Hawaiian Pork Sandwiches

I had a wonderful housewarming party this weekend — complete with a 40 pound roast pig, a keg full of ice cold beer and a feast of epic proportions from salads to fried rice to cupcakes.  Life is good, what can I say?  Granted most of my girlfriends were completely grossed out by piggy, I happily enjoyed sneaking pieces of the crispy pork skin and sandwiching it between those delicious Hawaiian rolls that every one likes…don’t judge me, it’s delicious.

I guess the entire concept might’ve seemed a bit barbaric to some but I had to do it big, because finally having our house at a presentable state was a huge accomplishment — a feat that seemed merely impossible just 6 months ago is now finally completed.  I needed a centerpiece that would scream VICTORIOUS!, because frankly I am ready for a vacation from anything house-related for awhile.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes anyone?  Someone didn’t wash their hands before eating… I would continously make these little treats throughout our house building process as a way to convince Collin to keep working — “If you finish building the deck I’ll make you those cupcakes you like…” poof, deck is done.  He deemed me the nickname “slave-driver Zhang” but in my defense, if I didn’t crack the whip every once in awhile how would we stay on track? (just kidding boo!).

When Babe finally arrived, his massive size took me by surprise – this sucker was big, almost as big as my friend Sonya here.  Perhaps I might’ve over estimated the pig consumption among 40+ people as I am currently holding 20lbs of leftover pig in my freezer.  Hey, no worries!  Just don’t question why my site will be posting pork recipes for the rest of the month…

My friend Heather captured these shots of me cooking fried rice — I made Pineapple Fried Rice with cilantro, cashews, onion and of course, PINEAPPLE!  I didn’t mean to have a cooking demonstration at the party but I’m not gonna lie, it added some pizazz.  It was as if I had my own miniature cooking show right in the comfort of my backyard — Cooking with Joy — it has a nice ring to it.  As a result, the rice actually became the favorite dish of the night and thanks to my trusty apron, I didn’t get a spot on me. ( Win! :) )

So what does one do with 20 lbs of excess pork?  Make Hawaiian Pork Sandwiches that’s what.  I had a bunch of those sweet little Hawaiian rolls left over, I put two and two together and came up with the tastiest little sandwich combination.  For those of you who don’t order a whole pig just for shits, you can go to your local asian market that sells BBQ pork, peking duck, etc and more than likely you will find pig that’s fried, cooked and sold by the pound.

Ingredients for Hawaiian Pork Sandwiches: (serves 2-4)

  • 1/2 lb cooked pork, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bbq sauce
  • 8 miniature Hawaiian rolls
  • 1/4 c mandarin oranges
  • 1/4 c red onions, small diced
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeno, small diced (you can increase the quantity if you like spicy food or omit it all together)
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime wedge, squeezed

Place chopped pork and bbq sauce into a bowl and mix thoroughly.  In another bowl, combine the mandarin oranges, jalapeno, onion and cilantro with the fresh lime juice and allow to sit for 20 minutes or can be kept overnight.  You can toast the buns if you choose –or eat them as is.  Split the buns in half and top with the pork mixture and relish.  You can use some fresh field freens as shown or leave them out completely.  Serve immediately with a glass of ice cold beer.

Drooling yet? You should be.

So onto the cool stuff…the before and after pictures of our house makeover!!  The past 6 months of bitching complaining was for good reason…see for yourself.

Check out the swirly retro ceilings!  Check out the crusty old carpet and linoleum!  How was this stuff ever in style??  We raised the ceiling, knocked down a few walls, put in wooden floors and got a new door.

And here is the master bedroom…YUCK.  Please note the heavily yellowed close doors, apparently the tenant before us was not a fan of cleaning supplies *shudders* and those retro curtains…tsk tsk.  We tore down the weird light fixtures, fresh paint, hardwoods and installed a nice ceiling fan (excuse the messy bed).

Boy, were the bathrooms a nightmare.  I’d say crappy would be an understatement in this case.  I mean who even has sinks like that anymore?  We knocked out more walls, found some hidden space that we later made into a shelf in the living room, dressed it up with new tile and new fixtures and VOILA! A master bath fit for a stud.

We also raised the ceiling in the guest bath, gutted the old fixtures and replaced it with new ones.  My aunt Lori and mommy Wells actually tiled this entire bathroom by themselves, what talented ladies!

AAAAAAH my dream kitchen tranformation — looking how undreamy it was when we first started.  You can’t see very well from these pictures but the old stove top was activated by BUTTONS…I don’t even think my parents used buttons on their stoves in China.  Collin is convinced someone will buy this “vintage” stove, I give it 3 months or else it’s outta here (*insert whip crack here*).  We pretty much kept NOTHING from the old kitchen except for the old cabinets which we made into Collin’s workbench in the garage.  We put in granite counter tops, stainless steel applicances and custom made cabinets — a wonderful change from the past elf kitchens I’ve been cooking in for the past 4 years.

And finally the living room.  We knocked down a lot of walls, put up a beam, new hard wood floors and some fresh paint.  Most of the furniture is courtesy of my mom, she gave us most of her belongings before she moved to Shanghai so that helped out a lot when we moved in.  As you can see Layla made a point to get into some of my shots, what a boob.  Though I have a lot of decorating left to do, like I said, I’m going on vacation from house chores for the next couple of months :) .

