You can go to a Chinese restaurant with 1,000 items. But we'll bet, without even opening the newspaper-like menu, you're gonna order sweet and sour pork. Maybe it's the crispy meat or the face-puckering sauce. Or maybe it's the pineapples—though we know a bunch of you won't admit this (the same is true with the bell peppers). But this takeout classic is a go-to for Filipinos, so much so that's it invaded even our households.
This sweet and sour pork recipe recreates the dish almost exactly like those in Chinese restaurants in Binondo. That's all thanks to a process called velveting and a well-balanced combination of sweet and sour flavors to build the sauce. It also comes together really quickly—30 minutes tops (plus an extra 30 for marinating, but we don't have to count that).
- 600g pork, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup rice flour or potato starch
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp ginger, sliced
- 1 cup bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 white onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
- 1 can (432g) pineapple chunks, juice and fruit separated
Prepare the Pork
Combine cornstarch, baking soda, soy sauce, oil, and egg whites in a bowl. Add pork and toss in the mixture until fully coated.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer pork to the fridge. Marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove pork from the fridge. Coat the pieces in rice flour, then spread out onto a tray. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Add oil to a wok or deep-bottomed pot for frying. Heat until oil temperature reaches 375°F (190°C).
Fry pork in batches until golden and crispy, about 5–8 minutes, then remove from heat and drain on a cooling rack or on paper towels. Repeat until all pork is fried. Set aside.
Prepare the Sweet and Sour Sauce
In a wok over high heat, add the oil.
Add ginger and bell peppers and cook until peppers begin to soften. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes more.
Add the tomato sauce, vinegar, and the juice of the canned pineapple into the wok. Cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by ¼.
Add the cornstarch and water mixture and continue cooking until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the fried pork and pineapple chunks, stirring to coat. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens around the meat. Remove from heat and serve immediately.