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Best Pork Belly dish?

hyacinthgirl Jan 26, 2009 12:35 PM

My SO and I have been going out more, and I noticed a new trend of his to order the pork belly item on every menu that has it. (the last three were AOC, Palate and Laurel Tavern).

I promised to take him out next week and, noticing his recent obsession, I'd love to take him to a place with the best pork belly dish.

So, where do you love? Where have you had the best pork belly?


  1. a
    andytseng Jan 26, 2009 01:40 PM

    I don't know about the best, but I think the Japanese do pork belly quite well. Depending on what's closer for you, you could probably either do Musha, Izakaya Bincho, or Izayoi.

    424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    Izakaya Bincho
    112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

    1 Reply
    1. re: andytseng
      ns1 Jan 26, 2009 04:54 PM

      The flavor @Bincho's is great, but I think they could use a fattier cut of meat for a more luxurious mouthfeel. I also dig Izayoi's but it's much fattier (hence previous statement)

      The one @L'atelier du Joel Robuchon is outstanding too :)

    2. Professor Salt Jan 26, 2009 01:51 PM

      I agree with the Japanese version - look for buta no kakuni at your favorite izakaya. I frequent Honda Ya in Tustin, but Shin Sen Gumi in Fountain Valley is pretty dope too.

      Also have had a great version at Father's Office. It was a special on their menu the time I had it.

      The Mexican fried pork belly is pretty great when done well. Not so much when some hack is working the fryer. Fried with the skin on, it's called chicharron carnudo. I like the version at El Toro Bravo in Costa Mesa, or Taqueria El Chilito in Tustin.

      Father's Office
      1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

      Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen
      18315 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

      El Toro Bravo Tortilleria
      739 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

      Honda Ya Japanese Restaurant
      556 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

      El Chilito
      15852 Pasadena Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

      1. Das Ubergeek Jan 26, 2009 02:03 PM

        Pork belly barbecue at Ham Ji Park (and don't miss the pork neck and potato soup!!).

        Ham Ji Park
        4135 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        1. mollyomormon Jan 26, 2009 02:18 PM

          My votes are the pork belly at Animal (please, please don't take it off the menu) and the fried pork belly at Robata-ya.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mollyomormon
            Tinitime Jan 26, 2009 04:07 PM

            Agree, I thought the pork belly with kimchee at Animal was a revelation.

            1. re: Tinitime
              rednyellow Jan 26, 2009 06:15 PM

              I had the pork belly with kimchee sat night at Animal - AMAZING!

          2. a
            AquaW Jan 26, 2009 03:11 PM

            My most memorable pork belly dish right now is brunch at Joe's, pork belly confit with sunny side-up eggs, brioche toast, tomato-bacon jam and avocado mousse.

            However, I noticed that one brunch menu had this dish and another one that didn't so not sure if they're rotating it in or out. Best to call & check if you want to be sure.

            My Joe's blogpost: http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com/2008...

            1. a
              anvali Jan 26, 2009 03:48 PM

              I actually really enjoy the pork belly at Nook Bistro. It's not that the pork belly itself is that phenomenal, but the green tomatillo sauce that makes it special for me.

              1. David Kahn Jan 26, 2009 03:59 PM

                The two best I've had have been at Grace and Providence (of all places). I think it's on the regular menu at Grace, but maybe a special at Providence.

                Grace Restaurant
                7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                2 Replies
                1. re: David Kahn
                  ExtraCheesePlease Jan 26, 2009 04:17 PM

                  Grace does have an incredible pork belly dish. It was so rich and sinful that I can't ever finish all of it. Palate has an incredible sous vide pork belly dish as well. That portion is smaller so I could finish it.

                  1. re: ExtraCheesePlease
                    Nicole Jan 26, 2009 08:57 PM

                    Grace's pork belly is by far the best I've had. I do like the Japanese versions at Musha, Bincho, and other places but they did not compare to Grace.

                2. puppychao Jan 26, 2009 05:20 PM

                  My favorite Pork Belly dish would have to be Dongpo Rou. This is a classic Chinese braised pork belly dish. I've had at

                  Green Village
                  250 W. Valley Blvd (second floor), San Gabriel CA, (626) 576-2228

                  But I believe they also have it at Changs Garden in Arcadia.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: puppychao
                    Das Ubergeek Jan 26, 2009 07:18 PM

                    Green Village has been closed for months. Sorry. You can get dongpo rou at Giang Nan, though.

                    Giang Nan
                    306 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                      puppychao Jan 27, 2009 07:12 PM

                      Thanks for the update Das. I haven't been back there in a long while. I haven't tried the Dongpo Rou at Giang Nan, but the House Special Pork Knuckle there is pretty good.

                    2. re: puppychao
                      condiment Jan 26, 2009 07:44 PM

                      I do miss Green Village's, but the version at Chang's Garden is pretty great. Dong Ting, the Hunan restaurant in San Gabriel Square, has good steamed pork belly.

                      1. re: puppychao
                        ipsedixit Jan 26, 2009 08:49 PM

                        Try the Dongpo Ro at Ho Ho Kitchen in El Monte (10058 Valley Blvd.)

                        It almost makes you wonder if rice was invented just for this dish.

                        If I could be buried alive in one food item, this might just be it ...

