Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and sour pork is one of the most popular Chinese dishes around, it is of Cantonese origin and I guess it can be found anywhere around the world. The dish originated from a traditional Jiangsu called Pork in sugar and vinegar sauce which shares nearly the same ingredients and cooking process. It was in the 18th century when this dish was created by the family chefs of the Long Family from the Shunde county, where it was used to test their skills. Then in the 20th century the recipe was introduced in the United States Chinese by migrant gold miners.

The typical sweet and sour dish is made out of deep fried pork pieces then stir fried in a sweet and sour sauce made out of sugar, vinegar, ketchup and soy sauce. Additional ingredients are also commonly added like peppers, onions, tomatoes and pineapple. There are also other types of souring agents used like unripe kiwifruits, HP sauce or acetic acid; sweetening agents like caramel, preserved plums, hawthorn candy are also good substitutes. For the colour the common ones used are ketchup, tomatoes or food colouring. Meats used can differ depending on the region, the traditional ones uses pork loins but in Hong Kong the popular ones are spare-ribs.

For this recipe I will be sharing a trusted traditional recipe, it is so good it won’t let you down.

Sweet and Sour Pork
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
Deep Fried Battered Pork
  • 600g Skinless Pork belly or Marbled pork loin, cut into bite size pieces
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil for deep frying
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Sweet and Sour
  • 1 can pineapple pieces, retain the juice
  • 1 thumb sized ginger, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch, mixed in 3 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 carrots, sliced into chunks
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves, garlic minced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • oil
  1. In a deep bowl combine together ¼ cup flour, ⅓ cup corn flour, 2 eggs, 4 tbsp water and 1 tsp salt, mix thoroughly until free of lumps, texture should be sticky but still runny.
  2. Add pork and coat evenly, set aside and place in fridge covered for at least 1 hour.
  3. Prepare a wok and add oil for frying pork pieces. Deep fry pork in high heat of for 3-4 minutes that should be enough to cook the meat and retain the tenderness. Drain then set aside on a plate.
  4. On a separate wok, add oil and sauté garlic and ginger.
  5. Add capsicum, carrots and onions then continue to stir fry for a minute.
  6. Add chicken stock, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice from the pineapple, tomato ketchup and diluted cornstarch. Bring it to a boil then simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. If you prefer it to be crispy then turn off heat and pour sauce over deep fried pork and sliced tomatoes. Otherwise add pork to the mixture then simmer for 2 more minutes.



16 Responses

  1. I watched an episode of iron chef before where they said that it was a Chinese restaurant in japan that first used pineapples in this dish.

  2. Tami McVey says:

    I make a similar version to this dish. It’s definitely one of my favourites! I want to try cooking my pork your way though, it looks fabulous!

  3. One of my favourite dishes!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  4. What an interesting story of the dish…I also love sweet and sour pork!

  5. Sarap!!! The deep fried battered pork is to die for in this dish. I love your HK version. I am certain this does not fall in the low fat, low calorie dish but it certainly is super delicious! Just shared!

  6. I love food history! It’s interesting and I love your version! It’s also my kids’ favorite (they prefer pork over chicken). 🙂

  7. Kristy says:

    Well you know my son will be asking me to make this ASAP. This is one of his favorite dishes and I have no doubt your recipe will be his favorite way to make it.

  8. Tina says:

    In the directions it says add tomato sauce and diluted corn starch? Where is that in the ingredients?

    • Raymund says:

      Apologies I named it inconsistently so its confusing, we call tomato ketchup in NZ as tomato sauce. Also the corn starch sometime corn flour. Anyways I amended it to avoid further confusion. Thanks for letting me know.

  9. ruiza112 says:

    I love it! <3 It was soo delicious! <3

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