My husband, like most men, is a big meat and potatoes guy. If he could get away with it, lunch and dinner should always have a meat dish. One time when we went to a Filipino restaurant, he tried deep fried pork hock dish called “Crispy Pata” and he loved it. He love the crispy skin that crackles when you bite into it. He would request that dish every now and then.
This dish is slightly like “Crispy Pata” but a rather slightly leaner version (I prefer getting a cut of the pork belly that does not have a thick layer of fat). This dish is roasted not deep fried. The process is a bit long but it is all worth the wait. My one suggestion though, is that make a big batch because the process is long and by the time the pork belly is cooked, it shrinks down to almost 2/3 of the original size. Another reason is, it is really good!
1 kg Pork belly (choose a piece that has a good layer of lean meat and less fat)
five spice powder
rice wine vinegar
Blanch the whole pork belly in boiling water for about 20 minutes, until around 70% done, and the skin is softened. Remove and pat dry. Prick pork skin all over with skewers or a fork as evenly as possible. Drying the skin with kitchen paper as you go.
Combine salt, 5-spice powder and white pepper in a small bowl. Rub the marinade all over the meat portion only. If any marinade gets on the skin, rub it off with a paper towel.
Rub more salt on the skin massaging it in. Place pork belly on a plate, uncovered, skin side up, blow dry or fan dry for 10 mins and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator. The purpose is to dry the skin thoroughly and also to allow the marinade to seep into the meat.
When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Pierce 2 skewers through the meat to keep the pork straight. Place the pork on a rack set over a roasting pan. Wrap the meat sides with foil and cover the skin with a thick layer of salt. Pop the pork in the oven on the top rack for 20-30 minutes.
Take the pork out, turn the heat up to 250 degrees C, or however high your oven goes. Remove the pork and scrape off all the salt on the skin. Brush the rice wine vinegar over the top of your pork. Then pop it back in the oven for 15-20 minutes or so, until the top skin layer has bubbled up and looks all puffy, crispy and actually even a little charred.
When cool to touch, scrape off the charred bits to reveal the golden crisp skin.
Chop the pork into bite sizes and serve with Chinese mustard.