Five-Spice Pork Roll (Loh Bak)

Pork marinated in 5-spice powder and covered in bean curd skin is deep-fried in Malaysia. Delicious!

In my family, loh bak or five-spice pork roll is an exceptional food. Like many other Nyonya or Straits Chinese families in Penang, my family follows the Chinese lunar calendar while celebrating holidays.

Chinese New Year, ancestor homage, the seventh month of the Chinese calendar or “the hungry ghost festival,” winter festival, etc., are all occasions where exceptional food is offered. Loh bak is always a part of the festivities, regardless of the event.

I remember helping my family roll Loh back numerous times when I was a kid. Bean curd skin (soybean skin) is used to wrap the pig marinated in Chinese five-spice powder.

Pork loh bak made by my aunt is always moist, flavorful, and really excellent. She also makes a fantastic vegetarian version using taro (commonly known as “yam” in the Philippines).

During the “Kao Ong Ya” (Nine Emperor God/) festival, many Straits Chinese observe up to nine days of 100% vegetarian meals. My mouth waters just thinking about loh bak, which comes in both meat and vegetarian varieties.

Loh bak, a traditional Nyonya/Straits Chinese dish, is another one I learned from my mother-in-law.

What is the average number of calories in one serving?

  • Each serving of this recipe contains only 242 calories.

With this recipe, what are its complementary dishes?

I’ve compiled a collection of recipes that are both healthy and quick enough to prepare on a weeknight.



  • 500 g lean pork, cut into strips
  • 300 g water chestnuts, skinned and chopped finely
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 pieces bean curd sheets, cut into 6″ x 8″ rectangles


  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock granules, chicken bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 dash white pepper, powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  1. Pork strips should be marinated overnight in a mixture of seasonings.
  2. Garlic, onion, and chopped water chestnuts should be added to the marinated pork.
  3. A single sheet of bean curd skin should be laid down on a table or countertop. Make it a little softer by spritzing it with some water. Spread the mixture across the sheet, fold in the sides, and wrap it up securely. The marinating juice can be used to seal the edges.
  4. Deep-fry the beef rolls in 2 cups of cooking oil in a wok over medium heat until they’re crispy and golden brown.
  5. Paper towels can be used to remove any remaining liquid. Cut up some cucumbers and a bottle of chili sauce and serve.


  • Loh bak is served as an appetizer or snack at many Chinese Kopitiam (coffee shops) in Penang. As part of a multi-course family supper, loh bak is served as the main dish.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Related Posts

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive updates, promotions, and sneak peaks of upcoming products. Plus 20% off your next order.

Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue