|Pork belly and tuna tacos, theModular, Houston, TX|
We've reviewed the incarnation of pork belly as gua bao. Until recently, the main American applications for pork belly are bacon, and as a way of hedging against volatile pork prices. Despite being a low priced meat, it is finding its way into high end applications. Though our local chefs find a way to dress up this formerly plebian meat in sous vide airs, elsewhere cooking belly sits on a long history of tradition. Behold, high end belly:
|Meat appetizer plate at Bellagio, in Mandaluyong, Philippines. From left to right, pork belly, roast duck, char siu pork, and jellyfish salad. A classic combination, elegantly executed.|
|The pork belly close up. Crisp skin, and a fine layering of meat and fat. It's a work of art.|
Of course, the unctuous luxury of belly doesn't have to end with the pork. Let's pair it with some raw tuna...belly.
|Ohtoro maguro : tuna belly. The most expensive cut of tuna. Nagoya, Japan|
Japanese filets of tuna grade them by their distance from the belly. The farthest away is maguro, common tuna - it's that brick red slab that most people are accustomed to. A little closer is chutoro maguro, and right at the belly, is ohtoro maguro - the flesh so marbled with fat it is a pale pink in color, and melts like butter on the tongue.
The two piece serving above (well, the other one was eaten quickly) cost 1000 yen - about $14. For two bites of fish. It's a zen experience - you simply chew on it, and marvel at a rare taste experience.