My body’s tellin’ me nooo, but my heart’s tellin’ me yesssss. Welcome to the love-hate relationship that is Pork Belly. Synonymous of pig’s anatomy, its the dieter’s faux-pas. But robust and succulent, better judgment simply doesn’t stand a chance against this fat’s finest cut of meat. Prepared across an array of methods, pork’s best form is just plain satisfying, no matter which way its primed. Amidst the palate, you’re a sucker for love. Guilty eating is problematic, but its no excuse to turn a cold shoulder, especially to the pork belly paradise that is San Francisco.
Check out the Best San Francisco Restaurants for Pork Belly:
Stir Fried Pork Belly with Crispy Rind from Lers Ros Thai
You start your meal with your sense of smell and then the rest of your senses follow. The combination of basil, peppers, and garlic awaken you. The heat from the peppers and the basil adds a bite of freshness and crispness. The pork belly is bite size and one bite is all that’s needed to highlight all the reasons pork belly is so delectable. Each bite of pork belly from Lers Ros Thai has the crispy skin with a layer of fat and then the layer of tender pork. Make sure you have a bowl of rice to go with your entree. The perfect way to eat this dish is with a spoon. Place some rice with the sauce and all the veggies on top of the spoon. Then, put a carefully selected piece of pork belly on top and bring the whole combination to your open mouth. Finally, chew and enjoy all the flavors and textures that have exploded in your mouth from this dish.
The Wooly Pig from Wooly Pig Cafe
The first bite from this signature sandwich from the Wooly Pig Cafe will send your mouth into party mode – the bread is crunchy on the outside but tender on the inside. It is a good choice of roll because of its density and its ability to soak up the caramelized juices from the pork belly. The pork belly resembles pulled pork with bits of fat hidden through the sandwich and the meat is plastic fork tender. For all you veggie lovers, you will see some green in the sandwich. The argula gives the sandwich the right amount of peppery and bitter flavor to complement the sweetness of the meat. Just when you think the flavor train has stopped, you notice the hint of crunch and tanginess from the pickled shallots. I would recommend having extra napkins on hand because the sandwich is messy and you’ll want to clean your fingers after licking off all the sauce.
Pork Belly Banh Mi from Cafe Bunn Mi
You can’t help but to give in to temptation and order the pork belly banh mi when you step into this Cafe Bunn Mi. Your doctor might advise against it but what they don’t know won’t hurt them. This banh mi requires both of your hands when eating it because it is overflowing with fillings. The sandwich doesn’t look that big but it is packed to every edge of the roll. The complexity of the flavors and texture that are present in the sandwich will make you want to dissect exactly what it is that you are eating. The first bite of the sandwich will introduce you to the crunchiness of the crust and then you will be hit with just a hint of sweetness – and the flavors and textures don’t just stop there. There is the creaminess that comes from the aioli as well as the hard boiled egg. Pickled carrots along with the fresh jalapenos and cilantro make their appearance, which add their familiar freshness. Last but not least is the star of the show, the braised pork belly. There is an abundance of meat in this sandwich and you will be thankful to Cafe Bunn Mi for it. The layers of fat and meat will just make you smile.
Buta Kakuni from Izakaya Sozai
Count to five before you reach for that succulent piece of pork belly that the server just brought to you at Izakaya Sozai. You will thank me later. This braised pork belly is fresh and hot from the kitchen and the cost of taking a bite the minute it appears on the table is most definitely a burn. However, with pork belly this perfect the burn might be worth it. The skin has a chewiness to it and the layer of fat underneath coats your mouth, when, combined with the meat, bursts with sweetness of its juices. I would recommend each bite be accompanied with a bite of veggies and wasabi. The wasabi is pungent and sharply contrasts the pork and the veggies help to soak up the juice. When you finish, you might be tempted to lick the bowl after you have devoured all the pieces of pork belly. Go ahead, I’m not judging.
Pork Belly Doughnuts from The Sycamore
Pork belly and doughnuts sitting on a Sycamore tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love. Second comes marriage. Third comes pork belly doughnuts lightly coated with a Maker’s Mark maple glaze kissed with flakes of sea salt. Don’t miss these doughnuts from The Sycamore: each order comes with three savory and sweet pork belly doughnuts that will leave you drooling. When you first see it on the menu, you might be shocked at how someone could make such a combination but curiosity will overtake your sense of being healthy. The sweetness of the doughnut breading and maple glaze with the savoriness of the pork belly will make you tilt your head in wonder. Just when you think there is already a crazy flavor explosion in your mouth, the sea salt will add just the right punch to finish it off. It completely ties together all the flavors in a nice chubby bow. These pork belly doughnuts are a combination that isn’t as farfetched as one would think – it vaguely has similarities to eating bacon and pancakes. It definitely shouldn’t be a daily breakfast option but the occasional treat never hurt anyone.
Braised Pork Belly Over Preserved Vegetables from Hakka Restaurant
The name says it all but as simple as it may sound that is where the simplicity ends. It is a traditional Hakka dish that will bring you back to a time of love and warmth. You may not have grown up eating this but as you take a bite, waves of love and comfort will wash all over you and you may never want to leave Hakka Restaurant. The pork belly is braised slowly and served over preserved mustard greens, and the caramelized juices of the slow cooked belly is the finishing sauce that makes the dish glisten. The fat will melt in your mouth and hit every sweet and savory taste bud. The preserved vegetables adds to sweetness as well crispness in texture, and the majority of the sauce will be soaked up by the vegetables so here is one time where it is important to eat your vegetables. Rice is a nice side as it also aids in soaking up the juices from the dish – and you definitely will want to soak up every drop. Each bite is a bite of the love and time that was put into preparing the meal.
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