meat really, is a popular Cantonese dish that has pretty much been exported around the world without many changes. This is the opposite to many things people consider ‘fusion’ like General Tso’s Chicken or Beef and Broccoli. In fact, the salt&pepper pork that I’ve gotten in places like London or South Carolina really isn’t different from the one I get in Hong Kong – which is great for those cravings when I travel.

If you don’t live near a place that serves an authentic Canto salt and pepper pork then you can use this easy recipe to make your own at home. While many Chinese families have their own recipes and variations, I’ve tried to keep this one similar to the one that I tried on my first visit to Hong Kong.

By the way if you like Hong Kong or Cantonese style Chinese food, then you might also like my Dim Sum Pork Belly, Black Bean Shrimp, or my recipe for Pork and Shrimp Shumai!

How To Cook Authentic Salt and Pepper Pork At Home

four boneless pork chops on a green cutting board with a knife

To make salt and pepper pork at home, you first have to buy the right pork. While any pork will technically work, the traditional choice is pork chop or pork tenderloin. While it may seem treasonous to chop up a beautiful pork chop, it really does make the dish better.

salt and pepper pork with marinade in a metal bowl

Like many Chinese dishes, the first step is to velvet the meat. Velveting is a technique that uses baking soda in a marinade to make meat really, really tender. While a pork chop doesn’t necessarily need to be more tender, this velveting marinade still creates some benefit resulting in extra tender and juicy pork.

Salt and Pepper Pork Velvet Marinade Ingredients

  • 500 grams Pork Chop (Cut into rather large chunks)
  • 2 tbsp Neutral Oil (like Canola, Soy, or Sunflower Oil)
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing Wine
  • 2 tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp MSG
  • 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
one hour marinated salt and pepper pork in metal bowl on counter

Unlike some other Chinese recipes, we are not going to velvet AND rinse. Instead we are just going to let the baking soda infused marinade do ALL the work. Simply mix everything together and massage a bit with your hands, then cover and place in the fridge for an hour to infuse.

on the left bowl is two beaten eggs slowly poured into the marinated pork bowl

The next step is to beat two eggs well, then pour it into the salt and pepper pork bowl. Does this seem weird to you? It seemed weird to me as well at first, but this simply thickens the marinade even more, which causes more corn starch to cling to the meat when frying.

salt and pepper pork frying station. On the left is a saucepan with hot oil. the middle bowl is corn starch, and the bowl on the right is the pork in marinade

Make a frying station. In a pot begin to heat up neutral oil to 175 Celsius. Place another bowl nearby with a good amount of corn starch. I use about 300 grams for the entire batch, but you may need more or less depending on your bowl size.

The frying part is easy enough. Here is the salt and pepper pork frying method in an easy step by step format:

  1. Pluck a piece of pork from the marinade, shake off excess liquid.
  2. Roll it in the corn starch, shake off excess corn starch.
  3. Gently place it in the hot oil. Let deep fry for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove and place on an elevated rack so the excess oil doesn’t create a soggy coating.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4. This time only fry for another 2 minutes for that traditional Chinese extra crispy fried pork texture!
prepped accoutrements. left plate has chopped and sliced green onions and right plate has sliced shallot and chili pepper. in the middle on the blue cutting board is thinly sliced garlic cloves

While the pork is frying you can prepare the other stuff that goes in this delicious salt and pepper pork dish. While there are differences depending on the restaurant, or person cooking, these are my favorite add-ins. I chop up a dozen or so spring onions. The whites I chop into small pieces, and the greens into about 3-4 inch lengths. I also thinly slice 5 cloves of garlic, 1 hot chili pepper, and two shallots.

quickly frying some shallot, chili, and garlic in a steel pan with a wooden spoon

A great thing about this salt and pepper pork recipe is there isn’t a thick, viscous sauce like many Chinese dishes. The real star of the show is the super crispy pork, so the additions are just for extra flavor. In a large wok or pan add a bit of neutral oil and fry the shallot, garlic, and pepper for 15 seconds or so. You don’t want to burn the garlic, this step just helps increase the pungency of garlic and spice.

mixing the twice fried salt and pepper pork with the rest of the ingredients in the large steel pan.

Add in all the crispy pork along with the green onions and a couple tablespoons of chopped peanuts. Also sprinkle over another 1/2 tsp of White Pepper. Give everything a good mix and you can go ahead and plate to serve!

plate of hong kong style salt and pepper pork with peanuts and chili

Hong Kong style salt and pepper pork is one of my absolute favorite Chinese recipes so I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Feel free to customize it to suit your tastes as well. I’ve gotten it with other things added like raw onion, a drizzle of soy sauce, some dry shrimps, and more.

hong kong style salt and pepper pork

Salt And Pepper Pork

I first went to Hong Kong right after the handover and it was a travel awakening. And down a little alley on Jordan Road in Kowloon my family and I found what looked like a reasonable place to eat. The dish I remember most is this delicious salt and pepper pork which I have tried to faithfully recreate for you in this recipe. Enjoy!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinade Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Cantonese, Chinese, Hong Kong
Servings 4 people
Calories 297 kcal


  • 1 pan or wok


Pork And Marinade

  • 500 grams Pork Chop Cut into rather large chunks
  • 2 tbsp Neutral Oil like Canola, Soy, or Sunflower Oil
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing Wine
  • 2 tbsp Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp MSG
  • 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce


  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • Corn Starch as needed
  • Neutral Oil for frying

Everything Else

  • 1 Chili Pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 Shallots thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves Garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Peanuts
  • 12 Spring Onions chop the white part finely and cut the greens into 3-4 inch lengths
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper for additional kick at the end


  • In a large bowl mix together the pork and marinade ingredients. Give a quick massage with your hands, then place the bowl in the fridge to marinade for one hour.
  • Beat two eggs in a bowl and pour it into the marinating pork. Mix it in there well.
  • Set up a frying station: pot or pan of neutral oil heated to 175 Celsius. A bowl of corn starch. Your bowl of marinated pork.
  • Take a piece of pork and shake off excess liquid well. Drop it into the corn starch and coat it well, then shake off any excess corn starch. Gently place into the hot oil to fry for 3-4 minutes. Repeat until you have fried all the pieces of pork. When they are fried, remove them to an elevated rack.
  • Now crank the oil temp up to 190 and fry all the pieces again for 1-2 minutes. Remove to the elevated rack.
  • In a wok pan add a bit of oil on medium high heat. Add the chili pepper, shallot, and garlic and fry for 15 or so seconds. Then add in all the pork along with the green onion and peanuts. Toss everything well, plate and serve. Enjoy!
Keyword Asian, Deep Fried, Fried, Pork, Salt And Pepper
cantonese style salt and pepper pork recipe pinterest pin image
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