Crispy Chinese Roast Pork Belly.

And there was me agonising over what to do with a gorgeous hunk of pork belly – Cider? Wine? Fennel? And then I remembered, it’s Chinese New Year tomorrow – a perfect opportunity to crisp up my belly with five spice, garlic and a damn good roasting. I absolutely adore Chinese food, but I also know next to nothing about cooking it myself. Lizzie pointed me in the direction of a recipe on Sunflower’s Food Galore for a garlic and five-spice infused belly, which I served with some choi sum (identified via a Twitpic), stir fried with garlic and chilli and steamed plain rice.

It was seriously delicious – if perhaps a little over ‘caramelised’ around the edges from an over enthusiastic grilling at the end. I had to leave a couple of ingredients out of Sunflower’s recipe (the bean curd and Chinese rose wine), simply because I didn’t have them. Overall, I was very happy with the results, which I attribute in (a major) part to the quality of the meat – from online farmers shop Paganum.

Based in the Yorkshire Dales, all Paganum’s meat is traditionally reared on family run farms. And it shows. It shows in the flavour of the meat, in the appearance of the meat, the texture of the meat. It’s good, really very good. The Paganum philosophy is this, “Our farmers respect the animals and our customers respect the product”. The producers concentrate on the best possible quality of life for the animals, using sustainable methods, and all meat is ‘hung, prepared and cut properly’. What more could you want, really?

Attitudes towards eating meat have changed drastically in the past few years or so. People are now prepared to pay more for decent products. Of course, quality costs more but we have asked ourselves, if the ‘bargain’ meat often found languishing on supermarket shelves is so cheap, what are we actually paying for? We are paying for the bare minimum that’s what. Even if we didn’t care about welfare, sustainable agriculture and proper butchery – the meat on the plate would ultimately be of poor quality and therefore make for poor eating. It’s a no brainer.

And now, you don’t even have to worry about accessibility. You don’t need to live near a good butcher or farmers market, because the meat comes to you, direct from the Dales. Hooray for people who care about producing good food, hooray for the internet and hooray for their happy happy union – place your order and it arrives by courier (guaranteed next day), all tucked up in the most ingenious packaging – sheeps wool. Yep. It’s natural and sustainable – even the plastic wrapper that keeps the wool out of your meat is biodegradeable.

I shall definitely be ordering more meat from Paganum and pork belly will again be on my shopping list. This piece (from a Pietrain Welsh cross pig) came on the bone. Oh happy joy. A meaty bonus in the form of tender, spiced, melting ribs. I wonder if they sell bibs?

Category: Main Dishes, Meat 25 comments »

25 Responses to “Crispy Chinese Roast Pork Belly.”

  1. Neil

    That looks delicious, another fine piece of pork belly has been made into a tasty treat!

    Totally agree with you regarding general meat ‘ethics’ and it’s always nice to know where something comes from. Have only had the big ‘monthly shop box’ from Paganum, but will definitely see about the belly next time – plus you get ribs!

    Neils last blog post..Toad In The Hole

  2. courtney

    Oh my that looks like little pieces of heaven. Love how you got it so crispy.

  3. Peter G

    Oh! Great treatment of the pork belly Helen! Lovely for Chinese New Years!

  4. Desmone007

    Great food blog, recipes and photos, Helen! You sure know how to get our mouths watering.
    I would like to introduce you to – the cooking encyclopedia everyone can edit – and invite you to link your blog to foodista-related pages using our small embeddable widgets. This is a good way for you to build traffic and connect with other food lovers! Check it out here. Also feel free to share your recipes and tips with us!

  5. The Graphic Foodie

    If it wasn’t so late I would run out the house immediety and find me a slab of pork belly. Delicious!

    I’m lucky enough to live close to producers of great quality meat and there are farmers markets every weekend – the joys of Brighton! A lot of my family rear their own livestock and can’t agree more on buying the best you can afford and eating it less often. Some things are worth waiting for…

    The Graphic Foodies last blog post..Boots Original Beauty Formula

  6. Lizzie

    This must be the weekend for pork belly! How did you find the choi sum?

    I couldn’t see any pork belly on their website – am I being blind?

    Lizzies last blog post..St John

  7. Peter

    There’s something naughty, devlish/decadent about eating pork belly. The fat tastes so good!

