Pork, as I’ve mentioned numerous times before, is the meat of choice for many Filipinos unless – of course – one is from the Islamic South.
It lends itself well to a variety of cooking methods, both commonplace and for special occasions. From bacon or tocino on the breakfast table, to the sahog (flavoring agent / textural interest) of a pan of sauteed veg, to the richly-flavored Spanish litany of menudo, adobo, afritada, and pochero – there are so many ways by which pork can make local mouths water. And then, of course, there are the options of roasting, grilling, and deep-frying the meat.
The addition of garlic to any pork dish makes it gain a deeper, richer savor and a most appealing fragrance. Case in point: pork adobo in its many versions, the unbeatable combination of tocino with garlic fried rice, and the roasted garlic liempo over at Pizza Niro in Makati.
In this dish (P 130.00 per serve), meltingly tender pork belly is rubbed all over with salt, cracked black pepper, and minced garlic before being slow-roasted in an Italian brick oven. The deceptively simple marinade permeates the pork, making it deliciously fragrant and utterly tasty. While not exactly melt-in-your-mouth tender, the meat is soft enough to cut with a fork and is absolutely delightful with hot rice and some sauteed mushrooms and sweetcorn.
I suddenly have a yen to try making this at home… 😉