Sweet and sour pork (or beef)

Tangsuyuk 탕수육

If you’re going to have a party or get-together with your friends, one dish you can serve that almost everyone loves is Chinese sweet and sour pork. Koreans have their own Chinese-Korean variation of it called tangsuyuk. It’s crunchy pieces of fried pork coated in a jelly-like sweet and sour sauce filled with colorful fruits and vegetables.

This was always my #1 favorite dish when I was young, and we used to order it from restaurants as a treat on special days. Over time I became a tangsuyuk connoisseur! lol! And my satisfaction varied depending on the skill of the cook. There are a couple of important criteria for top-level tangsuyuk: a delicious sauce and super-crispy crunchy pork.

Eventually a friend of mine in Korea showed me her secret for a crunchy batter, and it’s turned out perfectly for me ever since: solidified starch soaked in water, mixed with egg white, fried twice.

Since I learned this, I make tangsuyuk whenever I feel like it, and it always turns out crunchy crunchy and delicious. When I have a party, my guests always tell me: “This tangsuyuk is better than any restaurant!”

You can replace the pork in this recipe with beef, chicken, or even shiitake mushrooms for a vegetarian version. This video is an HD remake of an earlier video I made where I used beef, but the recipe is pretty much the same. I added less sugar this time, but if you want to make it sweeter, add ⅓ cup sugar instead of ¼ cup.

And be sure that when you fry the pork for the second time, the pork looks super-crispy to the point of becoming breakable. That way, when it’s finally mixed with the gooey sauce, it’ll stay crunchy for a long time. Your guests will be totally knocked out!



  • 1 pound pork shoulder or tenderloin, cut into 2 inch x ½ inch strips
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2-3 dried wood ear mushrooms, soaked in cold water for 1½ hour
  • 1 cup plus ¼ cup potato starch
  • 1 large egg white
  • ⅓ cup sliced onion
  • 1 small carrot, sliced thinly
  • ⅓  English cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 2 rings of pineapple (canned or fresh), cut into halves
  • 1 small red apple, cored, and sliced into ⅓ inch thick pieces
  • ¼ cup sugar (white, brown, or turbinado sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white or apple vinegar
  • 4 cups plus 1 teaspoon corn oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • water

Directions (Serves 4)

  1. Combine the pork, ½ teaspoon salt, the ginger, and the ground black pepper in a bowl. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate.
  2. Mix 1 cup starch and 3 cups of water in a bowl with a spoon. Let it sit on the kitchen counter until the starch sinks to the bottom of the bowl and turns solid (about one and a half hour).
  3. Drain the mushrooms, remove the tough roots, and cut into bite size pieces.wood ear mushrooms
  4. Mix 2 tablespoons starch with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl, and let it sit for later,  to thicken the sauce.
  5. Fill a deep 10 to 12 inch skillet with 4 cups of corn or vegetable oil. Heat it up over medium high heat until it reaches 330°F.
  6. Take the pork out of the refrigerator and mix with the remaining 2 tablespoons of starch.
  7. Pour out the water from the bowl of starch that was soaking. Add the egg white and mix well.
  8. Add the starch mixture to the pork. Use your hand to gently mix it in.
    sweet and sour pork (Tangsuyuk: 탕수육)
  9. Dip a piece of pork in the oil to see if it’s ready. If it sizzles, it’s ready.
    sweet and sour pork (Tangsuyuk: 탕수육)
  10. Drop the pork pieces into the oil. Use tongs to split them apart if they stick to each other. Fry in batches if you need to, until they are crispy and turn light golden brown (5 to 7 minutes). There should be plenty of room in the skillet for them to fry without always touching each other.
    sweet and sour pork (Tangsuyuk: 탕수육)
  11. When done, transfer to a strainer set over a bowl to drain.

Make the sauce:

  1. Heat the 1 teaspoon of corn oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and carrot and stir-fry for 1 minute.
    sweet and sour pork-sauce
  2. Add the apple and stir-fry 1 minute.
  3. Add 3 cups of water, the sugar, the vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir the small bowl of starch water one last time before adding to the sauce. Stir it in with a wooden spoon. The sauce will thicken and shiny.
  5. Let it sizzle for a few minutes and then remove from the heat.


