Juicy. Fatty. Sumptuous. That's pork belly in five words or less. No wonder it has maintained its popularity long after other trendy ingredients have fallen by the wayside and no doubt why chefs continue to find excuses to work it into entrées, appetizers and even desserts. There are many good pork belly culinary experiences to be had in Houston; here are five dishes worth trying:
5. Pork Snuggies (Eatsie Boys). In this riff on the classic Taiwanese bao sandwich, the Eatsie Boys over-stuff a white sugary bun with pork belly that has a bit of a crunch. Pickles, green onions and hoisin sauce provide some sweet and sour notes to balance the saltier piggy.
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4. Three Wise Fries (Coreanos). I'm sure at some point the trend of dumping x delicious ingredient onto a bed of steaming fries will get old. But now's not the time, thank goodness, so go enjoy the latest iteration of this fad at Coreanos, where spicy pork belly joins marinated chicken, beef short ribs, cheddar cheese and creamy "el Scorcho" sauce. A hot (in terms of both spice and temperature) mess in the most delicious way possible.
3. Bacon Tataki (Uchi). The artful construction and the espresso fish caramel sauce (briny yet energizing) are what really makes bacon tataki unique, but don't overlook the modestly prepared pork belly. The porcine chunks anchor this otherwise light and fleeting dish and provide the crucial texture contrast to the crisp scallion snowflake.
2. Braised Portuguese Octopus with Pork Belly (Kata Robata). Proving a pig and an octopus can be friends, Kata Robata successfully combines braised Portuguese octopus with the fatty underbelly of a pig (no word on his ethnicity) along with a sprinkle of basil and some fingerling potatoes. It's not a relationship you see every day, but trust me, it works.
1. Scrambled Eggs with Pork Belly (Haven). As part of its "breakfast for dinner series" on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, Haven is offering sophisticated takes on morning mainstays. Their ramped-up version of bacon and eggs involves a prickly, sweet sorghum-glazed smoked pork belly, pillow-soft scrambled eggs and a thick slice of zucchini bread. Make your dining companion order the chicken and waffles as to ensure a most delicious and comprehensive brinner.