Food blogger reviews 5 street food vendors for the best crispy pork belly in Bangkok, Thailand.
Photo credit : chillpainai.com
In the USA, if we talk about pork belly, people would think of bacon the most. Meanwhile, most Thais will say “Crispy pork belly”! The number of Thai people consuming crispy pork belly is incredibly high. No matter how high the calories are, it seems to be unstoppable. In 2020, crispy pork belly was nominated the keyword of the year. Thai people searching “crispy pork belly” on Google increased 5,000%. I remember that time was during Covid when we stayed at home and the only thing we could do was search for food delivery. Google also concluded that “Food is what Thai people give a lot of attention to…”. That explains why our top keyword is a food. Since crispy pork belly has become the main attraction among Thai people now, it is time to properly introduce this dish to you on the Lion Food Blogs.
Crispy pork belly. Photo credit : kongaroi.com
Presumably, crispy pork belly was introduced to Thai cuisine by Chinese immigrants from Guangdong Province, located in the southern part of China, and Hong Kong. It is called “Siu Yuk”. Another dish that is similar to Siu Yuk is Chicharrón, a deep fried pork belly, popular in Spain and Central and South America. The difference between the Chinese and the western recipe is the juiciness of the meat inside. Chicharrón seems to have more crispy parts since they deep fry a thick slice of pork belly. Siu Yuk emphasizes on the crispy pork skin but juicy pork meat inside. Both recipes take a slow process to cook and have steps in order to make the crisp effect.
Chicharrón (on the left) and Siu Yuk (on the right)
For Thai people, we don’t mind who makes it, we will clean the plate when it comes to crispy pork belly. Chinese crispy pork belly is marinated in five spices and salt, before refrigerated overnight or air dried for at least 4 hours then roasted or deep fried. There are at least 6 recipes on how to make crispy pork belly in Thai style. New recipes like this one have been modified by new technology like the air fryer, making the process easier and shorter. The simplified recipe I use today eliminates things like boiling, piercing the pork skin, and deep frying.
- Pork belly 1.5 lb
- Vinegar ¼ cup
- Salt 1 tbsp
- Wash and clean the pork belly thoroughly. Use the knife to scrape any leftover hair off the skin.
- Slice the skin down through the fat layer lengthwise and crosswise, stopping when you hit the meat, making a cube shape about an inch on each side. This method will make it easier when you cut all the way through the finished product.
- Add vinegar in a plate or tray and face pork belly the skin side down on it. Soak it for 20 minutes. Make sure that the vinegar reaches not above the fat layer. The meat doesn’t need to touch the vinegar.
- After 20 minutes, drain the vinegar and apply salt on the pork belly. Try to get it in all areas, including inside where the slices are. Then leave it for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the pork belly to the air fryer, skin side up. Cook at 180 F (80 C) for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, flip the meat over and cook at 400 F (200 C) for 15 minutes.
- Flip the skin side up again and continue to cook at 400 F (200 C) for another 15 minutes.
- Cut into bite size pieces and serve with sweet dark soy sauce and mustard.
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