Olive Magazine
A green plate topped with pieces of glazed pork and a fried egg

Filipino fried pork

Published: January 26, 2022 at 11:46 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • + marinating
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

This sweet cured fried pork gets its distinctive crimson colour from annatto and cranberry juice. Serve with fried eggs and warm rice for a hearty dinner for four


Try this recipe for Filipino fried pork, then check out our Filipino garlic-fried rice, chicken adobo and leche flan.

This Filipino fried pork recipe is adapted from Filipinx by Angela Dimayuga and Ligaya Mishan (£28.99, Abrams). "Tocino is bacon in Spanish but our version is closer to Chinese char siu, sweet with a throb of sour, and redder, verging on incarnadine. The sweetness has a dark side, like Vietnamese nuoc mau, caramel brought perilously close to burning.

"Its origins lie in Pampanga and a long tradition of fermenting pork with salt and rice (burong babi) – and later with sugar (pindang babi) – to preserve it in the heat. As made here, the distinctive crimson colour of the tocino comes from annatto (also called achiote) and cranberry juice.

"The cranberry brings extra acid to boost the action of the vinegar, and the rice flour binds the marinade to the meat, so flavour finds its way to every cranny."

Annatto/achiote is available online at spicemountain.co.uk.


  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • peeled and finely minced to make 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ small beetroot, peeled and finely grated
  • 50g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • finely ground to make ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp rice flour
  • ¼ tsp annatto powder
  • 2 tbsp cranberry juice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 450g pork shoulder, sliced 6mm thick
  • garlic butter fried rice or steamed rice, to serve
  • 4 eggs, any way you like, to serve
  • pickles and vegetable sides, to serve


  • STEP 1

    In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, beetroot, sugar, salt, fish sauce, pepper, flour, annatto, cranberry juice, vinegar and soy.

  • STEP 2

    Arrange the pork slices in a zip-top bag or small container. Pour the marinade over the pork and lightly massage it so the marinade coats each slice. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight.

  • STEP 3

    Remove the pork from the container, leaving behind any excess marinade. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium high, then add a few pork slices, making sure that there’s at least 1cm of space between them. Pour in a few tbsp of water, plus some of the marinade strained through a fine-mesh strainer, to help steam and render the fat – by the time the liquid evaporates, there’ll be enough fat to crisp and brown the meat.

  • STEP 4

    Watch the pan closely. The sugars in the marinade will begin to caramelise and lacquer the meat. Turn each pork slice over once every 1-2 minutes, collecting any caramel. Each batch will take about 8 minutes total cooking time. When the pork slices are a deep, dark brown on both sides, transfer the meat to a plate. Repeat with the remaining pork.

  • STEP 5

    Cool, then serve with warm rice, eggs and any of your favourite pickles and vegetable sides.

This Filipino fried pork recipe is adapted from Filipinx by Angela Dimayuga and Ligaya Mishan (£28.99, Abrams). Photographs by Alex Lau.

Find more pork recipes

Seared pork loin with harissa chickpeas

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