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Where to buy pork belly?

jamesm Jul 10, 2010 05:47 AM

Is there a place that reliably carries pork belly without pre-ordering? I tried every vendor at St.Lawrence but only had luck at the farmers market. I'm sure T&T does but is there something closer to the parkdale area?


  1. k
    KitchenVoodoo Jul 12, 2010 04:21 PM

    I'm curious - why is it so difficult to get at places like SLM? It seems to be on every restaurant menu these days and so yummy, I was thinking of cooking it at home, but had no idea it would be a challenge to find. What's the problem? I wonder if Cumbraes has it...

    1636 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

    8 Replies
    1. re: KitchenVoodoo
      jayt90 Jul 12, 2010 04:40 PM

      It's in every Asian market and the quality is good because of fast turnover and picky customers. T&T would be a good introduction. I get mine at Soon Lee and have never been disappointed.

      Soon Lee
      629 Markham Rd, Toronto, ON M1J, CA

      1. re: jayt90
        Bibingka Jul 12, 2010 11:52 PM

        Try Medium Rare at Kipling and Dundas

        Medium Rare
        5241 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M9B, CA

      2. re: KitchenVoodoo
        Herb Jul 15, 2010 08:34 AM

        Until quite recently, it was considered poor people food.

        1. re: Herb
          Kagemusha Jul 15, 2010 11:07 AM

          Exactly, Herb. Pork belly is prole food--hence the old expression "eating high off the hog" to signify improved circumstances. I'm baffled by the desire for Berkshire/Tamworth bellies from the meat boutiques--kinda like wanting Wagyu oxtails. I only buy 'em during the winter months for old school Red Cooked Pork.

          1. re: Kagemusha
            grandgourmand Jul 15, 2010 11:27 AM

            If you're curing your own pancetta, the high fat content of berkshire/tamworth bellies is very desirable. I've done with T&T bellies as well as a 3/4 Berkshire breed belly, and the higher fat content makes for a superior end product, in my view. Flavour-wise, I didn't notice a huge different...but the amount of fat is greater, which makes for richer sauces if that's what you're using it for. Bacon, on the other hand, I prefer a leaner belly. All that said, I wouldn't paid Healthy Butcher's silly prices, rather I'd contact the producers directly and see what I could score. In this case, I believe HB uses Perth Pork products.

            As far as SLM and the lack of bellies, that's just a reflection of the overall lack of meat selection in that market. It's focused on tourists and fair weather cooks who buy boneless skinless chicken breasts and prime cuts of beef or pork. I have noticed a difference in the past few years, though, with a few vendors starting to sell more interesting cuts (tri-tips, skirt steaks, etc.).

            My SLM comment is for the South market only. The north market, there are a couple pork vendors who carry the bellies and, for pork at least, any cut or offal you want.

            The Healthy Butcher
            565 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

            1. re: grandgourmand
              aser Jul 16, 2010 11:24 PM

              Right, Perth Pork services a lot of restaurants and shops, you just have to know to avoid the high markup you mentioned. Plus buy a whole slab and trim yourself. As always you put in a little work, you reap the savings. That said, there are people willing to pay the mark up for the convenience of single sized servings.

              Other wholesalers popular in Ontario are....




              Cumbrae's wholesale pricing is also far cheaper, but again you gotta trim yourself.

            2. re: Kagemusha
              FrankD Jul 15, 2010 02:06 PM

              Mmmm.. red cooked pork! How come it's never offered at any Chinese spot?

              1. re: FrankD
                Kagemusha Jul 15, 2010 03:31 PM

                Here's a start on a DIY recipe. I've hacked this one quite a bit and think it's best after a long, slow braise--a friend's Shanghai-born grandmother does it that way. House smells great on a cold January night with a pot of it slowly bubbling in the oven.


        2. d
          detritus Jul 11, 2010 11:17 AM

          The Dundas/Lansdowne No Frills almost always has it in the butcher counter. I've generally been pretty happy with their pork (with grocery-chain-pork expectations).

          2 Replies
          1. re: detritus
            jamesm Jul 12, 2010 05:57 AM

            Thanks for the responses --- No Frills does reliably carry them and The Healthy Butcher does custom orders so I've placed one with them. European Meats and Sanagan's were also options.

            The Healthy Butcher
            565 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

            1. re: jamesm
              schwartz1975 Jul 15, 2010 08:22 AM

              The Healthy Butcher`s pork is awesome... berkshire and tamworth, and they also have a crossbred of both of these breeds with wild boar. I smoke their bellies and shoulders all the time. If you ask whoever is in charge for a discount they usually will discount it a bit since the price of a whole belly or shoulder is fairly expensive and it is a large order.

              The Healthy Butcher
              565 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

          2. ekim256 Jul 11, 2010 09:09 AM

            I bet Koreatown's PAT Supermarket carries it - it's summer and k-bbq time! :)

            1. l
              LJS2 Jul 11, 2010 08:31 AM

              Starsky on Dundas Street Mississauga always has them.

              2040 Dundas St E, Mississauga, ON L4X, CA

              1. jayt90 Jul 10, 2010 08:55 AM

                You could also look for it at the Portuguese butchers on Dundas, east of Dufferein.

                1. Herb Jul 10, 2010 06:04 AM

                  Chinatown, but its not going to be Berkshire quality. Nolho Tasso? Green Barn? Fiesta Farms?

                  Fiesta Farms
                  200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Herb
                    Herb Jul 10, 2010 06:08 AM

                    And you might try the No Frills on Lansdowne. Great meat dept!

                    1. re: Herb
                      jamesm Jul 10, 2010 06:45 AM

                      Excellent, thanks. I totally blanked on no Frills. Thanks very much!

                      1. re: jamesm
                        wontonfm Jul 10, 2010 02:52 PM

                        I usually end up buying it from a No Frills with a butcher counter in it.


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