Thursday, March 15, 2012
Lop Yuk, Round 1
My first round of lop yuk, Chinese bacon, is finished and in our bellies! Since it's really fatty, I mostly used a slice or two in vegetable and tofu stir-fries. Because it's nitrate free, the bacon is black and not the lovely pink color of pancetta. It's not the most appetizing color, I'll admit, but once you sauté it in a wok and get a good coat of crispy char on the bacon, it looks like any other hunk of fatty meat.
Since lok yuk is not smoked, I'm not sure why it's called bacon. It's more like Chinese pancetta. First, you marinate 2-inch slabs of pork belly in Shaoxing wine or Chinese whiskey, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. I also added some brown sugar, although I'm not sure if it's traditional. The pork belly stays in the marinade for 3-5 days. At the end of that time, poke a hole in the meat with a chopstick, insert string through the hole, and tie the meat piñata up above your kitchen sink. According to my aunt, this is what my grandmother used to do, so the boy and I decided that we'd do the same as a nod her.
Again, the boy wanted to know if I was trying to kill us, but I pointed out that all of my mom's siblings are alive and kicking despite growing up eating lop yuk. No pink slime as thrown into the mix, either.