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What Sides Go with Braised Pork Belly?

A braised pork belly cut into about 2 inches wide. Put on a white plate with a spoon and knife next to the plate. Waiting for the side dishes to kick start the meal.

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The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Side Dishes with Braised Pork Belly

Hello. Pork Belly fans. Have you ever wondered what side dish to pair with the braised pork belly? With any excellent hero dish, we sometimes need a great sidekick to take our braised pork belly to the next level. 


The formula of a good side dish is easy for braised pork belly. Because the pork is going to taste savory. You need a sweet taste to pair with it. Following this formula, it does not matter what kind of braised it is; whether you prefer soy sauce braised, tomato braised, or wine braised.


Fortunately, there are really a whole bunch of options to choose from. Anything from traditional rice to low carbs keto. The side dishes you found here will inspire you for your braised pork belly adventure.


Well, let’s waste no time and grab a fork. Explore all the incredible side dish options that can help elevate your braised pork belly to new levels!


Classic Side Dishes for Braised Pork Belly

Braised pork belly is a rich and flavorful dish that pairs well with classic side dishes. Here are a few tried-and-true options to consider:



Rice on a plate. Spoon and fork next to it.

Steamed Rice 

Steamed rice is a classic side dish that pairs perfectly with braised pork belly, especially with Lu Rou Fan. The mild flavor of the rice helps to balance the richness of the pork belly, while the fluffy texture provides a nice contrast to the tender meat. 


If you don’t have rice cooker. No worries. You can use a pot:

  • Rinse 1 cup rice with cold water, then drain it well.

  • Combine the rice with 1 1/3 cups of water, plus a pinch of salt, in a small pot with a lid.

  • Heat until boiling, then simmer covered for 18-20 mins until water is absorbed.

  • Take the pan off the stove and allow it to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

noodle as side dish

Noodles or Pasta

Noodles are another classic side dish that can be served alongside braised pork belly. Chinese egg noodles, udon noodles, or soba noodles are all great options. 

To prepare noodles, cook them according to the package instructions and then rinse them in cold water. Toss with a bit of sesame oil to prevent sticking. By the way, you may also want to try Konjac Noodle which is low carbs and keto friendly.

At first glance, pasta may sound weird. Did you try the pasta with tomato meat sauce? It is basically the same; the braised pork belly works exceptionally well with pasta.

The starchiness and the pork belly fat complement each other perfectly. Don’t believe me? Try this Italian-Inspired Passata Braised Pork Belly recipe with the pasta. 

stir fried veggie

Stir-Fried Vegetables

Stir-fried vegetables are a great way to add freshness and crunch to your braised pork belly meal.  Heat some cooking oil in a skillet over high heat to prepare stir-fried vegetables. Add the vegetables and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender. Season with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil. That’s it.



Lighter Side Dishes for Braised Pork Belly

While classic side dishes like steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables can be delicious with braised pork belly, sometimes you may want to balance the rich and heavy flavors of the plate with something lighter and fresher.


I would choose awesome low carbs food for this job. Here are some great options for lighter, low carbs side dishes that will complement your pork belly perfectly.



cauliflower rice pilaf

Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

Cauliflower rice pilaf is a great keto-friendly side dish that pairs well with braised pork belly. Begin by placing cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulsing them until they are broken down into small, rice-like pieces. 


Cook the cauliflower rice in a skillet, chopped onions, and garlic until the vegetables become tender. Add chopped almonds and fresh herbs like parsley and mint for added texture and flavor.



Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts are a great side dish that can help cut through the richness of braised pork belly. Coat halved Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, bake them in the oven until they turn crispy and brown. You can even sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top for added umami flavor.



zucchini and tomato salad

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

A simple cucumber and tomato salad can also be a great side dish for braised pork belly. Cut the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes into slices, then mix them with chopped parsley and a basic vinaigrette prepared from olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard. The freshness of the vegetables will help balance out the richness of the pork belly.


Focusing on fresh ingredients and bright flavors is important when preparing lighter side dishes for braised pork belly. The cauliflower rice pilaf provides a great keto-friendly option with some heartiness and texture, while roasted Brussels sprouts, cucumber, and tomato salad give some freshness and acidity to the meal. 


