While at Filipino restaurant Pistahan in the East Village, my friend and I split an order of lechon kawali, pork belly that's boiled then deep fried, but we couldn't finish it. I blamed it partly on just having devoured an order of halo-halo (eating dessert before the main course is acceptable in my world), and partly on the lechon kawali being composed of 99% pork fat.
Oh, I knew what I was getting myself into, fat chunk-wise. What I wasn't prepared for was the complete sensory experience: the sweet porky scent; the loud potato chip-like crunch of the skin on the first bite; the combination of thick, crispy skin with an inch of tender fat-oozing flesh; the rich "I think I'm eating pure fat" flavor. I dampened the pork's effect by dipping it in the accompanying vinegar-based sauce and alternating bites with mouthfuls of rice. At the end of the meal with just three chunks left on the plate, my friend and I hugged our bellies in slight discomfort and satisfaction with the intention of doing it again.
229 1st Avenue, New York NY 10003 (b/n 13th Street and 14th Street; map) 212-228-9000
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.