RECIPE: Pork Belly Chanpuru (Okinawa Stir Fry)

  • 2 min read
RECIPE: Pork Belly Somen Chanpuru


Chanpuru is a traditional stir fry dish from Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost tropical islands. The word “chanpuru” means “something mixed” in Okinawan dialect and comes from the Malay or Indonesian word “campur,” meaning “mix.” In addition to being the name of the food dish, chanpuru is also used to describe the mix of cultures in Okinawa. Historically, Okinawa has received influence from China, mainland Japan, Southeast Asia, and North America, resulting in a vibrant and distinct regional cuisine. 

Common chanpuru ingredients include tofu, luncheon meat, egg, bean sprouts, and bitter melon, but our variation uses mozuku udon noodles, green cabbage, and sliced pork belly for a quick and comforting meal. As chanpuru is a highly versatile dish, feel free to mix and match ingredients to create your perfect combination! 

To make chanpuru, start by preparing your noodles according to the package instructions, but reduce the cooking time by two minutes to ensure that the noodles don’t overcook while stir-frying later on. In our recipe, we use mozuku udon noodles, a unique local udon that is made from mozuku (brown seaweed) harvested around Iheya Island and wheat flour produced in Hokkaido. Found only in Okinawa, mozuku imparts a delicious smooth and chewy texture to the udon noodles. Next, stir fry your thinly-sliced pork belly and cabbage. If you are using extra ingredients, add them in during this step. Once all the ingredients are cooked through, add the noodles and seasonings to the pan and stir to combine over high heat. For a spicy kick, serve with a dash of Ishigaki Gourmet Chili Oil.


Servings: 1 serving



  1. Prepare the somen noodles according to the package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Add the sesame oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Add the cabbage and pork belly. Stir until the pork has cooked through.
  3. Add the noodles, dashi, salt and black pepper. Stir over high heat to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Serve with a dash of Iwai’s sesame chili oil if desired.

*Available in our Creative Beginnings: Redefining “Wa” Care Package


Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman

Britney Budiman

Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.

2 Responses

Kokoro Care Packages

Kokoro Care Packages

December 05, 2020

Chanpuru is traditionally an Okinawan stir fry with goya (bitter melon), tofu, egg and pork belly, but like many stir fries there can be variations (the bacon substitute for the pork belly was a great idea!). And we couldn’t be happier to hear that your son has been enjoying all the Japanese flavors in our Care Packages (must be because of your great cooking!).



December 05, 2020

We made a version of this today which we absolutely loved – but would people in Japan eat it like that? As I didn’t want to buy a full head of cabbage I opted for some spinach leaves. I also had trouble with getting the pork belly, so I replaced it with slightly smoked breakfast bacon which had the advantage of coming in thin slices. The Wind Somen were perfect, just like all the noodles we got from you, and the Dashi gave the meal that extra dimension it needed. As a bonus my 14-year-old son absolutely loves all the Japanese inspired meals he got recently, he’s eager to try more!

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