Saturday, June 19, 2010
OH MY PORCINE FRIEND, LET ME COUNT THE 5 WAYS I LOVE THEE!
The lunch served at Bale Dutung is a ten-course (mostly) Kapampangan affair, with the notable exception of Chicken Inasal. Ms. Mary Ann explained that it is like a degustacion menu, with flavors of each course progressively getting stronger to tickle the taste buds.
Being the overzealous carnivore that i am, i will gloss over the other dishes served (Ensaladang Pako, Talangka sushi, etc.) and jump immediately to the 5-ways lechon.
The atmosphere on the table was convivial, as everyone was by now on familiar terms with one another; and i guess there is nothing like the prospect of a good meal that loosens tongues. :D
So, let us start counting the ways we love dear porky piggy!
1ST WAY: Balat ng Lechon at Liver sauce
The lechon skin was chopped and passed around the table on a dish.
Unfortunately, something went wrong and it was NOT crispy, as expected. They actually had to fry the skin. It came with a choice of two dips, vinegar or liver sauce.
Consensus around the table was that the skin was a bit tough to chew, and could be hard to swallow at times. A bit of a letdown (sigh)
2ND WAY: Fried Lechon Flakes binalot sa Tortilla at Claude's Oriental Sauce
As per below pic, the lechon was shredded to resemble floss. Combined with tomato, onions, basil, kimchi and Claude's Oriental sauce, it was put together in a pancake, and eaten Peking Duck-style.
Here's a sample of how to wrap it all up:
Unanimous thumbs up!!! If this were Facebook, it would be LIKE, LIKE and LIKE! Winner!
See cheeky Femme swallowing the whole thing in one gulp! :D
3RD WAY: Sinigang na Lechon
Sinigang is a type of Philippine soup noted for its sour flavor. As Chef Claude explained, the leeks, lemongrass, garlic, etc. stuffed inside the pig were used to make a "gelatinous broth", and served with steamed rice. This adds body to the sourness, unlike in regular sinigang.
(Above) Ingredients for the broth
(Below) Here's how it looks on the plate:
I generally don't eat sinigang, and just took a tablespoonful of my seatmate MJ's dish. The sourness was well-balanced; it won't make you make a sour face. Haha.
4TH WAY: Inihaw na Tadyang na Lechon at Ensaladang Talong
In English, grilled ribs. The meat was tender and tasty, albeit a tad too salty for my taste.
The eggplant and salted egg complemented the dish very well.
5TH WAY: Inasadong Pata ng Lechon
Fifth, but not least, the hind leg was roasted, in a combination of Kapampangan and Chinese styles.
At this point, Ms. Mary Ann marvelled at our group's collective appetites, as we were all readying our plates to dig in into this dish. It turns out one of their previous groups had thrown in the towel (no, not the tuwalya con yelo :D) by this point; and they had to raffle off this dish to the lucky participant.
This ended the 5-ways lechon on a good note. Or so we thought.
Chef Claude wheeled out a brand-new lechon, and invited us to partake of the skin by ripping it directly off the pig! This time, it was perfectly crispy and crunchy! Yesss!!!
Uric acid, Triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels be damned, i feasted on as much balat as i could!
Up next, dessert!
(Many thanks to lovely ladies Leslie Perez, Steph C. and Femme P. for the food shots)