I know it sound sacrilegious, but a lot of people I know are disgusted by pork belly. They think the discernible layers of meat and fat are disturbing. On the other hand, I have friends who love pork belly – sometimes it’s the only thing they order.
I stand definitively on the pork belly love side: it has the richness of bacon with the added bonus of meaty heft. When done right, pork belly has that magic ratio of yielding melt and just enough bite. I didn’t always love pork belly though. My mom does this dish with braised taro and pork belly that my dad absolutely loves. She doesn’t make it much, but when she does my dad can inhale the whole plate himself. I on the other hand would only eat plain rice when she made that dish.
It might have been the taro, the fat of the pork belly or the combination, but for some reason, I just didn’t like it. Now though, my tastebuds have grown up and adventurous and I don’t find much that I don’t like anymore. I love taro and pork belly and I think maybe just being exposed to them when I was a stubborn kid opened my eyes a little.
It’s at good thing my eyes are wide open now because if they weren’t, I wouldn’t get to enjoy pork belly as much as I do. The recipe for the pork belly for the Ko kimchi consommé dish is slightly different from the one Chang has for the pork buns and ramen. The belly’s roasted at a constant 270˚F instead of starting out in a hot oven and finishing in a low one. The belly roasted at a constant 270˚ turned out fantastic. After 3 hours in the oven, I pressed the belly between 2 loaf pans to ensure a neat presentation.
Tomorrow: Ko Kimchi Consommé with Pork Belly, Napa Cabbage and Oysters