Tag Archives: pork belly

(Pork) Belly In My Belly

There’s some things I won’t ever understand. I don’t get people who roll toilet paper under, Asians who refuse to pronounce Shanghai correctly, girls who don’t wear heels (jk!), boys who complain instead of following their dreams, and eaters who take pictures of their food. But most of all, I don’t understand people who don’t like to cook.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like lighting my money on fire and I don’t like paying other people to wipe my butt. In unrelated news, I don’t like overpaying for what I can cook at home.

Sexy Cooking Time with M (part )
Red Braised Pork Bellies – Hong Shao Rou
This is a Shanghainese specialty. We men cook in Shanghai, among other things. Requires some tenderness, some patience, but most of all, requires lots of soy sauce.

9oc55
Yes, I cooked that. Yes, you can stay the night.

IMG_1160 IMG_1161
Step 1:
Get some raw pork belly, but not the thin kind – you might have to brave the smell and go to Chinatown for this. Wash it and chop it up into cubes (better than I did) big enough that they can stand up on their own and still fit in your mouth individual. Save the jokes. Leave the fat. Yes, I know. Just trust.

IMG_1162IMG_1163
Step 2: I hope you bought some soy sauce in C-town, the dark kind. Douse your cubes until it gets covered 2/3 of the way up. Shanghainese people eat everything sweet, so make it authentic, mix in some sugar. To make it unauthentic, I prefer brown sugar.

How much? That’s the other beauty of Chinese cooking – there are no standard measurements, you do it by taste and experience. So just put enough to see it melt.

Let it sit for a few hours on one side with the fat and then overnight on the side with the meat. At the minimum, do 30 minutes each side.

IMG_1165
Step 3: Get your trusty wok and heat it up dry. If you want to be non-Asian you can add some oil, garlic, cloves if you want. But to do it right, just throw in the cubes in and toss around for a few minutes on high – the fat that you didn’t cut off should help here. Then turn it all the way down and pour in a new soy sauce, sugar mixture, cover maybe 1/2 of the way up. Cover the top and go do something else.

I’m not sure how long to cook it, I just check up on it every 10 minutes. Basically, the lower the heat, the longer you can cook it, the better it is. This is the time for your dining companion to contribute some concoctions of her own and you can add in some bamboo, tofu, eggs. Anything that tastes good when salty goes.

IMG_1167IMG_1168
Step 4: How do you know it’s done? It’s brown on the outside, it’s tender on the inside, your kitchen smells amazeballs, and it tastes like real meat but not too salty. Again, I kept it simple, but feel free to add embellishments – just add it a bit later in the process so it won’t soak up all the soy sauce-ness.

Finale: Look, like all things in life, there’s a short way to do this (just throw in more soy sauce to get taste salty) and a long way to do this (soak overnight). There’s a fancy way (pressure cooker?) and a cheap way (any frying pan will do). But either way, it’s relatively easy to prepare and clean up. You can pair it with veggies or with wine. Customize to your heart’s content. Best of all, there’s way too much meat for one person to eat, so invite someone over to eat your meat deliciousness with you.

And finally, if it’s good enough for Eddie Huang, it’s good enough for me:

Yippee Ki Yay Momofuku

You know what the difference between Chinese food and Western food is? Chinese people keep it simple. You can cook most dishes with either a pan or a pot – forget grill, fry, broil, steam….just stir-fry it or throw a bunch of deliciousness into boiling water. Forget 20 different types of sauces – a typical Chinese cabinet has soy sauce, hot sauce, salt, sugar and maybe some sesame oil and that’s it. Why do you think chopsticks were invented…Asians can eat every item on the menu with two sticks (yes, even soup).

So, naturally, it makes sense that Western restaurants invented this term “Asian Fusion” to over-complicate things and charge more money. But I’m sucker for anytime an Asian dude does something cool in “White America” (see Lin, Jeremy), so I had to go see what this lucky peach was all about…

WP_000684

Dessert – before. (That’s right, I’m leading off with the dessert first because it was the best)

WP_000685

Dessert – after.

Best part of dinner was the delivery service from Momofuku Milk Bar. Yes, the purveyor of awesome pies and cookies (with awesomer names) hand delivers straight to your table. In our case, we sampled the Crack Pie (to die for), Candy Bar Pie (Three words: Giant. Reese’s. PeanutButterCup.), and Compost Cookie.

WP_000682Main course – pork belly, really torn on this. On one foot, it was absolutely delicious. On the other foot, my mom can make it all day err day and this whole thing was ~70 dollars for 3 people if I remember correctly.

Beverages – they have a good selection of sake, not overpriced by NYC restaurant standards and knowledgeable waitresses (since this is a classy restaurant). The glasses in this picture contain unfiltered sake – which is supposed to be cloudy and fruity/sweeter, except ours was clear like water and not particularly sweet. Hmmm.

WP_000681

Appetizer – I wanted an app that was going to be filling and has some meat in it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have our proverbial cake and eat it too (for now) and so ended with this broccoli thing that was surprisingly good.

Address: 15 West 56th Street, New York, NY
Price: ~$40 / person
Wait / Reservations: Not too bad for normal sit down, but special advance notice is required for the large format (chicken is $175 for 4 to 8 guests, lamb is $325 for 6 to 10 guests) – potentially great btw but I don’t have the guts to try

Honesty, I could probably write several hundred more words about this, but I’ll leave it off by saying that if it weren’t for the great company and having ate a late lunch, I would’ve been severely disappointed (mostly because of the admittedly high expectations.) Sorry mother peach, the hype has rendered you more like J-Lin in Houston than Linsanity in NYC.