Kakuni — “square-simmered” in Japanese — is a dish of pork belly cubes that are tender and savory after simmering slowly in a base of soy sauce, sugar and sake. The dish is eaten all over Japan, but its origins are in China. The dish most likely stemmed from dongpo pork: a Chinese braised pork belly dish believed to have been created in the Song dynasty. Because of a strong Chinese presence on Japan’s island of Kyushu, Japanese-Chinese style dishes emerged over time, becoming more distinctly local with each passing century. Now, kakuni remains popular in hubs like Nagasaki — but it’s cooked in homes and izakayas all over. By blending basic Japanese ingredients and allowing ample patience while cooking, a deeply flavorful and rich dish that embodies comfort results.