Sweet and Sour Pork

There are many styles of sweet and sour pork in China such as South China Gu Lao Rou [咕咾肉], north Chinese style Guo Bao Rou [锅包肉], Fujian Style Cherry Pork [樱桃肉]. Today we are making Tang Cu Li Ji [糖醋里脊], translated as sweet and sour pork loin. It is actually from the center part of China. My mom is from the center of China so this is the style that I will normally eat at home. But I live in South China so Gu Lao Rou will be the choice when I go out to eat. Anyway, I think all kinds of sweet and sour pork are delicious. They have that nice balance of sweet and sour which is what makes me love about it. So let’s get started.

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5 from 6 votes

Sweet And Sour Pork Loin Recipe (Central Chinese Style) [糖醋里脊]


Ingredients for the pork (Serve 2-3)

Ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce

  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of vinegar
  • Cornstarch water: 1 tbsp of cornstarch + 1 table of water
  • 3/4 tsp of salt or to taste
  • Some dried orange peel can be switched with fresh orange peel or lemon zest



  • You will need 250 grams of pork loin. This is what I usually do. Slice the pork into thick pieces. Then cut it into thick strips. Marinate it with 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1/4 tsp of salt, and a 1/4 tsp of baking soda (Not baking powder, they are different). Give that a nice mix. If you want to add some black pepper, garlic powder, go ahead. I just want to keep it simple. Let that sit for 20 minutes so it has enough time for the baking soda to tenderize the pork.
  • While waiting, we can make the batter. You will need 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp of baking powder(not baking soda) and 3 tbsp of water. Mix it well.
  • Put the pork into the batter. Mix it nicely. Make sure every piece of the pork is coated well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  • While waiting you can heat up the oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. [ 182 degrees Celsius]. Add the pork strips one by one. I usually put the pork as close as possible to the oil and then drop it in. In this way, the oil won’t splash everywhere.
  • Once you can feel that one side is crispy. You can flip it over and fry the other side. Once both sides are done, take it out. Let it sit for a few minutes and we are going to double fry it. If you are serving guests, you can just let it sit there and double fry it right before serving. The second fry should take less than a minute and you can take it out. It should be beautifully golden brown.
  • Now let me show you how to make the sweet and sour sauce. You should make this sauce in advance so you can mix it with the pork right after it is fried.
  • You will need 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of water, 3 tbsp of vinegar, and 3/4 tsp of salt (or to taste). Besides that, I like to add some dried orange peels. If you don’t have it, you can use fresh ones or even some lemon zest.
  • Stir the sauce on medium heat. Once it is bubbling, turn the heat to low, add Some cornstarch water. Make sure you are stirring the sauce while adding the starch water or else it will clump up. Keep cooking it on low heat until it feels sticky but still flowing easily.
  • Pour the sauce all over the freshly fried pork. Give it a nice toss. Sprinkle some diced spring onion. Toasted sesame seed. Make sure you serve it immediately. This is a delicate dish. If you are like me playing around with the camera for pictures, you are not going to enjoy that nice crispiness.
  • Enjoy your meal! If you have any questions about the recipes, just post a comment, will help you out as soon as possible!


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