Why I drove for six and a half hours to eat Sticky Asian Pork Belly

A few weeks ago I visited a company in Devon, to see whether we wanted to buy them. It being mid-August I couldn’t decide whether it would be better to drive down or get the train. I mean the train is, in theory, quicker, easier and less stressful than driving.

In reality though, getting the train is a pain in the arse. To get to the station you have to cross London, which takes longer than getting from London to Devon. This country lacks in many ways, but nothing worse than public transport.

So I drove. 168 miles. Took 3 hours. On a Thursday afternoon in the holiday season that’s not so bad. Me in a suit, everyone else in shorts and towing caravans.

The road to England’s very own holiday region is great, so long as you don’t use it in the holiday season. Someone even wrote about it:

the-a303

The A303 is one of those wonderful British roads that the authorities have semi-modernised; it goes from one lane to two lanes and then back to one lane and so on and so forth. The result is a total pain in the arse as you stop and go with traffic filtering and everyone slowly getting pissed off.

Then there is Stonehenge. It sits a few hundred yards from the road about 80 miles from London. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting England for the first time, but you wouldn’t go back. Yet everyone slows down to look at it as they drive past. It’s a bunch of rocks people. Rocks. Back in the day you could sit on them and eat your sandwiches. Nowadays the local History Police shoot on sight if you get within 100 yards.

Stoned

Stonehenge – Rocks and Nutjobs

It’s weird going to the South West of England on business. Normally you go there for holidays. I met my colleague and we went to a pub restaurant (the Harbour Inn) in Lyme Regis. I had Sticky Asian Pork Belly.

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A revelation. Delicious. Sublime.

I could continue with the superlatives, but you get the idea. And being a blogger of food I instantly decided that I would have to try and recreate. If I ever made it home. We returned to the car, surrounded by sunburned, sand encrusted, drunken holidaymakers and returned to our accomodations.

The next day we met the company directors in a hotel – surrounded by old dears eating scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, sipping tea from porcelain cups. Working in Dorset, or Devon, or where ever it was, wouldn’t be a bad gig.

Following a 5 hour meeting I then set off for London. A mear 168 miles away. But it was Friday afternoon and many, many happy holidaymakers had the same idea.

6 ½ hours people. 6 ½ hours. I averaged 26 MPH. It was a mare.

Anyway back to Sticky Asian Pork Belly. You will need:

For the pork and marinade

  • 6-7 pork belly strips, rind removed
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp black chinese vinegar
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 glass white wine

For the sticky glaze

  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tbsp black chinese vinegar
  • 2 chillis, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • juice of 1 lime
  • handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar

I served this deliciousness with fried rice and braised pak choy.

First combine the marinade ingredients and put in a sealable tub. Add the pork strips and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours.

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Drain the marinade off and put the ribs in a baking tray. Place in the oven and cook at 120 centigrade for an hour and a half. Meanwhile combine the sticky sauce ingredients in a bowl:

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Take the pork out the oven:

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Pour the sauce over the pork and return to the oven at 180 centigrade. Cook for about 3/4 hours:

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Baste the pork once or twice during cooking:

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Serve on a bed of rice and pak choy:

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Well worth a 320 mile round trip!

23 thoughts on “Why I drove for six and a half hours to eat Sticky Asian Pork Belly

    • I love Norwich. Mainly because I get to watch my brother in law from time to time sitting in his car at family gatherings listening to the radio whilst his team get beaten up at football. Bless him!

  1. What a nice job recreating that dish! That sticky glaze sounds like a real mess to eat but well worth it – just have a pile of towels handy.
    Your roads sound like what we deal with all summer in New England only we like to add the road construction in there for some extra frustration.
    I always wanted to visit Stonehendge on my trips over there but just never was able to get the extra time in to do it. So tell me, which are the rocks & which are the nutjobs? kind of hard to tell.

  2. Oh. My. This looks incredible. I’m wondering what the yogurt does? Love these flavors. They would be great with any meat, really! And you’re right. Stonehenge – been there, done it, not going back.

  3. Just think though you had at least 3 hours of anticipation leading up to eating the sticky Asian pork belly on the way there, don’t forget the bonus partial view of the nice rocks, then you had 6 and 1/2 hours on the way back to relive the moments eating the sticky Asian pork belly. I’d say absolutely worth it. 🙂
    I have been known to travel miles for a piece of chocolate. 🙂 Even now it makes me smile.

    • Yes it was worth the trip down definitely! I can get quite obsessive about specific food items. Like I will go from supermarket to supermarket looking for a single ingredient, then forget why I wanted it (it’s happened)

  4. WE are on a “Eat Out Of the Freezer and Pantry Only Quest” as we are moving and can’t take the food with us. The problem is the freezer was full of chicken. We are SO tired of chicken right now! Your pork looks so tempting. So does the Bok Choy. Sorry about the long drive.

    • I feel your pain – we do a ‘eat everything in the freezer’ thing every now and then, that big white box throws up things you’d never eat – like 2 year old fish fillets.

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