Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roast Pork Belly, Peking Duck Style

Unless I'm baking, I rarely follow recipes to the tee. I find improvising to be a lot more fun and often more economical in terms of resources in the pantry. I made the exception with David Chang's preparation for his legendary Roast Pork Buns. There are just some recipes out there where you want to know how the original formula should work and taste. From there, you move on and adapt it as you see fit for yourself and your own audience. This was my intention. I cured the pork belly last night and brought it out this morning to roast so I could go to class and let it cool and sit in the fridge for a day (which is fine) while I procured the steamed buns from Buford Highway.

Roast Pork Wrap, inspired by David Chang's Roast Pork Buns
(click for glorious salivation)

But then a lightbulb went off- David Chang's roast pork buns are nothing more than a ripped version of Peking Duck, inspired by one of his local haunts in New York's Chinatown. Rather than the traditional pancake wrapper, they use steamed buns. What if I brought this back to the original with the pancakes? Oh ma gawd, YES! And what if I used scallion pancakes? So that's where I took a slight turn and ended up not following his recipe after all, and seeing as I could make these scallion pancakes at home, I could enjoy eating this that much sooner. Win.

These turned out to be Roast Pork Wraps, as if a taco/pita took a wrong turn in China or something. Spread a little hoison sauce on one half of the scallion pancake, add slices of the pork, some scallion slivers, pickled kirbies and daikon and that's it. One bite and it was an instant explosion of sweet and savory flavors, crunchy and soft textures. It was unctuous and it was refreshing all at once.

Just when I threw improvisation out the window, it came back and reminded me who's boss.

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