hongshao rou

Pork Belly

March 3, 2011 · 1 comment

in asian food,food,recipe

In recent years, pork belly has become all the rage at high-end restaurants — from braised sliced pork belly for a bowl of ramen noodles to pork belly buns (such as the infamous pork belly buns at David Chang’s Momofuku’s Noodle Bar).  Pork belly has always been pretty popular in Asian cooking, so I’m excited to see chefs use it more and more at gourmet restaurants.

So, what is pork belly?  It’s basically the same cut of the pork where bacon comes from – the belly (duh).  But, unlike bacon, pork belly is not cured.

Besides its indescribable deliciousness, one reason I love cooking with pork belly is because it’s so easy.  Unlike some foods, pork belly comes out the best when it’s cooked simply — meaning, all you need is some salt and a stove or oven.  The natural flavor of the pork will work its magic for you.  Lazy people rejoice!

After its cooked, pork belly comes out juicy and crispy at the same time.  The word, unctuous, was made popular by pork belly (true story).   If you google unctuous, pictures of pork belly will result … and you will be hungry (so be forewarned).  And if you’re me, you’ll proceed to look up as many recipes as you can for pork belly and contemplate which ones you should make.

And when you arrive at the Asian market to find a slab of pork belly, and realize that they are only $1.50 – $2.50/lb., you realize your wallet will allow you to make more recipes than you initially thought!  So, the only dilemma that remains — what to make first???

Here are my five suggestions:

1.  Pork Belly Buns.

Photo courtesy of Marcus Nilsson

2.  Five Spice Braised Pork Belly

Photo courtesy of chezpim.com

 3.  Braised Pork Belly Noodles

photo courtesy of www.foodmayhem.com

 4.  Japanese Braised Pork Belly

Photo courtesy of www.justhungry.com

5.  Chinese Red-Cooked Pork (Hongshao Rou)

Photo courtesy of appetiteforchina.com

If you weren’t hungry before, you must be now.  I did warn you,  didn’t I?

Recently, I made Momofuku’s popular Pork Buns (which can be found in the Momofuku cookbook) as well as braised some pork belly for ramen noodles.  They came out amazing (I’ll post up my results soon).

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