These Asian pork tacos are the stuff dreams are made of. They start with crispy wonton shells filled with flavorful juicy shredded pork then topped with fresh slaw and spicy chili mayo. Great for an appetizer or dinner.
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With only two Taco Tuesdays left this year, I’m coming in hot with this recipe for Asian pork tacos.
I had actually intended to post a recipe for Asian-inspired tacos earlier this month, but I was unable to find any short ribs (my original plan). I tried again the next week and still no short ribs, so I ended up opting for a pork shoulder roast.
Believe it or not, I’ve never cooked with five-spice. I wanted to give it a try (and I did). Oh man, I wish I hadn’t. I sprinkled some on my pork and immediately regretted it. The overpowering aroma of fennel and licorice assaulted my senses. Ugh, there’s not much I can’t handle foodwise, but fennel and licorice are a no-go.
I tried masking it with other spices and it ended up coming out ok, but the five-spice lingered. Nope, not up to par.
Take two, sans five-spice, turned out so good though! I mean really, really good. I and the fam agree these are my best tacos yet!
Don’t let the cooking time scare you away! Yes, they require a bit of time, but the good news is, that you can just stick the pork in the oven and ignore it for three straight hours. Yep, go ahead and go run some errands, binge-watch some Netflix, or get some chores done.
The wonton taco shells may also seem intimidating, but they’re not. I promise! You’ll get the technique down in no time and will be glad you did. These shells are perfect little crispy carriers for the juicy Asian spiced pork, fresh slaw, and spicy chili mayo.
Ingredients (+ notes & substitutions)
- Sesame oil: Regular or toasted.
- Soy sauce: Could sub for coconut aminos.
- Mirin: Similar to sake but with a higher sugar content, mirin, is commonly used in Japanese cooking. You can find it at most grocery stores in the Asian section.
- Rice vinegar: Could sub for white vinegar.
- Dark soy sauce: While dark soy sauce is darker (duh), richer, and sweeter than regular soy sauce, it is less salty. If you can’t find any at your local supermarket, you can purchase it at an Asian market or even through Amazon (I have included a link below). If all else fails, The Woks of Life recommends using a combination of soy sauce, molasses, and granulated sugar as a replacement. You can find their recipe here.
- Sambal oelek: A spicy Indonesian chili sauce commonly prepared with garlic and ginger among other ingredients. Garlic chili sauce is a suitable alternative. Both can be found at most grocery stores as well as in Asian markets and on Amazon.
- Fresh ginger
- Pork shoulder: Fat trimmed and cubed into one-inch pieces.
- Lime juice: For the slaw.
- Ground ginger: Included in the slaw dressing.
- Red cabbage
- Carrot: These can be shredded or shaved. I just used a peeler and shaved the carrot into small(ish) pieces.
- Cilantro leaves
- Green onions
- Mayonnaise: For the sauce.
- Wonton wrappers: For these tacos, you will need the small (3 1/2-inch) wonton wrappers. These can typically be found in the produce section of the grocery store near items such as refrigerated salad dressings. In Asian markets, they are generally in the freezer section.
- Nonstick cooking oil: For the wonton shells.
How to make Asian pork tacos (+ tips)
The first step is to marinate the pork. Whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, Sambal Oelek, chopped garlic, and freshly grated ginger in a small bowl. Add the pork and marinade to a bowl or large Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least one hour, but no more than 24 hours. Yes, that means it can be prepared the night before, saving you an hour plus the day of!
Once the meat is finished marinating, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Remove pork from the refrigerator and transfer to a small Dutch oven and bake for three hours.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the slaw and chili mayo sauce. For the slaw dressing, whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, ground ginger, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, green onion, and dressing; toss to coat. Set aside.
For the chili mayo sauce, simply whisk together the mayonnaise and Sambal Oelek. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Once the pork has finished baking, remove it from the oven and pour it into a strainer, reserving the liquid. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees. Transfer the pork back to the Dutch oven or a bowl and shred. It should be tender enough that it will break apart by simply chopping it with a wooden spoon. Alternatively, you could use two forks to shred it.
Once shredded, add three tablespoons of the reserved liquid and stir to coat. Doing so rehydrates the pork and also adds additional flavor. If you do not plan on making all the tacos in one sitting, I highly recommend adding additional reserved liquid to the pork prior to refrigeration. Set the pork aside.
To make the wonton shells, flip a muffin tin upside down. Place the wonton wrapper in between the muffin cups shaping them into taco shells.
Spray with nonstick cooking spray and bake on the middle oven rack for five minutes or until crispy and golden brown. You may bake two muffin tins at a time. Repeat until you have 32 shells.
To assemble the tacos fill each wonton shell with one heaping tablespoon (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons) of shredded pork and top with one tablespoon of slaw and 1/2 teaspoon chili mayo sauce. Serve warm.
The components of this dish should be refrigerated separately in airtight containers. The pork will keep for up to four days, the slaw for up to five, and the chili mayo sauce for up to one week.
More unique tacos recipes you may enjoy:
- Buffalo Fried Pickle Tacos w/ Garlic Ranch: What’s better than fried pickles, buffalo sauce, and tacos?!?! A combination of the three; BUFFALO FRIED PICKLE TACOS!! These tacos start with crispy buffalo flavored fried pickles which are tossed in a tortilla and topped off with garlic ranch, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Great vegetarian option with quick and easy prep.
- Chipotle Chicken Caesar Tacos w/ Avocado Salsa Verde: Filled with grilled chicken and Caesar salad then topped with avocado salsa verdé; these chicken Caesar tacos with a Mexican twist are a delightfully fresh and delicious choice for lunch or dinner.
- Philly Cheesesteak Tacos: A fresh take on the cheesesteak, these tacos are loaded with all the classic flavors you know and love: steak, green bell peppers, onions, and cheese. Make this Taco Tuesday a good one with these Philly cheesesteak tacos!
If you make these Asian pork tacos I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons mirin
- 4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 2 pounds pork shoulder roast, fat trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1/4 cup shaved or shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons diced geen onion
Chili Mayo Sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoons Sambal Oelek
For the Tacos
- 32 wonton wrappers, 3 1/2 inch squares
- nonstick cooking spray
- Begin by preparing the marinade for the pork. In a small bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, mirin, dark soy sauce, Sambal Oelek, garlic, and ginger.
- Add the pork to a bowl or large Ziplok bag, pour in the marinade, and refrigerate for at least one hour, but no longer than 24 hours.
- Once pork is finished marinating, preheat oven to 250 degrees. Transfer pork to a dutch oven and bake four three hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the slaw. In a medium bowl, whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, ground ginger, and salt. Add the cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and green onions and toss to coat. Refrigerate while pork is baking.
- Prepare the chili mayo by whisking together the mayonnaise and Sambal Oelek in a small bowl. Refrigerate while pork is baking.
- After three hours remove pork from oven, increase oven to temp to 375 degrees, and transfer contents of the dutch oven to a strainer, reserving the liquid. (see notes)
- Transfer pork back to dutch oven or a bowl and shred. (see notes)
- Add three tablespoons of the reserved liquid to the pork and toss to coat.
- For the wonton shells: flip a muffin tin (or two) upside down and drape the wonton wrappers between the muffin cups creating a taco shell shape.
- Spray with nonstick cooking spray and bake on middle oven rack for five minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Remove from muffin tin and repeat until you have 32 shells.
- To assemble: Fill wonton shells with a heaping tablespoon (approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of shredded pork, then top with approximately one tablespoon of slaw, and 1/2 teaspoon of chili mayo. Serve warm.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 575Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 971mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 31g
The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc