An unctuous, and savory delight. We only let ourselves make braised pork belly once every six months or so. It’s wonderful served over rice, or as a component of the Normandie Wedding Banh Mi. Braised pork belly is a special treat, made with fresh figs in the summer. It ends up sticky, and slightly sweet — kind of like a pork jam. At another time of year, you can substitute coconut juice or guava nectar for the figs, and add a little bit of caramel for flavour.
— Wendy, Brad
banh mi, brad, braise, chinese, fig, pork, vietnamese, wendy
Wendy soup (or canh cải chua) is one of the simplest, most delicious soups you can make in winter. It’s pretty much nothing more than cải chua (fermented mustard greens), and soup-cut pork ribs. The bones make a flavourful stock, the pickles balance the richness, and the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. As you can tell from the name, Wendy grew up eating it, and introduced it to the Normandie house. It’s in pretty heavy rotation, when the days get short. In this version, we take advantage of something that’s usually a negative — unripe, green tomatoes are common in winter, and are perfect in this soup. Otherwise, daikon is more traditional.
pickles, pork, ribs, simple, soup, vietnamese, wendy
This is one of the best winter foods — sweet, fluffy bread, wrapped around a savoury, fragrant filling — especially when served with spicy chinese mustard. There are a lot of different kinds of bao (or mandu, or niku man, or banh) but the barbecue pork one is the archetype. They’re best eaten right away, but are good reheated, too, for breakfast or lunch. This recipe is a little bit labour intensive (sorry, not sorry), so if you want to make char siu bao, grab a bunch of friends, and start stuffing.
— Brad, Wendy
brad, buns, chinese, dumplings, pork, wendy
Char siu, or char siew (fork roast: 叉燒), is sometimes referred to as BBQ or roast pork. It’s a Cantonese dish, and is probably a familiar sight, as the red meat hanging along side the duck in the window of Chinese restaurants. It’s savory, slightly spiced, and slightly sweet. Because it’s so easy to buy good char siu, you might not want to bother making your own, to use in noodle soup, or char siu bao (steamed buns) — or just to eat with hoisin sauce. But it turns out, it’s easy to make, and the char siu you make at home can be more delicious than the restaurant version. And you can control the sweetness — and red food colouring — to suit yourself! We recently made this, for a big char siu bao making party. It was amazing.
barbecue, brad, cantonese, chinese, pork
Pork in banana leaf is one of the most common foods to be found in Yucatan. Slow cooked, falling-apart tender meat, with a tang of bitter orange, the earthiness of annatto, and an aroma of allspice. It’s like a Caribbean version of northern Mexican barbacoa, or Texan barbecue. The brilliant red of the sauce looks alarmingly spicy, but in fact cochinita pibil is not hot at all. In itself. The spice comes with the blazingly hot habanero salsa you
may or may not want to add. This makes great tacos, or salbutes, served simply with pickled onion and salsa. But cochinita pibil is even better as a torta (sandwich).
— Brad and Eliseo
brad, caribbean, eliseo, mexican, pork, slow-cooked