Braised pork hock |

Braised pork hock

What the Chinese name for this dish is, I still have to discover. Some say it is hong ba or hong ma but it appears that hong ba or hong ma is made with cut pieces of pork belly rather than a whole pork hock. In Chinese restaurants in the Philippines, this dish is known as pata tim. Whatever its original Chinese name may be, it is a dish of pork hock braised in a sweet-salty sauce and slow cooked until the meat is literally falling off the bones. Traditionally served with steamed sweet buns (cua pao), it is also eaten with rice.

I have experimented with this dish so many times, even tried cooking it three times (boiling, roasting and steaming), to achieve that melt-in-the-mouth texture but my last attempt seems to be the best. The juices well well sealed in, the pork skin, fat, ligaments and meat were so tender and they were such a joy to eat.

Serves 6.


  • 1 whole pork hock, about 1.5 kg.
  • 1/2 c. of cane (red) vinegar
  • 3/4 c. of sugar
  • 1 c. of Shao Xing rice wine
  • 1/2 c. of dark soy sauce
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves of garlic, bruised
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced thinly
  • 2 shallots, cut in halves
  • 1 tbsp. of dry roasted sichuan peppercorns

To garnish:

  • a bunch of pak choi, blanched
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced and blanched
  • 1 tbsp. of sesame seed oil

To sear the meat, seal in the juices and prevent the formation of scum during braising, place the pork hock in a shallow baking dish lined with non-stick paper. Roast for about 45 minutes in a preheated oven at the highest temperature that your oven allows.

About 10 minutes before the roasting time is up, start making the braising sauce. Pour the vinegar in a pot just large enough to hold the pork hock. Add the sugar. Boil until the sugar melts. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture starts to turn syrupy. Add the soy sauce and Shao Xing rice wine. Lower the pork into the sauce. Add the bay leaves, sichuan peppers, star anise, garlic, ginger and shallots. If the sauce does not come up to 1/2 of the height of the pork hock, add water. Simmer for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, turning the pork hock over every 30 minutes. Check the liquid after an hour and add more soy sauce if necessary (or salt if you don’t want your braised pork hock to turn too dark). If too little is left, add a cup or so of water. Do not, however, add more water during the last hour of cooking to make sure that the sauce thickens and do not acquire a soupy texture.

When the pork is done, carefully transfer to a serving bowl. Arrange the blanched vegetables around it. Strain the sauce and pour over the pork. Heat the sesame seed oil until smoking and drizzle over the pork.


  1. Rowena says

    Hello Ms Connie, I will definitely try your new recipe for pata tim. I just want to ask you something, where can I buy the dry roasted sichuan peppercorns?Thanks.

  2. peterb says

    Hi Connie,

    Nice new site you have here! Patatim, one dish i’ve always wanted to do but found a bit daunting. Thanks for making it easier!

    I wonder if Little Store in Gilmore is the same as Little Store on the Hill in Little Baguio…

    Rowena, i got mine at Spices n Flavours at Market! Market!. They also have a small stall at the Megamall grocery. It’s a bit more expensive though.

  3. says

    The Chinese steamed buns are called cua pao in the Philippines, Ace.

    Peterb, with the summer coming, all favorite recipes need simpler versions. hehehe

  4. jane says

    hi connie! i’ll definitely try this, request ng hubby at mom-in-law to matagal na.Wipee! Your talent and your site really help me to impress them.Thanks so much!

  5. anna says

    hello, ms. connie!
    my oven only has 2 settings…bake and broil. the recipe calls for roasting…..which setting should I opt for? thanks!

  6. maria says

    Hi Connie—love cooking pata tim coz my friends love it!!! Only difference is that I deep fry the pork hocks until browned instead of roasting them in the oven. Takes about 10 minutes. Then I put it in a slowcooker (crockpot) with the rest of the ingredients and turn the setting to low heat and when I get home 6 hours later, the wonderful aroma just makes it all the more tastier!!!

  7. JOEY TOSINO says

    uy, subukan ko to ha.
    pati yun recipe mo sa paksiw na pata kinuha ko rin.
    mukang puros baboy ang i-try ko magkasunod.
    at shempre may sweet/sour flavour pa.
    sarap neto sa kanin.
    thanks Con.

  8. gail says

    as far as i know po ang cua pao yung parang siopao ang bun, with veggies and meat filling. favorite ko cua pao sa henlin. while yung man tao is the one they serve sa mga chinese restos partner ng pata tim! yung plain lang sya without the filling.

  9. Hazel says


    I’m in Kuwait and there’s no rice wine (or any wine) here. Can I use pineapple juice as a substitute. I might be able to get some pork from the US base. Hehehe!

