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Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs


In the vast culinary landscape of China, there exists a dish that not only tantalizes the taste buds but also carries a rich history and cultural significance. Enter the Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs, a beloved classic that has stood the test of time and continues to delight food enthusiasts around the world. In this article, we will delve into the origins of this iconic dish, explore its ingredients and preparation methods, and ultimately uncover the secrets to creating the perfect Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs.

A Brief History

The origins of Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs can be traced back to the Jiangsu province of China, where it has been enjoyed for centuries. Legend has it that the dish was created during the Qing Dynasty, inspired by the shape of a lion’s head. In Chinese culture, lions are revered as symbols of strength and prosperity, making this dish not only delicious but also symbolic.

Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs


To make Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Ground pork: The key component of the meatballs, ground pork provides the dish with its rich flavor and tender texture.
  • Napa cabbage: Often used as a wrapper for the meatballs, Napa cabbage adds a subtle sweetness and crispness to the dish.
  • Green onions: Chopped green onions lend a fresh, aromatic flavor to the meatballs.
  • Ginger: Minced ginger adds a warm, spicy kick to the dish, enhancing its overall flavor profile.
  • Soy sauce: A staple in Chinese cuisine, soy sauce provides a savory, umami-rich taste to the meatballs.
  • Shaoxing wine: A type of Chinese rice wine, Shaoxing wine adds depth of flavor and helps tenderize the meatballs.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch acts as a binder, helping to hold the meatballs together during cooking.
  • Chicken broth: Used as a base for the sauce, chicken broth adds moisture and richness to the dish.
  • Salt and pepper: Essential seasonings that enhance the flavor of the meatballs and sauce.
Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs


  1. Start by preparing the Napa cabbage. Remove the tough outer leaves and separate the leaves from the core. Blanch the leaves in boiling water for a few minutes until they are wilted, then remove and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, chopped green onions, minced ginger, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. Take a handful of the pork mixture and shape it into a large meatball, resembling the shape of a lion’s head. Repeat with the remaining pork mixture.
  4. Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the meatballs and cook until browned on all sides, about 5-6 minutes per side.
  5. In the same pan, add the blanched Napa cabbage leaves and chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the cabbage is tender.
Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs

Serving Suggestions

Once the Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs are cooked, transfer them to a serving platter and garnish with additional chopped green onions, if desired. Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles for a satisfying meal that is sure to impress.


In conclusion, Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs are a true culinary masterpiece that embodies the rich flavors and cultural heritage of China. With its tender pork meatballs, crisp Napa cabbage, and savory sauce, this dish is a celebration of tradition and taste. Whether enjoyed as a comforting meal at home or served at a festive gathering, Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs are sure to leave a lasting impression on all who taste them.

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