    Peters last blog post..Ragu of Braised Lamb

  8. Charmaine

    Oh my gosh, you can just see how juicy and moist that pork is… well done! Now you and Niamh have recommended Paganum I’ll be giving them a try sometime… :-)

    Charmaines last blog post..Making Chinese New Year radish cake (???)

  9. Ginger

    Want. Need, in fact.

    Gingers last blog post..Scottage Pie – Haggis in a Cottage Pie

  10. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen

    Wow, that looks great Helen! I have never cooked pork belly and I have only eaten it once – so it looks like I need to keep my eye out for it now!

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueens last blog post..Boxed Tomatoes: Spaghetti and Meatballs….Spaghetti Squash, a Tomato Sauce Extravaganza!

  11. Mike

    Oh wow that looks amazing. I need to get my hands on some pork belly…and very holiday appropriate!

    Mikes last blog post..Orange Party Cake

  12. Nate

    That is some awesome looking siu yuk (Chinese roasted pork)! My mouth is watering.

    Happy New Year!

  13. nina

    Pork belly is definitely my favorite cut of pork, I love the 5 spice idea……I’m off to find some pork belly!

    ninas last blog post..Catering for the masses can be challenging!

  14. Helen

    Thanks all! Glad to hear you all share the love of the belly!

    Lizzie – I found the choi sum in a Chinese supermarket in Peckham, just at the end of Peckham Rye. I also had a look at the Paganum website and I couldn’t see any belly either. I will contact them and ask.

    Ginger – LOL!

  15. Dan

    Wow – Looks lovely.
    The Pork Belly you cooked is in stark contrast to what I was served in a local restaurant on Sunday – a flaccid, greasy fatty rind with not even the barest hint of meat and to add insult to injury – no crispyness on the crackling at all.
    so, so wrong.

    Dans last blog post..Clerkenwell Lunch options. Part One – Pie and Mash.

  16. Helen

    Dan – Nooooooo! How could they do that to the belly?! And how could they do that to you! Oh you must have been gutted when that turned up!

  17. Dan

    Helen – I know. Yep – gutted describes my feelings down to a tee. I won’t be going back there in a hurry.

    Oh well, now I’ve experienced the lows,
    at least I’ve also experienced the highs….

    I had Pork Belly at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges last year – and it was gorgeous – melt in your mouth soft, but with perfectly crisp crackling…. sadly, the whole experience came with a reassuringly hefty price tag which means I can’t repeat that experience too often.

    Dans last blog post..Clerkenwell Lunch options. Part One – Pie and Mash.

  18. Helen Yuet Ling Pang

    Looks just like my uncle’s from yesterday’s Chinese New Year dinner. Well done! It looks succulent and crispy. The photos are making me very hungry…

    Helen Yuet Ling Pangs last blog post..Quick & Simple: Stir-fried Noodles With Scallops

  19. Helen

    Dan – yeah, Gordon’s gaff ain’t exactly the budget choice is it? So glad to hear it was up to scratch though, at those prices it bloomin well should be!
    Helen – Wow, what a huge complement, thanks! It was my first time cooking it with Chinese flavours so I was a little nervous. That’s the problem with reading food blogs isn’t it? They make you hungry all over again..

  20. Jonathan

    Looks stunningly tasty. The sort of crackling you get with a proper piece of meat. Paganum sound like a good set up. I’d be interested in giving them a try.

    Here’s to more pork belly recipes.

    Jonathans last blog post..Dish Dash – Slap Dash

  21. sunflower

    Lizzie (hollow legs) just told me you have tried my recipe. Looks mouthwatering, well done!

    sunflowers last blog post..HAPPY NEW YEAR

  22. joey

    Be still my heart! That looks amazing! Belly is my favorite cut of pork…and roasting it has always yielded such great results :) I can never master getting good crackling though…how do you get such fab crackling? :)

    joeys last blog post..HHDD #25: Chicken Satay Skewers

  23. Niamh

    Delicious, as always Helen! Yum. I loved the Paganum meat, I plan to order a big box in February. :-)

    Niamhs last blog post..Baozi Inn, Chinatown, London

  24. Kevin

    I have not cooked a pork belly like this before. It looks really good!

    Kevins last blog post..Sweet Potato Poutine

  25. aforkfulofspaghetti

    A great way to see in the Chinese New Year, Helen! And that crackling looks wonderfully crispy, even if a teensy weensy bit ‘caramelised’ ;-)

    aforkfulofspaghettis last blog post..a box of treats…

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