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          mollyomormon Jan 27, 2009 11:24 AM

                          must try this. thanks for the rec!

                          1. re: mollyomormon
                            ipsedixit Jan 27, 2009 12:32 PM

                            Something to hold you over until you get out there to Ho Ho.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              mollyomormon Jan 27, 2009 12:39 PM

                              oh my. i think i'll be making it out there sooner rather than later.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                JAB Jan 27, 2009 03:52 PM

                                Over American broccoli?

                            2. re: ipsedixit
                              exilekiss Feb 7, 2009 07:21 AM

                              Hi ipsedixit,

                              Do you know if you have to special order the Dongpo Ro? I just went last night while visiting a friend in the SGV, and we couldn't find it on the menu. My friend then spoke to her in Mandarin to confirm and she said that they don't have it on the menu any more. :(

                          2. e
                            exilekiss Jan 26, 2009 07:50 PM

                            Hi hyacinthgirl,

                            I second the vote for Izakaya Bincho. Their Buta no Kakuni (Stewed Pork Belly) is amazing. :) You might also consider Shin Okinawa Izakaya's Rafutei (Okinawan version of the Stewed Pork Belly) in Torrance, CA.

                            1. j
                              jessejames Jan 26, 2009 08:37 PM

                              I like the crispy pork belly with chili garlic scallion at sapp's coffee shop on hollywood just west of normandie. very casual thai restaurant that serves nice thai iced coffee w shaved ice. super crispy almost pork rind in part, but meaty too and great sauce. not your average pork stirfry. very reasonable maybe 8 bucks, and other good stuff there.

                              1. ipsedixit Jan 26, 2009 08:49 PM

                                Honey Pig.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  ExtraCheesePlease Jan 30, 2009 12:13 PM

                                  Honey Pig does have good pork belly. It's all pork, all the time. So delicious.

                                2. m
                                  mminasian Jan 26, 2009 11:10 PM

                                  The PB at Gordon Ramsays was where I had the first epiphany.

                                  You MUST try it at:
                                  Mendocino Farms - Pork Belly Sandwich (Located in the Wells Fargo Tower) EPIC

                                  Daikokuya Ramen - They have a great pork belly bowl. The Gyoza are must have as well.

                                  I've been looking for more places that have it ever since! I will have to try some of these places mentioned.

                                  327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mminasian
                                    Thi N. Jan 30, 2009 12:02 PM

                                    My favorite places for this style of ramen - kyushu ramen, are:

                                    Daikokuya, as you mentioned.
                                    Santouka Ramen, in the Venice and the Torrance Mitsuwa Marketplaces.
                                    Hakata Ramen Shin-Sen Gumi.

                                    The popular favorite is Daikokuya, my favorite is Santouku for sheer porkiness. All have good porkbelly.

                                    Spicy pork ramen place Orochan - not a kyushu style place, a Tokyo-style ramen place - has really nice pork belly add-in, also.

                                  2. hyacinthgirl Jan 27, 2009 11:45 AM

                                    These responses are all Awesome!
                                    Thank you so much... I'm now thinking this won't just be a one night, but we're going to have to make the month of February "Pork Belly Month."
                                    First on the list, I'll be making a reservation at Animal!

                                    1. t
                                      The Wiz Jan 27, 2009 02:55 PM

                                      If you're in ever Studio City you should stop in at the Laurel Tavern and have a Craftsman brew and their pork belly skewers. Fantastic. Not a full meal, though, it's just a tease!

                                      Laurel Tavern
                                      11938 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                      1. s
                                        smssms Jan 27, 2009 03:11 PM

                                        try the tokio x pork belly at park's bbq in ktown. terrific.

                                        Park's BBQ
                                        955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: smssms
                                          noshie Jan 30, 2009 08:55 PM

                                          Bashan's pork belly is very good, and I note its on their Dine LA menu.

                                          3459 N Verdugo Rd, Glendale, CA 91208

                                          1. re: smssms
                                            hpsquared Feb 4, 2009 12:34 PM

                                            i will second that Park's BBQ rec. oh, is it good. also, i think the bbq at Park's is overall the best Korean bbq i've tried thus far in L.A. And definitely the best panchan I've extract ever had at *any* Korean restaurant in L.A. (Although, actually, I should make a disclaimer: the very first korean i tried was Yong Susan, in 2002, which usually gets high marks from hounds. But because it was my first experience, i actually remember little about it except that it was all new and strange to me.)

                                          2. peppermonkey Feb 2, 2009 10:35 AM

                                            I too have had a recent obsession with the belly. I almost have to order it everywhere that has it. I love the park's tokyo x if you really want to taste it in it's purest form. If you're gonna do it with kimchi, you might as well do it with real kimchi at Kobawoo not Animal. But the best one that I've had so far may have been the one you had at AOC.

                                            1. Yes Chef Feb 5, 2009 12:43 PM

                                              As far as Santouka goes, they have one killer shio ramen, that's for sure! I had always been a fan of shoyu ramen but never quite took to shio ramen much for some reason. I now believe that reason could be the fact that I hadn't had Santouka's.

                                              Topped with the most tender and fatty (which is a good thing) pieces of pork, this shio ramen is one delectable dish. The pork literally melts in your mouth along with the other morsels of goodness that bathe in the tasty soup. This place is great!

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