Best Food Deals: Pork Belly at Maekawa–$5 (11/6/07)

Sometimes a dish just makes you wonder how it can be so delicious and yet still fit into your budget. This my first of what will hopefully become a series of the best cheap eats in and around the city.

We were at the bar at Maekawa, when my eye was instantly drawn away from conversation. These eyes don’t miss pork belly. Nor does this nose or tummy. It was flying by and I caught barely a glimpse, accompanied by a hard boiled egg. Searching the menu desperately for pork belly, I found this entry: Kakuni: Chunks of pork stewed with hard boiled egg. Hardly sounding appealing on the menu, I ordered it nonetheless. Luckily I was right and what was served to me was in fact two squares of pork belly, about 2in x 2in, braised to melting perfection and served with a dollop of spicy horseradish or mustard that cut the sweetness of the sauce. This pig clearly gave his life for a good cause.

Pork Belly sounds intimidating, but in reality it is just bacon, before it is cured–where the deliciousness comes from, because let’s be honest, everyone loves bacon. While the dish can be found on many fancy restaurants for 3 times the price (Cremant serves quite a lovely one), the meat itself is quite cheap (available at Uwajimaya and HT Mart for less than $3 a pound). However, cooking it takes a long time (braising overnight works well) so why not save yourself the effort and eat the version at Maekawa? (In the International District)

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