Malaysian Watermelon Salad


Lower-calorie adaptation of the pork belly and watermelon salad recipe made famous by the Fatty Crab restaurant in New York City. Uses easily acquired ingredients. Still delicious.

Prep Time:
1 hr
Cook Time:
10 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
8 servings


  • 1 ½ cups seasoned rice vinegar

  • 2 (3 inch) pieces fresh ginger root, peeled and lightly crushed

  • 2 shallots, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 cups watermelon rind, white part only, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 (1 pound) package thick cut bacon

  • ½ cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger root

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 4 limes, juiced

  • 1 cup seasoned rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated

  • 12 cups chilled seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped


  1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of seasoned rice vinegar to a boil in a saucepan, and mix in the 2 pieces of crushed ginger root, shallots, red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup of light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir until the brown sugar and salt have dissolved, and remove from heat. Place watermelon rind into a large heatproof nonreactive bowl, and strain the pickling liquid through a fine mesh strainer into the watermelon rind. Stir to combine, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

  2. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Chop the bacon into pieces when cooled.

  3. For dressing, place 1/2 cup of peeled and chopped ginger, garlic, lime juice, 1 cup of seasoned rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cilantro stems in a blender. Blend on high speed, scraping down blender sides occasionally, until the ginger and cilantro stems are pulverized and the dressing is thoroughly blended.

  4. To assemble, place about 1 cup of watermelon cubes onto a salad plate, and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Top with about 2 tablespoons of the pickled rind, 1 to 2 tablespoons of bacon bits, 1 tablespoon of cilantro leaves, and about 1/2 tablespoon of chopped green onion, or to taste.

Editor's Note

Buy a large seedless watermelon, and use all the flesh and about half the rind to make the salad.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

323 Calories
9g Fat
55g Carbs
10g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 323
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 2461mg 107%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 40g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 41mg 205%
Calcium 67mg 5%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 694mg 15%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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