  1. Mix 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl, to use as a dipping sauce.
  2. Heat up the oil and fry the pork for the second and last time, until they are very crispy and golden brown (about 3 to 4 minutes). You can crowd them in the skillet this time, but the color of the pork should be golden brown and shatteringly crisp. You should be able to feel the crispness through your tongs.
  3. Transfer to the strainer to drain, then put on a large plate.
    sweet and sour pork (Tangsuyuk: 탕수육)
    sweet and sour pork (Tangsuyuk: 탕수육)
  4. Reheat the sauce over medium high heat until it bubbles. Stir in the cucumber and pineapple for 1 minute. Add the sesame oil and stir for 10 seconds.
    sweet and sour pork-sauce
  5. Pour the sauce into a large bowl and serve on the side with the fried pork, allowing diner’s to dip their pork into the sauce as they eat. Alternatively you can pour the sauce over the pork and let everyone dig in. Whichever you choose, the soy sauce-based dipping sauce always goes on the side.
    sweet and sour pork (Tangsuyuk: 탕수육)
    sweet and sour pork (Tangsuyuk: 탕수육)


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  1. Liz Maryland/Pennsylvania, USA My profile page joined 12/11
    Posted August 27th, 2015 at 12:01 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! This recipe for Tangsuyuk looks really delicious. Have you ever heard of 김피탕? It stands for Kimchi-Pizza-Tangsuyuk. When I was studying in Korea it was a specialty of the area I was in (조치원, 연기, 충청도) so I ate it a lot with my Korean friends. It was the fried crispy pork in a spicy sauce (kind of similar to 떡볶이 sauce I think) with Kimchi and vegetables, topped with melted mozzarella cheese. 진짜 맛있다! I am still trying to make it at home, but with no success. Maybe I will have to return to Korea soon instead! Thank you for this recipe though, I’m glad I know how to make very crunchy pork now! 고맙습니다 망치님 <3

  2. Avinda My profile page joined 5/15
    Posted May 17th, 2015 at 6:50 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi
    I just want to ask, can I use rice vinegar instead of white/apple vinegar?

  3. sara_chan My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted April 10th, 2015 at 7:06 am | # |

    Hi maangchi , i’ve tried this recipe for last night dinner but I used squid instead of meat and cut the veggies into cubes…
    it was delicious yet healthy!!!^^
    I think this is okay for diet menu rite?

  4. Glasierz28 Indonesia My profile page joined 2/15
    Posted February 2nd, 2015 at 11:27 pm | # |

    I follow your receipe to make 탕수육, but I can’t got a ‘crispy’. I already fried for one time, but 2nd time I want to fried in afternoon. My 탕수육 didn’t even has a crispy skin :'(

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 3rd, 2015 at 10:44 am | # |

      Cook the fried pork longer until very crunchy when you fry them the second time. That’s it! : )

  5. jaylivg Houston My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted January 3rd, 2015 at 10:40 am | # |

    Hi Emily !!

    Looks so yummy !!! My husband just mentioned it the other night that i haven’t cooked Korean food in a while and he was right !! I think i will be cooking tangsuyuk this weekend ! First korean food cooking in 2015 ! Happy New Year to you and your family !

  6. shymoon Brasil My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted December 27th, 2014 at 10:05 am | # |

    I was raised in a house with little apreciation for vegetable and green leaves. I know good feeding habits are important but change habits is not easy. Youtube is plenty of recipes and cooking videos but no one was able to change my taste and habits. My husband and son used to be fit men but now they started to gain lots of weight and I felt the need of to do something about it. So you came into my life with your amazing and cool videos. My son and me used to watch them together, this is part of our routine now. Where I live there are no Asian people so I don’t have a place where to buy things like sesame oil, mushrooms, hot pepper paste and so on but I keep the motivations and inspiration you give me and I do adaptations using available ingredientgs. My husband lost 25kg, my son lost some kg too. I didn’t lost many kg because I have some metabolic disturbs which I need medical treatments but I feel really good after eating and I stop eating junk food. My blood tests are pretty good now. The reason of our changing is you make us believe vegetables and legumes are realy tasty. I never get tired of enjoy the way you taste your food and say: Delicous. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 27th, 2014 at 10:33 pm | # |

