It’s time to pig out, people! Up there with bacon for its almost universally worshipped deliciousness, crispy, juicy, flavoursome pork belly is just around the corner.
Prince Alfred Rooftop and Bar
A favourite Melbourne Uni watering hole has been transformed into the Prince Alfred Rooftop and Bar, with a fancier, all-new interior and a menu of slightly posh pub fare. Like twice-cooked pork belly with caramelised apple and leek, which will require regular study over beers to get that pork-enomics degree.
While there are other options at Mr Crackles, he’s really all about the piggy. How about his classic roll of crisp-skinned, slow-roasted, five-spice pork belly with Vietnamese salad? Or the crackling cup, which you can eat every yummy bit of because the cup’s a soft white roll? Or whole crackling sheets. Or straight-up crispy pork belly – by the kilo!
Three generations of Vietnamese migrants are behind Banoi’s two Bourke Street locations, in the CBD and Docklands. That means their Vietnamese street food is authentically awesome, especially on Crispy Fridays. Get your favourite dishes with pork belly, from crispy pork cao lau noodle to crispy pork on rice. Can’t make it on Friday? Don’t worry, pork belly taco buns are available every day of the week.
Ever since it opened in 2007, Red Spice Road has been hot – so hot that Red Spice QV soon followed. Their amazing menu of hawker-style dishes from Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam means there are hard choices to be made. The first is easy though: the famous, all-time favourite pork belly with apple slaw, black vinegar and chilli caramel.
Rice Paper Scissors
Smart enough for frisky cocktails but casual enough that eating with your hands is encouraged, Rice Paper Scissors makes food fun. And what’s more fun than pigging out on pork belly? It’s stuffed in steamed buns. Twice-cooked and served with a sticky tamarind-caramel sauce. Nestled among wok-tossed greens. Paired with smoky Moreton Bay bugs in betel leaves. Order up and dive right in!
It’s inspired by Singapore and Malaysia’s hawker centres, but instead of stalls that become institutions over decades, HKWR’s curated vendors rotate. Right now that includes Wonderbao, whose crackling pork belly bao kit with hoisin and pickles is all yours for just $16. It’s enough to make you squeal with delight! Wonderbao’s residency at at HWKR is on until 8 August, but never fear – there’s braised or roast pork belly bao on offer at their A’beckett street store just a block away.
Step through the unmarked door and down into the basement that is Izakaya Den. A few sips into that sake or Japanese beer you can easily imagine yourself in Tokyo. Bite into the kurobuta pork belly with yakiniku sauce and you may start seeing the world in dreamy Miyazaki anime vision. It’s that good, because kurobuta is the wagyu of pork.
This restaurant has one foot in the West, the other in the Philippines, and all hands ready to sizzle and grill. Reynaldo’s menu is a mouth-watering read that includes Filipino classics like Lechon Kawali. In other words, pork belly that’s been simmered until tender, then deep fried to golden, crispy perfection. OMG!
It’s a bar, nightclub and funky Thai restaurant with a long menu, but sometimes all you want is Cookie’s pork belly dishes. Is your heart’s desire the crispy pork belly red curry? The shrimpy, chillied pork belly with ox tongue and Chinese broccoli? Or the porcine bonanza that is the pork platter, which includes belly, spicy sausage and porky salad?