Chef's Special with Jun Li from Sojo, in Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford

Jun Li, 40, is currently SoJo’s Head Chef, joining the team nearly three years ago. He hails from Shanghai and is married with a teenage daughter. He started preparing simple home-cooked dinners for his family when he was 12, his parents being away at work all day. That got him hooked on “cooking and perfecting dishes”.

When he left school at 18, he was offered, and gladly accepted, a kitchen position in a big hotel in Shanghai. The restaurant in the hotel served 300 patrons at any time of day, specialising in Shanghainese cuisine. Li started from scratch his formal training, kitchen portering and prepping. After three months he was elected by the head chef Wang Jun to join the chefs. Within two years he joined the top rank of chefs in a hierarchy of four levels. He remained a top-grader for five years.

He then joined the national consortium of restaurants owned by the government of The People’s Republic of China. He trained in other areas of the country’s regional cuisines, including Cantonese and Szechuan dishes. He was head chef in various top restaurants in Shanghai and Jiangsu.

Coming to the UK, he took up a sous chef position at Sojo before making his way to the top.

This dish, from Sojo chef Tsang Kwai Wing, comes from Hangzhou in China and is named after a famous poet Su Dongpo in the Song Dynasty. A melt in your mouth delight.


1kg belly pork – rind on
2tbsp oil
6 spring onions sliced
8 slices of ginger
100g rock sugar
50ml dark soy sauce
50ml light soy sauce
100ml Shaoxing wine
150ml water


Scrape the pork rind to rid it of any bristles. (Tip: use long tongs and hold the pork, rind facing down, above a flame to easily get rid of bristles) Blanch the pork in a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes and skim off the scum occasionally. Drain and thoroughly pat the pork dry with paper towels.

Heat a wok/pan over a high heat.

Add oil and heat until very hot. Cook the pork until well browned and the skin is crispy.

Drain the pork.

Put all the other ingredients into a casserole pot and bring to the boil.

Stir gently until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the pork, cover and simmer for 2.5 -3hours or until tender. The pork should separate easily.

Remove the pork and dish out.

Remove as much oil from the sauce as possible and pour the sauce over pork and serve.

Serve with vegetables to offset the fattiness of the pork.