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 kosher 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 toasted sesame oil
  • water

Directions (Serves 4)

  1. Combine the pork, ½ teaspoon kosher 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.
    mixing starch
  9. Dip a piece of pork in the oil to see if it’s ready. If it sizzles, it’s ready.frying a sample
  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.fry pork
  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.
  2. Add the apple and stir-fry 1 minute.
  3. Add 3 cups of water, the sugar, the vinegar, 1 teaspoon kosher 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.
  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.
  5. Pour the sauce into a large bowl and serve on the side with the fried pork, allowing diners 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.

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  1. B3 Philippines joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    Due to Covid quarantine and we’ve got a lot of sardines from government welfare here’s what I invented. I make my own version of Tangsuyuk… My TANGSUYUK SARDINES.

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  2. WishfulsoUl Oslo joined 3/20 & has 17 comments

    The crispiness of the pork bites really made my day when I made this dish. I enjoyed the crunch of the woodear mushrooms especially on this recipe. Had to bring some at work the next day for lunch:-)

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    • Jungah Singapore joined 8/18 & has 3 comments

      Hi Maangchi,

      My son loves this dish when we’ve had it at korean restaurants in New York City. We live in Singapore now and I have not seen it on the menus of any of the Korean restaurants here so I will try to make it for his birthday in May (we will still be on lockdown ). Can I make this dish with beef instead if pork? Which cut would you recommend? Love all your recipes. They are just like what my mom used to cook for us.


  3. Nora Nero East Java, Indonesia joined 2/19 & has 13 comments

    Maangchi-ssi, I’d like to ask something. I read your tangsuyuk and buchu japchae recipes, then figured out that you always mix the marinated meat with dry/still-powder-potato-starch before put it into the pan. May I know what is the purpose of mixing the meat with that potato starch?

  4. Hi maangchi, just like everything else, your all recipe is fantastic. I’ve followed it. It bothers me, I’m not sure if the mushrooms have a soft consistency, and potatoes aren’t soft. I didn’t end up with these not solid pieces of in the sauce. My sauce is much more even and uniform like jelly. Is it thanks to the starch water that you add at the end? Is it important to use the wood ear mushrooms?

  5. Cornelius B. Ecuador joined 12/17 & has 42 comments

    Annyeong, Maangchi,

    Last week I made Tangsuyuk for myself, to try it out. As I have “some” experience in original Chinese Gu Lao Yuk (it´s one of my family´s favorites), I made some slight modifications to your recipe:
    – Seasoned the pork only with salt and ground black pepper, just added a little soy sauce, used the Ginger in the sauce instead.
    – Instead of water, I used chicken broth for the sauce: gave it a heartier touch. Also added a little white wine, as I didn´t have Mirim available. And just a LITTLE Garlic…
    – Instead of Mu-Err mushrooms I had to use Shiitake (gotto buy Mu-Err for next time), and for the green colour, I prefer green bell pepper to cucumber.
    Put in some extra veggies and fruit: you know: the vitamins… ;) The meat turned out nice and crispy, and with the sauce on top, and a bowl of white rice, the result was suuuuper deliciousss!
    You bet I´m gonna make this for my friends on my next party lunch!

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  6. JessicaG Quezon City, Philippines joined 9/17 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi! My sister and I just made this today and it came out wonderfully! I might have overcooked the cucumber and fruits but it tastes great nonetheless. We love the crunchy texture of the pork. Thank you (and your friend as well) for sharing the secret to crunchy batter.

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  7. Mong_v Asia joined 7/17 & has 1 comment

    Hello maangchi. If my pork is 700 grams is the sauce in this recipe enough for the 700g pork? Or should i adjust the ingredients amount. How do i adjust it? Thanks.

  8. c0lours Toronto, Canada joined 5/17 & has 2 comments

    This recipe is amazing!! I could not believe I could make tangsooyuk just as good as the restaurants! I love all your deep fried party food recipes – tangsooyuk, kampoongi, dakangjung – I have tried them all! You have taught me the secret to crispy batter is potato starch! :) I also love your hoddeok recipe! The picture below is me making your tangooyuk and hoddeok :) Thank you Maanchi!!

    See full size image

  9. jsp73 joined 3/15 & has 32 comments

    This one has my wife’s 100% approval rating, and I didn’t have to make ANY modifications (That’s rare … u know people from different hometowns often do things differently). Thank you!

  10. imzeff Indonesia joined 10/16 & has 2 comments

    Hi maangchi
    I’d like to try tangsuyuk for the first time but i think it will be hard to find potato starch here.
    If i substitute the potato starch with corn starch, will i need to do the soaking part too?

    Thank you maangchi ^^

  11. velveete United States joined 10/16 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for the recipe.

    Can I make this with chicken? Or is there another meat I can replace with pork?

  12. lalaine23 south korea joined 10/16 & has 1 comment

    Already i try this my in laws very like

  13. echang1123 Rochester joined 3/16 & has 2 comments

    Hi maangchi, just like everything else, your recipe is fantastic. I’ve followed it twice, but one thing bothers me. I’m not sure if it’s the wood ear mushrooms or something else, but I end up with these solid pieces of goo in the sauce. When i compare mines to yours, I see that you don’t have that problem and the sauce is much more even and uniform. I’m quite sure i’ve followed everything exactly as you’ve said. So is it the starch water that you add at the end? Is it the wood ear mushrooms I’m using?

  14. Liz Maryland/Pennsylvania, USA joined 12/11 & has 1 comment

    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

  15. Avinda joined 5/15 & has 1 comment

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

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