Okinawa Shoyu Pork

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I believe the Okinawans have the slow meal concept down pat; growing up, this was one of my favorite dishes; shoyu pork, either over rice or on top of soba noodles. I think the Okinawans have it perfect. The pork that has been marinated in soy sauce and slow-cooked, with just the proper amount of sweetness (think of Okinawan brown sugar), comes quite near to being excellent…

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Servings: 6
Yield: 6 servings
  • 1 ½ pounds whole pork belly
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, or to taste



Step: 1

Put the pork belly into a big pot, then add enough water to come approximately an inch and a half up the sides of the pork. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for two minutes. Throw away the water and fill the pot with fresh water until it is about an inch and a half above the pork. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer for as long as desired. Cook for approximately one hour, or until the meat begins to become more tender.

Step: 2

After removing it from the water, the pork should be placed on a chopping board. After allowing the pork to cool for a few minutes, carefully remove and discard the pig’s thick skin. Slice the leftover pork meat into pieces that are exactly one inch thick. Set aside.

Step: 3

In a large saucepan, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, half a cup of water, mirin, ginger, and garlic, and bring to a boil over high heat. After adding the sliced pork belly, bring the liquid back up to a boil. The heat should be turned down to a low setting, and a layer of aluminum foil should be placed directly over the meat and sauce. Simmer uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, turning the pork several times to ensure that it cooks evenly and achieving the desired tenderness.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

331 Calories
16g Fat
27g Carbs
15g Protein


What is pork shoyu?

Okinawan shoyu pork is a typical Okinawan cuisine that consists of pork belly that has been carefully simmered in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirin, brown sugar, and ginger. The dish is served with a variety of vegetables. In spite of the fact that the flavors are comparable to those of teriyaki, this style of cooking is distinguished in a unique way by the melting-in-your-mouth tenderness that results from hours of slow simmering.

What is Okinawa pork called?

The Okinawan dish known as rafute is prepared by stewing or simmering blocks of pork belly in dashi stock, Awamori (an Okinawan style of sake), sugar, and soy sauce. Rafute is considered to be a regional specialty dish. The beef has a robust flavor that comes through clearly, and the dish has a velvety consistency that makes it feel like it will melt in your mouth.



What is Okinawa Shoyu Pork?

Okinawa Shoyu Pork is a traditional Okinawan dish made by marinating and slow-cooking pork in a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, and other seasonings. The result is a flavorful and tender pork dish with a hint of sweetness and umami from the soy sauce.

What type of pork is best for Okinawa Shoyu Pork?

The best cuts of pork for Okinawa Shoyu Pork are those with a good balance of lean meat and fat, which ensures tender and flavorful results. Pork shoulder, pork belly, or pork loin are commonly used cuts. You can choose the cut that suits your taste and preference for fat content.

How long should I marinate the pork?

Marinating times can vary based on the thickness of the pork slices and your desired flavor intensity. A general guideline is to marinate the pork for at least 2-4 hours, but letting it marinate overnight in the refrigerator can enhance the flavor even further.

Can I use a slow cooker for this dish?

Yes, you can use a slow cooker to make Okinawa Shoyu Pork. After marinating the pork, place it along with the marinade in the slow cooker and cook on low for about 6-8 hours or until the pork is tender. Using a slow cooker allows the flavors to meld together over an extended cooking time.

What are some traditional side dishes to serve with Okinawa Shoyu Pork?

In Okinawa, Shoyu Pork is often served with a variety of side dishes that complement its flavors. Some common side dishes include Goya Champuru (bitter melon stir-fry), Rafute (Okinawan-style braised pork belly), and vegetables like stir-fried or steamed Okinawan sweet potatoes. Rice is a staple accompaniment.