National Dish of Hong Kong – Sweet and Sour Pork

March 11, 2019  Nationalfoody Avatar
National Dish of Hong Kong – Sweet and Sour Pork

For the Sauce

sugar 1 tbsp.
cornstarch ¾ tsp.
plum sauce 2 tbsp.
soy sauce 1 tbsp.
rice wine or dry sherry 2 tsp.
salt 1/8 tsp.
unseasoned rice vinegar 2 tsp.
water ¼ cup

For the Pork

boneless pork shoulder / loin (cut into small cubes) 8 oz.
rice wine or dry sherry 2 tsp.
oyster sauce ½ tsp.
plus 1 tsp. tapioca starch / cornstarch 1/3 cup
soy sauce ½ tsp.
beaten egg 2 tbsp.
small onion (sliced) ¼
fresh or frozen pineapple cubes 3-4 oz.
minced ginger 1 tsp.
bell pepper cubes 3 oz.
small ripe tomato (peeled and cut into wedges) 1
green onion (sliced thinly) 1
Canola oil for frying

The cuisine of Hong Kong is greatly influenced by Cantonese cooking. One such Cantonese dish that has become increasingly popular in Hong Kong is Sweet and Sour Pork which can also be found in many Chinese and Hong Kong restaurants across the globe. Spare ribs or pork loins are used in the Hong Kong version of this dish and the traditional scarlet sauce is made with vinegar, preserved plums, and hawthorn candy.

Directions on how to Prepare Sweet and Sour Pork

  1. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl, stir well and set aside.
  2. Marinate the pork cubes in a mixture of rice wine, cornstarch, oyster sauce, and soy sauce in a covered bowl for thirty (0:30) minutes.
  3. Add the beaten egg to the marinated pork.
  4. Coat the pork pieces in cornstarch and let sit for four (0:04) minutes.
  5. Fill a wok with ¾ inch canola oil and heat well.
  6. Work in batches to fry the pork cubes for about three (0:03) minutes until pale golden.
  7. Remove from the oil and set the pork on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  8. Increase the heat and add all of the pork cubes back into the wok.
  9. Re-fry until brown and very crisp, then set on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  10. Heat two teaspoons of oil in a clean wok and sauté the onions and pineapple cubes.
  11. Allow the pineapple cubes to develop brown streak marks, then add the minced ginger and bell peppers.
  12. Stir constantly for one (0:01) minute until the peppers are crispy.
  13. Add the tomato wedges and pour them into the sauce mixture.
  14. Cook for forty-five (0:045) seconds until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken.
  15. Stir in the fried pork, ensuring all pieces are properly coated in the sauce.
  16. Transfer the Sweet and Sour Pork to a serving dish and garnish with green onions.
  17. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Regional variations

Guo Bao Rou

Guō bāo ròu is a traditional Chinese dish from North East China. It consists of large thinly sliced pieces of pork in potato starch batter, deep fried twice until crispy. They are then lightly coated in a variation of a sweet and sour sauce, made from freshly prepared syrup and rice vinegar, flavored with ginger and garlic.

Squirrel-shaped Mandarin fish

The squirrel-shaped Mandarin fish has crisp skin but a soft center. The fish body is scored such that it fans out when cooked, similar in appearance to a bushy squirrel tail. The fish is served with a sweet and sour sauce drizzled on top and garnished with a little shrimp meat and dried bamboo shoots.

Sweet and sour Yellow River carp

A specialty of Shandong province, the Yellow River carp is prepared by making diagonal slices partway through its flesh. It is then coated in corn flour and deep fried causing the fish to curl and the slices to open out. Finally, a sweet and sour sauce is poured over the cooked fish. This is one of the distinctive dishes typical of Lu Cuisine.

Sweet and sour spare ribs

A popular dish in Shanghai cuisine, sweet and sour spare ribs are made using pork ribs that are lightly coated in corn starch and seasoned before being fried and served in a sweet and sour sauce.

Hong Kong/Cantonese

The original Cantonese sweet and sour pork is made with vinegar, preserved plums, and hawthorn candy for an almost scarlet color and sweet-sour taste. A related Hong Kong/Cantonese-based dish is sweet and sour spare ribs and it is identical in methods except spare ribs are used in place of pork loins.



Calories in serving



35 min


20 min




  • I made this for dinner on Sunday. It was fantastic and I will definitely make it again. I doubled the recipe to feed 3 people. The only thing I omitted was the tomato because I despise tomatoes. Absolutely delicious!

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