      Thank you so much for sharing your story!
      I’m very proud of you and your family. Your husband lost 25 kg and your son lost some weight and your blood test result gets better! It sounds like it’s a huge successful diet.
      Do you have any tips on how to plan meals or maintain a diet? If so, please tell us on the forum. http://www.maangchi.com/talk/forum/general-discussion

      Keep it up and good luck with your Korean cooking!

  7. SPark Kansas, United States My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted December 26th, 2014 at 10:58 am | # |

    What a lifesaver this recipe was for us on Christmas day. Our family had a craving for black bean noodles on Christmas and we wanted to add tangsuyuk because it is a special day but the restaurant closed at 4pm and we weren’t able to go. I saw this recipe and gave it a go with what I had on hand and it was such a success, for kids and adults alike.

    I didn’t have wood ear mushroom so used dashima 다시마 instead as an experiment and no pineapples but I cut the apples to look like big chunks of pineapple and did happen to have some dried cherries some put some in too. The sauce is perfect and not too sweet it didn’t matter that I didn’t have the right ingredients. Next time I will use pineapples and fungus to make it even better. Thank you so much for this recipe!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 26th, 2014 at 1:13 pm | # |

      It sounds like you made crunchy crunchy tangsuyuk! Congratulations!

      “as an experiment and no pineapples but I cut the apples to look like big chunks of pineapple and did happen to have some dried cherries some put some in too. ”
      lol, I see your passion for cooking! Cheers, my friend! : )

  8. teenabreexx Washington My profile page joined 8/14
    Posted December 20th, 2014 at 11:45 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi! When my husband and I were in Korea he ordered this all the time. I decided to make it for him tonight and the chicken was very delicious! Super crunchy and flavorful. But I had a problem with the sauce! It didnt turn out thick and didnt have much flavor. It was bland and just a little sweet. What do you suggest I do next time?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 26th, 2014 at 1:18 pm | # |

      oh you can modify the sauce recipe. Add more starch when you make starch water, maybe 3 tablespoons instead of 2 tablespoons (the direction 4), and use more sugar to make it sweeter. I tried not to use too much sugar in this recipe. good luck!

  9. JaclynJordanF Tupelo, Ms My profile page joined 9/14
    Posted December 16th, 2014 at 11:48 pm | # |

    Wow, looks super yummy! Mouth is watering watching this video!! We are having a party for the church drama group I am in, and I am going to try to make this for them. Can’t wait to make it!!! Thank you for a wonderful and tasty looking recipe!

    p.s. if all else fails, I can make kimbap! lol :P

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 18th, 2014 at 8:50 am | # |

      I’m sure it won’t fail. Fry the pork as crunchy as you can and take the sauce separately and pour it over the pork in front of your group. Good luck! Take some photos and show me and my other readers. : )

  10. Vita Australia My profile page joined 12/09
    Posted August 29th, 2014 at 10:11 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi,

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I remember when I first tried it few years ago, it was soooo crunchy and successful. However, that was only one time luck! I had tried to make three more times for past week as I was determined to make it right, and had followed your method so tightly, but I had failed three times. The crunchiness disappeared after a minute meat left the oil before I even pour the sauce in and they became so chewy. I don’t know what I had done wrong.
    I soaked 1cup of sweet potato starch with two cups of water for at lest three hours, then add one egg white and 1/4 cup more starch. Did I do any of this part wrong?

    Please help me! Thank you.

    • Vita Australia My profile page joined 12/09
      Posted August 29th, 2014 at 10:13 am | # |

      Btw, the oil was very hot!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 29th, 2014 at 10:31 am | # |

      Hi Vita,
      Your first try turned out perfect. I think you can check out the step 2: Pour out the water from the starch. The starch will be solid and stiff. Add 1 egg white and ¼ cup starch powder and mix it well with a wooden spoon

      Good luck with making crunchy sweet tangsuyuk!

