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Where can I buy pork belly in SF?

We're here for a week and always try to pick up food things that we can't get easily at Lake Tahoe where we live. I've not cooked pork belly yet but certainly enjoy eating it. I know the Manhattan board talks about buying it in Chinatown. Does anyone have sources for it? Is there any reason I can't separate it into small portions and freeze? Thanks all.

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  1. One convenient place is Nijiya in Japantown. I saw some nice pork belly at the San Mateo branch yesterday.

    Nijiya Market
    1737 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115

    1. Pork belly freezes quite well. You can find it at any butcher in Chinatown, for such a low price you won't care if you don't quite get it right the first time.

      If you want a high quality or smaller portion you can go to Nijiya or one of the fancier butchers (Golden Gate Meat Company, Drewe's Bros). I'm 99% sure they all carry it. Even Molly Stones and Whole Foods probably do.

      1. Any Mexican or Asian meat market. Lucky Pork in the Mission.

        Lucky Pork Store
        2659 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

        1. I buy it frequently in Oakland Chinatown. It's inexpensive - I think in the $2/lb range (perhaps cheaper). At the market where I mainly shop for staples (Orient mkt on 7th) they have all the meats packaged in typical supermarket style - it is labeled "side pork". It has no seasoning or anything - it's just another pack of pink meat.

          Note that there is a completely separate product, prepared pork belly, sold in packages of a couple of strips. It is marinated, but still requires cooking. I usually find it near the Chinese sausage, selling for $5-8/lb.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tom Simonson

            Side pork is a similar cut. Slightly leaner.

          2. I'm sure you can get it from Avedano's who'll source it locally. Call ahead since it might be a special order item.

            235 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. We had lunch in North Beach and wound up stopping in Little City Market at 1400 Stockton. All they had was in lardo form but he special ordered it for me. I'm getting 10# at $3/#. Also getting duck fat and sweetbreads. Makes me hungry just thinking about it. I'm definitely going to try to make Momofuku's pork buns. Mmmm.

              1 Reply
              1. re: c oliver

                Little City Market

                Little City Market
                1400 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

              2. Walking two blocks further to the other side of Broadway along Stockton Street, you'd find at least 10 chinese butcher counters that break down whole pigs every morning. Pork belly cuts are less than $2/lb, and the pigs come from Manteca/Stockton area typically. Actually across the street from Little City, there's a butcher counter in the Chinese grocery store, I believe.

                I go in the morning when the pigs haven't been completely butchered into final cuts for the case. Then you can have your pick of the cuts and look at them carefully when it's not so busy. I've bought a whole side of belly, weighed about 9 lbs., but later in the day it would have already been cut into smaller portions. You can tell the butcher whether you want the rib ends and/or the skin on or off.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  We're getting skin on. I've already marked this thread for future trips. 10# will probably last a while but you can never have too much, can you??? When you freeze it, what size portions do you usually do? Thanks.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I haven't frozen pork belly, as it's so readily available fresh in whatever size i want for the occasion.

                    Here's a photo of the porchetta I made with that big piece. Served 10 people.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Alan Barnes is sitting here with me and his direct quote is "I want to marry her." That picture made us drool. Any cooking tips would be very, very appreciated. Wow.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Just today I looked at Pork Belly at 99 Ranch, Golden Gate and Prather.
                        Opted to get the the Golden Gate piece. There seemed to have a better meat to fat ratio than 99 Ranch. But 99 Ranch was waaaay cheaper.

                        1. re: mendogurl

                          It depends on what part of the belly you buy. Each market pig has about 20 lbs, so you can decide whether you want more fat or less, depending on which end you choose.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Thanks for that.

                            We picked up the 10# piece this morning. Also got some cotichhino (?sp), duck fat, sausage casings and sweetbreads. And the super nice owner taught me how to make pancetta with, say, half the pork belly. Father and son and they couldn't be nicer. As a beginning pork belly person :) not having a language barrier was a great benefit at least this time around. Looking forward to getting back to Lake Tahoe and doing a bunch of cooking. Mmmm.

                      2. re: c oliver

                        I usually freeze in 3-4 lb portions. Usually more than enough for a dish or two. Wrap tightly as fat and freezer burn aren't friends.