Some of my friends have said that they are “over” pork belly. How could one ever fall out of love with fat? That would could not happen to me. I recently slow cooked pork belly and now, with that cut of bone-in pork belly that I got from the Chinese market, I was going to try roasting it. I reached out for advice and suggestions on Facebook and this site included
- N. Fong: Yum! Marinate and slow braised, then roasted!
- J. Washburn: I get a chunk of bone-in pig belly nearly every time I go to Austin. It runs about $2.09/lb. there. Several ways to cook 'em. One of my favorites is rub with 5-spice, slow roast, run skin side under broiler to blister when done.
- J. Adams: Char siu!
See the comments section of the post on this unusual cut of pork to get Jarrett’s Thai take on Momofuku’s roast pork belly. Sunflower in the UK provided excellent information on a Chinese version of crisp pork belly.
Gazing at my bookshelves, I remembered seeing a recipe in Vietnamese-Australian Luke Nguyen’s The Songs of Sapa, a Vietnamese cookbook that’s up for an IACP cookbook award this year. I looked it up and his recipe intrigued me for the following reasons:
(1) It came from a Vietnamese vendor in Vietnam and Luke attached a great family story to the recipe. I'm a sucker for a good story, you know that!
(2) Required scalding the skin, which I just did for homemade Peking duck so I felt like I was on a roll.
(3) Involved these unusual ingredients: annatto oil, cornstarch, and baking soda. What do these ingredients do to the pork belly during roasting?
(4) Was very easy.
I wanted to keep things simple to allow the meat to shine. So I tried Luke's recipe out, and the results were good for my first time out with roasting bone-in pork belly. Pork in Vietnam often times requires scalding and scraping as it can be tough and needs to be cleaned – somewhat like scraping your tongue, which Asians have been doing since ancient times. Seriously.