      • Vita Australia My profile page joined 12/09
        Posted August 30th, 2014 at 4:33 am | # |

        Thanks so much for your speedy reply, I really appreciated!
        I did pour out the water from the starch and it became very solid and stiff. And then I had added 1 egg white and 1/4 cup starch powder, mixed them all together.

        Perhaps it might be when I mixed all the meat strips to the batter, the batter did not cover and stick to the meat much, so, I just grap the batter and covered it all over the meat like thick layer.

        Anyway, I will give it a try again and will let you know how did it go. As I couldn’t forget the delicious crunchness and flavour I had enjoyed it at my first try.

        Thanks again, my food hero!

        Kind regards,


  11. juniper89 Daegu, Korea My profile page joined 1/14
    Posted January 30th, 2014 at 10:44 pm | # |

    I’ve made this twice, such a good recipe… thanks!

  12. hyk411 Nairobi My profile page joined 2/13
    Posted November 19th, 2013 at 3:17 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Thanks for this recipe! How would you change the sauce to make it spicy, like in rajoyuk? Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 19th, 2013 at 7:48 am | # |

      hmm, I saw some restaurants add hot pepper flakes to tangsuyuk. I would suggest adding some spicy jalapeño. Chop it up and add it to the sauce.

  13. gnalee toronto My profile page joined 6/13
    Posted June 17th, 2013 at 2:54 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    So far I’ve made your dalkgangjung and it was DELICIOUS! I am going to try tangsuyuk next but I was wondering if I could wait 2-3 hours before the second frying. I want to make the tangsuyuk and sauce in the afternoon and then when my family comes over (maybe 3 hours later) I wanted to deep fry the second time and serve. Do you think that would be ok? Thank you for your help and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  14. joyeous lee lee north hollywood My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted May 8th, 2013 at 7:18 am | # |

    this recipe was soooo goood, i made it three times so far since i watch this video couple months ago. most of the korean food i made was from your recipe, your recipe and the way yo cook make it reall y simple for me to make. CAN YOU PLEASE POST A RECIPE FOR


    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 8th, 2013 at 7:47 am | # |

      I’m so happy to hear that you like my tangsuyuk recipe. I haven’t made it for a long time. Reading your post makes me feel like making Tangsuyuk soon! Yes, kkanpungsaeu!

      • joyeous lee lee north hollywood My profile page joined 6/10
        Posted May 9th, 2013 at 3:33 pm | # |

        i am soooooooo happy, i can’t wait for kkanpungsaeu! recipe. thank you so much.

        for non korean person that did not know what recipe i was asking for is a korean.chinese style spicy garlic shrimp it is so tasty.

  15. s2ca Melbourne My profile page joined 4/13
    Posted April 6th, 2013 at 8:56 am | # |

    Hello Manngchi,

    I’ve been watching your video’s 2 years ago,
    this is my first time joining your website,
    i’ve made many dishes for my boy friend, he is korean.
    And i love all your recipes, it’s very delicious! ^^

    i would like to know, for making tang su yuk, what type of other starch flour can i use to replace potato starch, can i use wheat starch or corn starch?

    Thanks for your lovely recipes~~

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 6th, 2013 at 3:28 pm | # |

      Corn starch will work well, too. Good luck with making sweet sour crunchy and delicious tangsuyuk! ^6^ (oops my nose!)

      • s2ca Melbourne My profile page joined 4/13
        Posted April 6th, 2013 at 11:05 pm | # |

        Thank you so much Manngchi!!
        I will be making it tonight ^^

  16. hyk411 Nairobi My profile page joined 2/13
    Posted February 18th, 2013 at 12:22 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi, thanks for this great recipe! Do you have a recipe for la jo yuk also?

  17. ijil Maine My profile page joined 9/12
    Posted December 27th, 2012 at 12:28 pm | # |

    What does the egg white in the potato starch batter do?

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