You want a pot that’s easily big enough to hold your slab of pork belly, together with sufficient water to cover the pork by about an inch. I used a large, cast-iron Dutch oven/casserole pot.
Place the pork skin-side down in the pot, cover it with water, and set the pot on a high heat. As soon as it comes to the boil, drop the heat to low-medium and let the pot gently bubble away for 10 minutes.
Drain the pork in a big colander, and give it a thorough rinsing in cold water. Then set it aside so that it cools enough for you to cut it up.
Once it’s cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the pork lengthwise into slices about an inch thick. Now cut the slices into pieces about 1.5 inches wide, with the skin at the top of each chunky piece.
Set your big pot on a high heat and add the cooking oil. Let the oil heat for about a minute, then add the chunks of pork in a single, evenly spaced layer. Drop the heat to medium-high and let the pork fry for about two minutes on each side. You’ll probably need to fry the pork in two batches, and you’re aiming for the pieces pick up some pale golden color, and for their fat to start melting a little into the pan. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork and set it aside on a plate.
Turn the heat under the fatted pot to high and add the cinnamon sticks, ginger, and star anise. Stir-fry them for 90 seconds then add the ground palm sugar. Lower the heat to medium-high. Keep slowly stirring the sugar-and-spice mix until the sugar dissolves and starts to darken as the heat causes it to caramelize and turn syrupy. That’ll take about 5 minutes or so on that medium-high heat.
Now stir in the 6 cups of hot — and I mean hot — water. It doesn’t need to be boiling, but if it’s cold it will probably cause the hot, caramelized sugar mix to seize into lumps — and that’s most certainly not what you want to happen. Give the mix a thorough stir on that medium high heat, and then stir in the dark and light soy sauces, and the rice wine.
As soon as the pot comes back to the boil, drop the heat to low, and add the pieces of pork, the ground bird’s eye chilies, and the scallions. You now want the pork to cook – uncovered – at a gently rolling simmer for 2 hours. As the pork cooks, you’re aiming to slowly reduce the sauce down to about a third of its original volume. That’s it, done
Cover the pot and turn the heat down to its lowest setting. You’re now just keeping it all nicely warm so that it’s ready to serve from its pot once the rice and bok choy are cooked.
Now, if that reduction hasn’t happened after two hours’ simmering, remove all the pork (and the eggs if using them) with a slotted spoon, and turn the heat to high until the sauce begins to boil. Drop the heat to medium and let the sauce bubble away at a slowly rolling boil until it is does reduce down to a third of its original volume. Then return the pork to the pot, cover it and drop the heat to its lowest setting — just to keep it warm for serving straight form the pot.