Crispy Sweet & Sour Pork

Many people find this Dongbei Guo Bao Rou (东北鍋包肉) to be unfamiliar and unapproachable. If you’re used to the normal, dark soy sauce braised foods or the brightly colored Chinese takeaway recipes, the lighter color of the finished dish may also look strange. There is also no English translation provided. In my opinion, Guo Bao Rou might be thought of as a lighter take on the classic Sweet and Sour Pork.

Explain Guo Bao Rou To Me.

We’re not talking about a world-famous chef with this Dongbei Guo Bao Rou. It seems to have originated as a simple dish for the benefit of foreigners residing in Harbin during the Qing Dynasty. And when we say “we’ll put it on the list,” we really mean it.

We want our Guo Bao Rou to have a strong sweet, and sour flavor, and we want it to be incredibly crunchy and crispy on the outside while yet being delicate on the inside. I’m amazed at the level of artistry required in the kitchen right now as I type this. Recipe results are sensitive to variations in ingredients, cooking time, and temperature.

To that end, I wish you success in the kitchen and hope that you enjoy this take on “Sweet and Sour Pork” as much as I do.


  • 450g of pork loin
  • 230 grams of potato starch
  • 150 ml of rice vinegar (4.5% acidity)
  • 4 scallions; julienned the white parts only
  • ½ of a small carrot; julienned
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (plus another ½ teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Oil for frying


  1. Quarter-inch-thick pieces of pig loin. Work 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine, and 3 tablespoons of water into the pork pieces to marinate. Put in a sealed container and chill.
  2. Dissolve the potato starch in 1 1/2 cups of water by stirring vigorously in a medium basin big enough to hold all the meat. The potato starch needs to settle at the bottom, so give it 15 minutes.
  3. Mix the sugar, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sesame oil together to make the sauce. Do the dissolving and then put it aside.
  4. Take the potato starch and slowly drain off the water, leaving behind the starch paste. You can use your hands to get a thorough coating of the wet potato starch on the pork slices you’ve added to the bowl. To make the mixture less dry and more workable, add water by the tablespoon.
  5. Fry the pork in oil that has been heated to between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit in a deep pot or wok. Pork tends to stay together, so it’s best to drop each piece into the oil separately. Deep-fry the pork for 2 minutes, then place it on a wire rack to drain. After the pork has been fried the first time, heat the oil to between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit and fry the pig in batches for another 30 seconds.
  6. If the pork was fried in a wok, transfer the heated oil to a heat-safe container, making sure to leave behind about 1 tablespoon.
  7. Prepare a medium flame in the wok. Garlic and ginger should only be cooked for a few minutes. Turn the heat up, add the sauce mixture, and simmer for two to three minutes. After the sauce is reduced, you should have approximately a third of a cup in the wok. Then, throw in some fried pork, carrots, onions, and cilantro. Quickly combine the sauce and pork, making sure that it evenly coats each piece. Dish out the food right now!
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