By incorporating these lighter side dishes into your meal, you can create a very satisfying eating experience.



Creative and Unexpected Side Dishes for Braised Pork Belly

While classic side dishes like steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables complement braised pork belly, mixing things up and trying something new is always fun. Here are some creative and unexpected side dishes that work well with braised pork belly:


Mashed Potatoes in a bowl

Mashed Potatoes

While mashed potatoes may not be an obvious pairing with pork belly, they complement each other remarkably well. The creamy and buttery mashed potatoes complement the richness of the pork belly, and the texture provides a nice contrast to the tender meat. You can mix some roasted garlic into the mashed potatoes for added flavor.



Sweet Potato Fries in a plate

Sweet Potato Fries 

Instead of regular fries, try making sweet potato fries with your braised pork belly. Sweet potatoes have a natural sweetness that pairs well with the savory pork belly. The crispy texture contrasts with the tender meat.



Air Fried Roasted Carrots

Air Fried Carrots with Curry Power

Air Fried carrots with curry powder can be a great side dish to pair with braised pork belly, as the earthy flavors of the spices complement the rich and savory flavors of the meat. The sweetness of the caramelized carrots can also provide a nice balance to the salty and fatty pork belly. Overall, it can be a tasty and exciting combination to try.


Incorporating these unexpected side dishes into your meal adds interest and variety to the dining experience. While these side dishes may not be the obvious things that come to mind when thinking about pork belly, they all provide unique flavors and textures that complement the dish.


Plus, they’re all easy to prepare and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Try them and see how they elevate your next pork belly meal.



Incorporating Regional or Cultural Flavors into Your Side Dishes

When pairing side dishes with braised pork belly, you can incorporate regional or cultural flavors to add complexity and depth to the meal. Here are some ideas to try it out:



kimchi on plate


Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made of fermented vegetables, most commonly Napa cabbage. Its sour, spicy, and umami flavors make it a perfect pairing for braised pork belly. 


The acidity in kimchi cuts through the richness of the pork belly, while the spiciness adds a little kick to the dish. You can serve kimchi as a side dish or incorporate it into the braising liquid to infuse the pork belly with its flavors.



bok choy

Bok Choy

Bok choy is a Chinese cabbage commonly used in stir-fries and soups. The Bok choy has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and tender texture, making it a great side dish for braised pork belly. You can sauté bok choy with garlic and ginger to add some depth of flavor, or steam it and drizzle it with soy sauce and sesame oil.



Malaysian acar salad on a bowl


For an easy-to-make Malaysian side dish(my mom love making that but I like eating it) that pairs well with braised pork belly, you could try making “acar,” a pickled vegetable salad. It typically includes a mix of thinly sliced cucumber, carrots, and cabbage, all pickled in a sweet and sour vinegar-based dressing. 


You could also add sliced chilies or chili flakes to spice the dish. Acar’s sour and refreshing taste can balance out the rich flavor of pork belly, creating a delicious and satisfying meal.



French side dish long bean Haricots Verts

French-style Haricots Verts

Haricots verts, also known as French green beans, are a classic French side dish that’s quick and easy to make. Blanch the beans and toss them with shallots, garlic, and butter for a simple and yummy side dish that pairs well with any style of braised pork belly. 


The shallots and garlic add a depth of flavor, while the butter gives the dish a rich and luxurious taste. This side dish is perfect for a French-inspired dinner party or a quick, easy weeknight meal.



 What Are the Best Side Dishes for Braised Pork Belly?

Classic side dishes pair well with braised pork belly, such as steamed rice, noodles, and stir-fried veggie. Braised pork belly also pairs well with a lighter low-carb keto option, such as cauliflower rice pilaf, roasted Brussels sprouts, and cucumber and tomato salad.


Besides that, go crazy and creative with the side dish with mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, and roasted carrots with curry powder. Or, go international like Korean kimchi. 


If you can think of something else sweet, it will most of the time go well with the braised pork belly. The sweetness and savory of pork belly will always shine. Do let me know what side dish you pair with braised pork belly. I want to try it too : )



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