  10. Marcus says

    tried it, tolerable but mostly didn’t work for us. It had too much vinegar and partner refused to eat it. Sigh.

  11. bong says

    what is the setting of oven? is it bake or broil? can i use apple cider vinegar instead of cane vinegar?

  12. says

    I have been looking all over for the perfect hong ma recipe and I am so glad I finally found it! I think any traditional Chinese household won’t be complete without this dish in their recipe box. Thanks, Ms. Connie! I did a blog post of how mine fared using your ingredients and instructions.

  13. Alunsina Nunez says

    hi ms. connie, when i go to monterey meat shop, what do I ask for? ano po ba yung pork hock?


  14. Rheena says

    Hi Ms. Connie,

    I couldn’t find rice wine here in Dubai…alcoholic beverages are not sold in supermarkets. Any other alternative?

    Same with sichuan peppercorns.:(

      • Rheena says

        Yes Ms. Connie..I understand. Not a good idea to compromise the taste. :( :( we’ve been looking forward pa naman sa weekend for this.

        Anyways, I’ll try my luck and use rice vinegar instead…I’ll let you know if it’ll work…I really hope it will…

        I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  15. Bong says


    I tried this latest recipe just now. While I am waiting for the first batch to cook (which is about an hour)I must say the sauce was very tasty. The saltiness, hotness and sweetness are all noticeable I like it so much. Of course the aroma is also sooo good. Thanks for posting this pata tim recipe. It is the first time I am cooking this and I just started my cooking trip about three days ago. Meaning, I only started to cook three days ago and have no prior experience.

  16. Belle says

    Hi Connie, first time on your website and my tummy is just growling while browsing through a lot of mouthwatering recipes. This is my mom”s specialty and she cooks it on special occasions, we did not have an oven back home in the philippines to roast the hock first, so she would deep fry it first just to give the skin a wrinkly textured to it prior to braising. You’re right, Hong ma is cooked the same way except pork belly is used and not the hock, for the hock, we call it hong ti kha, “hong” meaning braised, “ti-kha” means pork hock. My mom doesn’t really cook with recipes, so she didn’t give me any (she passed away 8 years ago), she just eyeballs everything and the result is always consistently yummy, she adds chinese black mushroom and roasted chestnut on hers in addition to the ingredients that you use on yours….so thank you, now I have a recipe to work with.

  17. Van says


    I tried this recipe last night. The taste and flavor were wonderful. However, the pork came out really dry. I’m not sure why. I “roast” the pork hock for 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, then transfer and submerge in the sauce pan with very low heat for 3 hours…I had plenty of sauce. Every 20 minutes, I turned the pork to the other side. I’m not sure if I should “roast” the pork next time or not. Let me know what you think.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  18. dewsi says

    i’ve tried this the other day! came out really great! got two-thumbs up again for this!
    it was soft and juicy though i didn’t reach that ‘falling off the bones’ stage as my guest arrived earlier than expected.but i will definitely try this again with longer braising time.
    i so love it! can’t get over the taste of it that the next day i wish to have it again for dinner but hubby wanted a different menu. so i cut the leftover meat into small pieces, with some green salad, slices of tomato and cucumber, and a few drops of tabasco, we had piadina for dinner! oohh, just perfect! :)

      • dewsi says

        a million thanks to you! learned a lot from ur site! and still learning. so pls don’t get tired sharing ur ‘kitchen’ with us. *wink*

    • says

      In Asian stores. Some supermarkets have it too.

      As to substitution: Japanese rice wine is sweet, Shao Xing is not. When you substitute, the result always changes. And you may have something not good or something better.

      • Glen says

        Thanks! Tried your recipe today but I used pork belly (1.5kg) instead. Super yummy.

        BTW, I was able to buy a 650ml bottle (215 pesos) of Shaoxing from Shopper’s Mart Binondo. Hypermarket is also selling a 700ml bottle for 244 pesos.

  19. aliaskapopoy says

    miss rheena, the non alcoholic alternative for rice wine is apple juice or white grape juice, at least according to as for the sichuan peppercorn, try visiting those chinese grocery shops in international city (china cluster).

    Miss Connie, thanks for posting this recipe, ill try this on my bday. hehe

  20. says

    Yes Ms Connie .Cua Pao is a folded bun as I saw them it here in Singapore. I will try your recipe…my mouth is watering already…looks so yummy.

  21. says

    You should treat every recipe as a guide, not as a formula. The amount of every ingredient should always be in accordance with your taste. You could have adjusted the amount of each ingredient, including the vinegar, at any time during the cooking. And this dish takes such a long time to cook.