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Thai Sweet Pork (Moo Wan Recipe)

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Thai sweet pork (moo wan recipe) is a quick and easy pork belly stir-fry perfect for busy weeknights. With fresh herbs and spices tossed in an irresistibly sticky and sweet savory stir-fry sauce, this is as good as any takeout favorite. Serve it up with rice and watch it disappear in an instant!

Thai sweet pork, moo wan, caramelized and paired with steamed jasmine rice.

What is moo wan

Moo wan is a classic Thai stir-fry featuring sweet and savory pork belly simmered in a blend of soy sauce, palm sugar, and spices. It’s a comfort food combining tender meat with a caramelized, sticky glaze.

Thai sweet pork recipe

Moo wan, or moo waan – mu wan, is a staple in my weekly dinner rotation.

It’s that irresistibly delicious blend of sweet and savory that you just can’t get enough of.

Close-up of Thai sweet pork belly stir-fry, showcasing the caramelized pork belly pieces with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

This is the kind of meal that makes you say, “Wow, I made this?!” Yes, you did, and it’s restaurant-quality amazing!

You can easily create something way better than takeout at home. With this Thai sweet pork belly stir-fry recipe, you’re welcoming a new favorite.

Plate of Thai moo wan, featuring sweet pork alongside a mound of rice.

It’s easy, it’s insanely delicious, and it’s ready to become your new go-to.

Why try this Thai stir-fried pork belly

  • Flavor that deepens over time: The longer that pork belly simmers in the sweet and savory sauce, the more it soaks up those incredible Thai flavors.
  • Tender and delicious pork: When it’s all done, what’s left in the pot is pork so tender it almost melts in your mouth, wrapped up in a sauce that’s thick, rich, and deliciously sticky.
  • Unbeatable flavors: The mix of spices and Thai sauces in this dish creates a unique taste and aroma you won’t find in any other pork dish. It’s a sweet and savory combo that makes Thai food so good!
  • Quick and easy: Who said Thai food has to be complicated? This stir-fried pork belly is the perfect example of how simple ingredients and steps can lead to amazing results (and aromas).

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Top-view of ingredients for Thai sweet pork: pork belly, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, water, coriander root, black peppercorns, garlic, dark soy sauce, palm sugar, and shallots.
  • Pork belly For Thai sweet pork, there’s nothing quite like pork belly. Its rich fat marbles through the meat, melting into tender bites as it cooks. It’s perfect for absorbing all that tasty sauce.
  • Black peppercorns – Peppercorns bring a warm, aromatic spicy kick. They’re crushed fresh in the mortar, releasing their natural oils and flavor that ground pepper can’t match.
  • Coriander root – Coriander root adds an earthy flavor and fresh notes.
  • Shallots – Shallots bring a subtle, mild flavor that’s lighter than regular onions.
  • Garlic – The base of most Thai stir-fry dishes, adding a pungent taste and distinct aroma.
  • Dark soy sauce – Dark soy darkens the color of the dish, as well as giving a hint of sweet and savory.
  • Oyster sauce – A staple in Thai stir-fries, oyster sauce enhances the overall flavors and brings richness and a salty flavor.
  • Palm sugar – The palm sugar melts into a rich, caramel-like syrup that coats the pork belly pieces. It has a deeper sweetness than white sugar.
  • Fish sauce – Fish sauce, a key ingredient in Thai cuisine, adds umami and a salty note. All seasonings and sauces can be sourced at Asian grocery stores or markets.
  • Water – Water is crucial for balancing the flavors and for melding the sauces and spices, ensuring the pork belly gets to soak up all that delicious goodness.

Cooking instructions

Granite mortar and pestle with finely crushed garlic, peppercorns, and coriander root.

1. Pound garlic, coriander root, and black peppercorns with a mortar and pestle.

Pork belly pieces simmering in water.

2. Fill a pot with enough water to completely cover the pork belly slices. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Let the pork belly cook until it’s tender and soft, which should take about 15–20 minutes.

Sautéed sliced shallots and spices in oil.

3. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat and sauté shallots along with the spice mixture and palm sugar until golden and fragrant. The palm sugar should begin to caramelize before continuing.

Stir-fry sauce preparation in a wok.

4. Create the sauce base by adding dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and water.

Pork pieces being stirred into a saucy mixture, coating each piece with a sticky, caramelized glaze.

5. Let everything simmer slowly. In about 20 minutes, you’ll have pork belly that’s coated in a thick, sticky sauce. Keep an eye on it and occasionally stir to ensure nothing sticks and burns. Serve immediately with rice.

Also, try some of my other delicious Thai pork belly stir-fry recipes!

Kitchen tools

  • Mortar and pestle for crushing the herbs and spices
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Large wok pan with spatula

How to serve

In our former Thai restaurant, we served moo wan with a side of steamed jasmine rice. The rice is the perfect partner for the sweetness of the sticky pork belly.

Garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro or chopped green onions for color and freshness. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

You can also add a side of Thai vegetables stir-fry or a spicy salad like som tum Thai.

How to store and reheat

Let your leftovers cool to room temperature and transfer them to an airtight container. It’ll keep well in your refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.

Reheating instructions: Simply reheat it on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until warm.

Frequently asked questions

Is Thai sweet pork spicy?

No, moo wan is not spicy. It has a sweet and savory flavor, but you can add sliced chilies for heat.

Can I use other cuts of pork?

Sure, but the best flavor and texture will be with pork belly.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, this dish is perfect for meal prep. The flavors will be even better the next day as they meld together over time.

More Thai pork recipes you’ll love

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Thai Sweet Pork (Moo Wan Recipe)

Thai sweet pork, moo wan, served with jasmine rice, garnished with fresh green onions.
This Thai sweet pork, or moo wan, has been tested and perfect. Serve with rice for a complete meal.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 4 coriander root
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup shallots finely chopped
  • 17.6 ounces pork belly
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar chop to measure
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2/3 cups water

Instructions

  • Pound garlic, coriander root, and black peppercorns with a mortar and pestle.
  • Fill a pot with enough water to completely cover the pork belly slices. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Let the pork belly cook until it’s tender and soft, which should take about 15–20 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a wok over medium heat and sauté shallots along with the spice mixture and palm sugar until golden and fragrant. The palm sugar should begin to caramelize before continuing.
  • Create the sauce base by adding dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and water.
  • Let everything simmer slowly. In about 20 minutes, you’ll have pork belly that’s coated in a thick, sticky sauce. Keep an eye on it and occasionally stir to ensure nothing sticks and burns. Serve immediately with rice.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.

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