Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce)

'Tau Yu Bak' is a Fujian dish that is very closely related to the Peranakan cuisine. This pork braised in soy sauce dish is tender and succulent. With spices and grandma's secret, learn how to cook the best Tau Yu Bak that is guaranteed easy and tasty!

5 stars

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 120 mins


Braised Pork with Soy Sauce, Lou Bak

Malaysian, Singaporean

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Nutrition per Serving

309 kcal
11 g
17 g
27 g

Tau Yu Bak or braised pork in soy sauce is more popular in Malaysia and Singapore although Penang is well known for it. The dish is also popular among the Peranakan and Teochew community. This recipe’s main ingredient is soy sauce, both light and thick dark soy sauce. In Hokkien, light soy sauce is known as ‘tau yu’ while pork is called ‘bak’. That is how the dish got its name. Tau yu bak may be deemed as a simple soy sauce dish but do not underestimate its taste. The additional herbs, spices and hard boiled eggs which are infused with the awesome gravy make it an exceptional amazing dish.

Why this recipe?

The best Tau Yu Bak recipe has got to have tender pork pieces with a savoury saucy gravy. The gravy is pleasantly intense. It’s the combination of the dark and thick soy sauce along with the light soy sauce.

Important soy sauce notes

I’ve always used the caramel thick dark soy sauce which has an almost honey like consistency. It is a must in this dish. It’s more commonly found in Malaysia and sometimes, Singapore. If it’s not available near you, use the liquid dark soy sauce but you may need more than one tablespoon. I recommend marinating the pork with one tablespoon and add another tablespoon or more for the additional ‘tau yu’.

Another possible substitute is sweet soy sauce. If you use this, you can reduce or omit rock sugar.

Get rid of the boar taint

To get rid of the unpleasant smell of boar taint, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Then, add the pork together with a few slices of ginger into the pot. Once water begins to boil again, remove the pork and set aside.

Best pork cut for Tau Yu bak

Traditionally, pork belly is the favourite choice when it comes to cooking Tau Yu Bak. As the pork belly cooks, the fats melt and enhance the flavour of the dish. However, choose pork butt/pork shoulders if you prefer more meat.

Tips for tender pork

The only way for tender and succulent meat is to simmer the dish over very low heat. This will ensure that the flavours of the ingredients and the pork are properly infused together.

Cooking tau yu bak in slow cooker

Tau yu bak can be prepared in a slow cooker. Add all ingredients into the slow cooker and ensure enough water to cover the ingredients. Allow the dish to cook for at least 4 hours at low heat. This applies whether chicken or pork is used. Stir the dish every now and then for the flavours to be incorporated evenly.

Replace pork with chicken

Instead of pork, chicken meat may be used as a substitute. Use chicken thighs for best results.

Trust me, you can never get enough of this awesome dish especially if raw sambal belacan is used as a dipping sauce.


1 tbsp
dark soy sauce
400 g
garlic head
cinnamon stick(s)
star anise
1 cm
1⁄2 tsp
five spice powder
1⁄4 tsp
1 tbsp
soy sauce
10 g
rock sugar

Steps to Prepare

Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce) Step 1

Step 1 of 4

    • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    • 400 g pork

Coat pork evenly with dark soy sauce. Pan fry pork without oil over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.

Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce) Step 2

Step 2 of 4

    • 1 garlic head
    • 1 cinnamon stick(s)
    • 1 star anise
    • 2 clove(s)
    • 1 cm ginger
    • 1⁄2 tsp five spice powder
    • 1⁄4 tsp pepper

Toast whole garlic in oven at 200 degrees Celcius for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Then, add cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, ginger slices, pepper, five-spice powder and also, toasted garlic head to pork.

Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce) Step 3

Step 3 of 4

    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 10 g rock sugar
    • water

Add soy sauce and mix well. After 30 minutes, add rock sugar. If the dish is too dry, add a tablespoon of water.

Tau Yu Bak (Braised Pork in Soy Sauce) Step 4

Step 4 of 4

    • 4 egg(s)

Once sugar melts and thickens, add enough hot water to cover pork. Add hard-boiled eggs. Cook dish at medium heat for at least 1 hour or until meat is tender. Serve with 'sambal belacan'.

Published: June 18, 2014

3 Discussions

Jensen Wee
3 years ago

Jensen Wee

Hi I'm wondering after I have cooked it, if I thermal heat it overnight, will it be better? Will the meat become tough? Thanks

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
3 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Hi Jensen! I'm going to assume that it might. If you are going to use the thermal cooker, then don't cook the dish at medium heat for one hour. Immediately transfer the dish to the thermal cooker. That should do the trick. Let us know your result!

4 years ago


I posted my comment in discussion..but not showing at that section. I gave my genuine feedback about this recipe.

4 years ago


Dear Grace, thanks for sharing. I tried this recipe, it's nice overall. Here is my feedback. I found it to be a bit too sweet for my family and I. It lacks the taste of "tau yu. I increase the soy sauce to 3 TBSP. I will reduce to 5g and try to use brown sugar instead the next time I cook.

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Hey Caroline, thank you so much for sharing! Did you also post a food snap? I guess it depends on the soy sauce (tau yu) you use. The caramel black soy sauce from Malaysia works like magic in this recipe. Did you use the Chinese yellow rock sugar? They are mild in sweetness.

4 years ago


I am using the tiger brand soy sauce and black soy sauce from Singapore which tastes great when I cook other dishes actually. I think the proportion of the ingredient can be fine-tuned to bring up the taste of Tau yu. I will experiment by adjusting the amount of each sauce.

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

We love hearing how our community adapted the recipe to their taste. Share with us your food snap when you do the next round!

4 years ago


Hi Mira, I have uploaded food snap and the amount of the sauce ingredients I used for our family. My recipe can be found at my website: https://carolinechongpf.wixsite.com/experience/recipes

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Fantastic! Actually, you can directly share your recipe on Nyonya Cooking. https://www.nyonyacooking.com/recipes/create That way, our members can follow you and see all the recipes you‘ve shared!

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