I made it exactly to the recipe and loved the flavors. I would sorely miss the star anise if it hadn't been there. It was great over rice and again over noodles the next day. I will definitely make this again especially in the winter as it is stew-like and just begs for a cold winter night. I added a little sriracha to the finished product to up the spiciness; I might add some asian chiles while cooking next time around. This recipe actually saved my relationship with my slow cooker. Everything I made before came out bland and tasting somewhat the same as every other recipe I ever tried in the slow cooker. This was unique, delicious, and the texture of the pork was exactly the reason I purchased the slow cooker to begin with.