Buta no Kaku Ni (Braised pork belly): Any Tips from those places that make it best?
Kyushu (especially Nagasaki) is the epicenter for this dish, but it has spread to many parts of Japan.
There are specialty restaurants that sometimes require a 2 day ahead reservation, as the dish requires at least that long when best prepared.
Question: Have you found a place that does it perfectly, and if so, would you be willing to talk to the chef to share the secrets of the several stages of its preparation?
We have a thread going on the HomeCooking Board, which may serve to hone your questions for the chef, and we'd appreciate your feedback. Questions about the use of Nuka and Daikon and the method of final braising (drop lid?) and/or initial browning are some of the areas of focus. If you have tips on techniques, would you be kind enough to post them there?
I first had the dish at a restaurant in Nagasaki, years ago, and was astounded.
i had it recently at Kagetsu in Nagasaki and it was sublime (they claim they prepare it over three days). Unfortunately the rest of the shippoku meal there was a huge disappointment: one of the most underwhelming meals i've ever had. Will post about it at length at some point.
As a sidenote, i went to Chiang Mai a couple weeks later, where i always feast on one of my favorite dishes: gaeng hang lay, which is pork slowly stewed w/ curry, ginger, and garlic. A different kind of thing of course, but nonetheless in the broad tender-stewed-pork category. And as delicious as the shippoku butanokakuni was, that meal was 300 dollars (w/ the pork being only one very small part of the meal) -- and all things considered, my 75 cent, streetside bowl of gaeng hang lay was the better meal. That said, i'd love to learn of a place in either Tokyo or Fukuoka that was serves butanokakuni (minus the elaborate shippoku setup) for a semi-reasonable price.