Pork Belly is a tasty dish that is hard to resist. The secret to a good pork belly is to make sure that it is not too dry. It is one of the more prominent parts of the pork meat, and you can often find it in Asian cuisine.
You may think that this dish is prepared using the stomach or intestine area of the pork because of its name, but you would be mistaken. Pork belly is actually taken from the meat and skin section that cover the pig’s stomach and abdomen area.
Because of the fat content and the tenderness of the meat from this area, pork belly is well known in various Asian countries. There are many variations to this dish as different countries have their own method of preparation.
The Making of Braised Pork Belly in Various Countries
Asian cuisine and pork belly go hand in hand, but the condiments in the dish differ from one country to another.
In Chinese cuisine, the pork belly is prepared by marinating pork belly with Chinese five spices and soy sauce before slowly braising the meat cutlets with its skin on. In China, the famous version of the dish is Red Braised Pork Belly that is prepared with aromatic spices, star anise and dark soy sauce.
In the Philippines, braised pork belly is called Filipino Humba. Their signature slow-braised pork belly is coated with Panocha or palm sugar, star anise and soy sauce which gives it its shiny, sweet glaze.
Vietnam, on the other hand, serves their braised pork belly with eggs. In Vietnam, the braised pork belly dish is called Thit Ko where instead of using spices or vinegar, their marinade ingredients are more straightforward. The pork belly is marinated with soy sauce, fish sauce and salt with an addition of coconut soda, the secret ingredient that gives it a distinct taste and hard-boiled eggs.
While each country has its own twist to make the dish their own, it is generally agreed upon that braising the pork belly is the best way to cook it.
Origins of Braised Pork Belly
Back in ancient China, the pork belly was said to be invented when Sun Dongpo, the renowned Chinese writer from the Song Dynasty, was banished to Huangzhou and forced to live in poverty.
Braising the pork belly was already a common cooking method at the time, but Su Dongpo perfected it by adding yellow wine to the pork and slow cooking it on low heat. Throughout his life, he worked on developing the recipe, by cutting it into cubes with the crispy skin still attached to the meat and fats. This is similar to the way how other countries prepare the pork belly.
Where to get Braised Pork Belly in Malaysia
There are plenty of restaurants around Malaysia that would serve braised pork belly, and it all depends on your taste-buds. For a Vietnamese style Braised Pork Belly, head on over to An-Viet and try their Braised Pork Belly in Coconut Juice rice set. It also comes with coconut jelly and Vietnamese tea.
If you are into traditional Chinese cooking, try the Braised Pork Belly at Big Bones Bak Kut Teh located in Bukit Bintang. They also have a wide selection of other pork dishes for you to try.
The best part is, these restaurants are both available for delivery on foodpanda!