The Pork Skin Flicks

By Sheere Ng - Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

In many cultures, such as the Chinese and the Mexicans, the entire pig is devoured from nose to tail. This practice is likely to arise from the poor and the simple working class, as they have to make do with everything- waste not, want not. The pig’s skin alone, is cooked, eaten and interpreted in so many ways yet it has many similarities in their ways these cultures approach them. Here are six ways pig’s skin is eaten around the world:
Teochew Braised Pig’s Skin The Teochews who loath to waste food, slow braised it in herbal soy sauce till it soften. They eat it, together with braised pork meat and offal, with broad rice sheets. As pig’s skin is high in protein and colagen, it said to be good for one’s complexion. The same people use it to make aspic too. The skin’s gelatin turns the meat stock into jelly upon chilling.

The Pig Skin Flicks (image courtesy of rumpleteaser via Flickr)

Chinese style Fried Pig’s Skin in Soup or Braised Boil the fried pig’s skin in water to remove excess oil and stench until soft (if rancid cooking oil was used to cook it). Drain the water, ari in fridge overnight, cut the skin into strips and then deep fry until golden brown. Stew in chicken or pork broth with other ingredients, or stir fry and then braise in a combination of soy sauce and sugar (a Chinese culinary technique called hong shao) with chilli, scallion and mushrooms.
American Pork Crackling It is not part of a regular meal but eaten as a snack. Pieces of pork skin is rubbed with salt and then deep fried in fat, at which they explode like popcorns. Traditionally from local butchers, it came greasy, sometimes with hair still attached. Commercial version today, found in supermarkets, are light and airy. Former president George W Bush once professed his love for the snack, bringing fresh popularity to these crunchy puffs.
Thai Khaep mu Similar to the US pork crackling but in northern Thailand the crunchy snack is eaten with chilli paste such as the spicy and tangy green chilli paste (nam phrik num). They also make a salad out of it, tossing in chilli, shallots, garlic, fish sauce and lime juice.
Mexican chicharron Mexico has one of the cultures that eat the pig from nose to tail. For the skin, they eat it in two forms: either fried as chicharron or cut into thin strips and pickled as cueritos. Freshly made chicharron can be found at street markets. Unlike its American and Thai counterparts, it is sold in broad sheets and by the kilo. The Mexicans eat chicharron with salsa verde (green sauce) or guacamole.
Mexican Chicharron (image courtesy of cordelia_persen via Flickr)

Danish flæskesvær At the recent World Street Food Congress, the Danish team from Meyers Køkken prepared pork sandwich topped with pork rind for extra crunch. Called the flæskesvær, it is a traditional Danish Christmas menu item, served together with roast pork. Flæskesvæ is also sold in bags and eaten as snack.
Flæskesvær in pork sandwich