Okinawa Shoyu Pork

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Okinawa Shoyu Pork

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…

Okinawa Shoyu Pork
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


Okinawa Shoyu Pork

Okinawa Shoyu Pork

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.