Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crunchy Pork Belly by Carlo's Kitchen

Some weeks back, I tried Crunchy Belly by Carlo's Kitchen at Best Food Forward. Since then, my team has been waiting for an opportunity to place an order and hold a pork feast in the office. After Easter, that long-awaited opportunity finally came.

Crunchy Belly by Carlo's Kitchen at Best Food Forward

Our pork loving colleague (who makes a third "appearance" in my blog, after having been mentioned in my posts on Cebu Lechon and the Lechon Belly Roll) had imposed a fine on himself for each time he broke his Lenten sacrifice. The beneficiary of said fine was our team - we would all enjoy a pork feast post-Lent, courtesy our resident pork lover. We forgot to place an order on the week immediately following Easter but finally remembered to do so this past week.

Carlo's Kitchen and their Crunchy Belly are mainstays at Midnight Mercato; however, they also accept orders by the kilo, which are then delivered to the customer via meet-up at specific locations. It actually all felt a bit contraband - at the scheduled place and time, we drove up in my car and rolled down the window, we were handed "the goods," and we handed back some cash. Something as good as this crunchy belly could, after all, result in an addiction.

We were feeding a group of twelve. Given that I'm more of a baker than a cook, I had no idea how much pork we would need. I ordered two kilos, then worried that we would very quickly run out of pork. I have never been so wrong! We had more than enough pork to feed about 20 people (I estimate that each kilo feeds around ten).
This is what 2 kilos of crunchy pork belly looks like

The order was delivered half-cooked, so, unlike the fully cooked version sold in Mercato, this required further cooking. I suppose the best way to crisp them up would have been to deep fry them, but being that we were in the office, we were limited to two options: our tiny toaster oven or our microwave. We decided to try both.
Heating by toaster oven required ten minutes to crisp up - way too long for my hungry team. As the toaster also reached the point of overheating and subsequent auto-shutdown, it took even longer for all the fat to turn into a bacon-like state. The toasted version thus turned out to be more chewy than we wanted, though there were crispy parts scattered about. 
Team Toaster Oven
Heating by microwave was a bit of an experiment, as we expected that the meat would toughen if nuked. We started with a small test batch, just to make sure this would turn out the way we wanted. We were very pleasantly surprised that it did. After two minutes in the microwave, plus a couple more minutes post-nuking to cool down / crisp up, this was crunchy and dry, just like extra crispy bacon. This thus turned out to be the perfect short cut for our hungry crew and was my heating method of choice. A tip: lay several sheets of paper towels under the pork belly before you heat it, as the fat melts during heating and needs to be drained off the pork to help make it crisp.
Team Microwave

In an attempt at irony (and perhaps a bit of rebellion - how brazen of me!), I decided to pour my drink into a promotional Fitness First mug. Here it is my mug giving my bit of crispy pork belly the thumbs up -

Needless to say, our entire team fell into a heavy pork coma after lunch. We were all reaching for cups of tea, hoping that a hot drink would wash out all the richness we had just consumed. It was all well worth it, though - this crispy pork is excellent! It's definitely an indulgence that must be consumed sparingly (especially by those who are on some form of cholesterol medication), but if you want a party in your mouth, you must make sure to have Crunchy Belly by Carlo's Kitchen on the guest list.

Carlo's Kitchen
Mobile + 63 927 306 2738
Email mychefdad@gmail.com
Twitter @crunchybelly

1 comment:

  1. Such a nice blog about the know-how's of ordering the Crunchy Belly by the kilo! Truly informative! Thank you guys for making our Crunchy Belly your Post-Lent treat! Looking forward to more Crunchy Belly encounters with you!