Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekend Splurge: Crispy Roast Pork Belly (Thịt Heo Quay)

When you've been a good girl all week, I think you're entitled to a bit of a weekend 'splurge' don't you?   If you love roasted pork and crispy crackling like I do, you have to try this (trust me)!  Backstory: I happened to find this recipe out of frustration.  Every now and then I'd treat myself to a bit of crispy roast pork on the weekends.  About a year ago I had a (rare) bad experience at a local Chinese BBQ establishment that I won't name.  I ended up throwing the roast pork I'd purchased away-it was that bad.  Feeling completely unsatisfied I decided to try my luck making it at home.  After searching online I finally found what I feel is the perfect recipe.  All credit to the wonderful Helen Le of for her version of Vietnamese Crispy Roast Pork Belly (Thịt Heo Quay).  When I find something this good I have to share.  More info on Helen and this great recipe follows after the jump...

Helen was born and raised in Da Nang, Vietnam.   As a co-admin of (along with her sister Summer) she shares authentic Vietnamese recipes (with easy step-by-step instructions) through the website as well as her Helen's Recipes YouTube channel.  If you're a fan of Vietnamese cuisine you must visit the site and subscribe to her channel!  Check out her recipe for Thịt Heo Quay here.  If you follow her instructions I promise you will be rewarded with delicious, flavorful roast pork belly with crunchy crackling.   It's so good that I will no longer bother with the local BBQ establishments for my fix!

 Tips from Tina:
  • Follow Helen's instructions (and watch the video).
  • Be easy when applying mix #1 to the pork belly.  Don't apply too much of the mix or the pork will be salty.
  • Per Helen you can allow the pork to 'marinate' for as little as three hours but I prefer to prep the pork the day before roasting and leave it in the fridge overnight.
  • I usually purchase fresh pork belly at Super H Mart (if you don't have one in your area you should be able to find fresh pork belly at your local Asian supermarket).  I purchased this package of three pieces (with skin attached) pictured below. I cut those pieces in half.  I also use a Vietnamese 5-Spice Powder (also purchased from Super H Mart and pictured below); it comes in an 8 oz. jar so you'll have plenty on hand to use for other recipes.  

  • I used rice wine vinegar for mix #2 but any white vinegar is fine.
  • For delicious, crispy crackling make sure the skin is as dry as possible and apply mix #2 following Helen's instructions.  Per Helen: you can scrape some of the salt off the finished product if you find the crackling too salty. 
  • If the skin hasn't 'crackled' enough after the one hour cooking time is completed put the pork belly under the broiler for about a minute or so.  WATCH CAREFULLY-don't take your eyes off of the pork belly so that you won't burn the crackling. 

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