None of this project would be possible if it weren’t for the help of family. Collin’s parents put in hundreds of endless hours of blood sweat and tears to make our house to what it is today.  Aunt Lori and Uncle Dave made a trip down especially to help us renovate bathrooms and clean up debris.  We worked Carter all Summer helping with installations and texturing (I made sure to feed him well during this time so he wouldn’t quit on us) and Layla…well she just sat there and looked cute the whole time, what a HAM.  I think our first home will always be my favorite home — solely because of all the different people who helped us along the way.  I can’t begin to express my love and gratitude to everyone who took part in this huge project, a part of me is even a little sad that this project has come to an end.  It’s crazy even now for me to look through these before and afters, I just can’t believe my eyes.  WE DID IT! Through the stress, the unexpected challenges, the countless late nights — our first home is complete.  And it’s perfect.


  1. Posted 6 Oct ’10 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe how amazing your new place looks, Joy! It looks so fresh and airy and modern, it’s hard to believe it’s the same house.
    Congrats on finally getting it all done… a great job like that totally deserves an epic housewarming party to celebrate, roast pig and all. :) (PS – if you get tired of leftovers, send some to me… I love me some roast piggy)

  2. Posted 6 Oct ’10 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    JOY! Your new house looks beautiful. You’re right about those old bathroom sinks — looks like a dorm sink. Your new bathrooms look so stylish. I can’t wait to see it in person :) Hey, if you want to make me an un-spicy version of that pork sandwich, I am down. :) Get pumped for next week, girlfriend!!

  3. Angie
    Posted 6 Oct ’10 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Congrats on the house! It looks fantastic and just WOW so impressed! Someday I hope to see it (and eat all your food :D )

  4. Posted 6 Oct ’10 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    unbelievable transformation!! congratulations!!

  5. Posted 6 Oct ’10 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    This is the most impressive thing I’ve seen in a long, long, long time. I can’t believe you have the whole pig sitting there. That is pretty creepy – but it looks delicious.

  6. Jeannie
    Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Congrats on moving into your beautiful new home…I am so impressed with the before and after photos. And yes, I have bought a whole piggy before and have to eat the leftovers for months!

  7. Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    OMG… the PIG! And lovely HOUSE!

  8. Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    The house looks so beautiful and your pork sandwiches look so delicious!

  9. Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Wow it looks like you have put alot of work into your home and it looks great! So do you pork sandwiches! I’m sure you can find something to do with the leftovers! hehe…your dog sure looks like he has an idea of what he’d like you to do with it!

  10. Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Wow, Joy! Sensory overload but in a very, very good way. I CAN’T believe that you managed to transform your home in that short a time. Most people take years. It’s taken me a while to select a new fabric for my kitchen seats (still haven’t found it)! Your home is beautiful–warm and inviting. Many congrats to you and Mr. Joylicious for such an accomplishment.

    Now for the pig…and the pineapple fried rice: I should have been invited. :-)

  11. Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Great sandwich. And i’m sure it was really really really good. :D Your house looks great. Good job.

  12. foododelmundo
    Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Oh my how lucky you are to have such a cast of friends AND a freezer that will hold that much extra pork.
    Thanks for the visit and the vote!
    ~ Mary

  13. Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    The sandwhiches look cute and delicious!

  14. Posted 7 Oct ’10 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Hey…. I weigh more than 40 lbs!! haha ;) Joy, thank you guys so much for having us over. Lucas and I had an amazing time and were still so full in the morning. It was great to be surrounded by the people that make you and Collin so wonderful. Love you! P.S. Once again, awesome job on the house!!

  15. Posted 8 Oct ’10 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    wow, congrats on the remodel! everything looks fabulous! you all have excellent taste. looks like you had quite the party to celebrate as well!

  16. Posted 9 Oct ’10 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Joy, finally! The place where you call it a HOME is completed. Looks super gorgeous. Well, it’s a Chinese tradition to have a whole roasted pig for the glorious celebration. To bring in good luck and prosperity, right! I’ve to look out the address. Hopefully, I didn’t lost it again. (shame on me!) haha…. Wishing you all the best, sweetie. And have a great weekend.

  17. Posted 9 Oct ’10 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    i’m ALWAYS drooling when i read your blog. ALWAYS.

  18. Melissa
    Posted 11 Dec ’10 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Joy! Your house is so beautiful!

    I have to admit that it’s been a while since I have visited your blog, somehow it got lost in the rather large list of food blogs that I routinely check. But for a couple of days, I’ve been reading every single entry that I’ve missed thusfar. CREEPER!

    I’m so impressed with your photography skills!
    And the FOOD! Oh my gosh, Joy! I want to LICK my computer screen. Everything looks so amazing and I love that we have a very similar flavor palate.

    Needless to say, I will definitely be visiting more often and trying some of your recipes soon!

  19. Posted 16 Jan ’11 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I clicked here because of the Hawaiian pork sandwiches, but your house is the part that has me drooling!
    You have incredible style and I think someday, I may have to commission you to design my dream kitchen.
    You’re right, those rolls are delicious, even if they are about as Hawaiian as my okole. :)

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