Stovetop Method: In a large pot (with lid), add all the ingredients (except oil) and fill with enough water to cover the meat by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hr or until meat is tender. Instant Pot Method: Position the trivet inside the IP. Place the spices in the inner pot, add 1 cup of water and arrange the pork belly on the rack. Meat setting for 20-25 minutes (depending on the size of your meat) then Natural Release after 15 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet (skin side up) and bake at 325F for 1 ½ - 2 hrs. (see notes). Fat will render and the skin will be dry and hard when tapped. (see image below)
Deep fry in very hot oil for 1 minute (or even less). Remove as soon as the skin puffs up and forms blisters. Drain on a rack for a bit before chopping in bite-size portions. Make sure that the oil is very hot. This is key to achieve the puff skin.
Serve with the dipping sauce (recipe above), Mang Tomas or Soy-lemon dip.
*Ovens vary. Reduce oven temperature to 300F if the slabs are browning too fast.**If using one big slab of pork belly, cut into smaller slabs (after baking) before deep frying.***You can omit Step 2 and just deep fry but the result won’t be as crunchy and the skin won’t puff.