This is the classic of all home-cooked Chinese dishes, in and outside of China. Every household has their own twist and everybody loves their mama’s Tau Yiu Bak (or braised pork in soy sauce). I, naturally, prefer our version. The deep brown, made from bite-sized morsels of pork, layered with skin, fat and meat, all deliciously braised in a salty, sweet sauce to become melt-in-your-mouth tender. The secret is that to use both type of soy sauce. Light salty soy sauce and sweet dark soy sauce compliment each other and delivers the saltiness and deeper complex moreish flavour to the dish. Our braised pork in soy celebrates the meat and local soy sauce, nothing less and nothing more. The whole bulb of garlic and eggs are just meaningful companion.
Kids and adults alike can have fulfilling lunch (and dinner, and breakfast for the next day) with steamed rice and this sweet and salty dish. The hard boiled eggs are usually first to go. The lean meat would be next in line. Other fatty bits with gelatinous bite is loved by the older ones. The last to go or the one get wasted is shiitake mushrooms. It is necessary because it imparts such complex flavour to the dish. When cooked nicely, mushrooms can be quite delicious.
The braised pork in soy sauce calls for a couple of bulbs of garlic, soaked dried shiitake, pork trotters and hard boiled eggs. Pork trotters can be substituted with any kind of pork meat. Most commonly used is pork belly. The trotter was particularly fresh and nice that morning when we dropped by the butcher, so we got it. Normally we would also use pork belly. The secret is to not cut the pork too thinly so that the long braising period will not cause the pork to be overcooked.