Rafute (Okinawan glazed pork)

“Rafute is a special-occasion dish, considered to be the epitome of Okinawan cuisine. Pork belly is broiled, cooled, and then slowly simmered in a delectable combination of sake, sugar and soy sauce until the meat is melt-in-the-mouth tender. As it is rich, serve in small quantities with rice.”
3hrs 15mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 3 lbs pork belly
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 inches ginger, sliced
  • 1 cup bonito stock or 1 cup dashi stock (if unavailable, use reserved pork stock)
  • 1 cup awamori okinawa sake or 1 cup substitute Bourbon or 1 cup Scotch whisky
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 12 cup mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)


  1. Place pork, skin side up, on the rack of a broiler pan, and broil until skin is browned.
  2. Rinse pork under warm running water, scraping off any charred areas with a knife.
  3. Place the whole piece of pork in a large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, and cook 40 minutes.
  4. Remove pork and reserve broth.
  5. Allow the pork to cool, then slice into ½" thick, 2" x 2" squares.
  6. Combine other ingredients, except mirin, in a thick, wide, shallow pot, and bring to the boil.
  7. Lay the pork pieces in this sauce and cook, covered, for about 1½ hours over low heat.
  8. If during this time the pan seems dry, add a little of the reserved pork stock.
  9. As pork tenderizes, add mirin and cook a further half-hour uncovered, until pork is melt-in-the-mouth tender and evenly glazed with sauce.
  10. When warming leftovers, do not add water or soup stock- instead, use sake (or bourbon/whisky), which is said to keep pork tender and juicy.

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