My pork belly obsession began after a fateful lunch at the Toronto institution, Bahn Mi Boys. Flustered by the line, all the options for bahn mi and bao on the menu, and the brisk cashier doing the lunch line “wha’dyawant,” I meekly asked for a recommendation. “Ya like bacon?” asked the cashier. She had me at bacon. Five minutes later I found the love of my life in the form of pork belly. It’s not smoky or crisp like traditional breakfast bacon, but fatty, tender and salty like peameal bacon (another Toronto insitution might I add) and ridiculously to make at home. Here’s how I did it.
- 1-2 pounds of pork belly sliced into 2 cm strips
- hand full of scallions
- 4 large cloves of garlic
- 2 thumbs of ginger
- fish sauce
- rice wine vinegar
- chili flakes
- brown sugar
Do this part a day ahead: put pork belly in a roasting pan and sprinkle with brown sugar and salt.
Throw scallions, garlic, ginger in a blender. Add enough fish sauce, chilies and rice wine vinegar to get a salty/sour/spicy balanced taste. Blend until you get a paste and then cover pork belly. Let sit in fridge overnight
The next day, preheat oven to 350. Put pork belly in oven for 30 mins until fat turns golden brown. Drop the heat to 250 and go low and slow for an hour. Turn the pork belly and cook for another hour. At this point your house should start to smell amazing. Crank up the heat to 350 and cook until the pork is brown on the second side.
Take out of the oven and let cool. I cut up my pork belly and made a noodle bowl with vermicelli, carrots, cucumbers, scallions, and radish, with a peanut vinaigrette. But this pork belly would also be great in…
- your own bahn mi (fresh baguette, citrus mayo, carrots, radish, cucumber, cilantro, birds eye chilli)
- Fresh rolls (rice paper wrap, fresh sliced veggies, rice noodles, peanut sauce)
- Coconut curry soup
- Or, you know, a salad if you want to be a fun sucker.
So grab some pork belly and get braisin’!