Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Nov 4, 2011 03:32 PM

Where to buy pork fat in NYC?

I have a recipe that calls for some pork fat. I was wondering if anyone knew where I could purchase a small quantity of pork fat. I don't know if it's possible, though it is NY and I would like to believe it is. I don't know if I should just buy a pork chop and cut off the amount of pork fat I need. Any suggestions for places to go and score some pork fat?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. In your definition, do you mean lard or do you mean leaf lard. What are you using lard for? For baking, it is said best to use leaf lard. You can usually find lard in local farmer markets. You can also buy online -- more expensive.

      I have went to butcher shop and ask them sell me those left over trimmer fat.

      Now, depending what you want the lard for (what recipe), you may or may not want to just cut off pork fat from meat.

      6 Replies
        1. re: lulumoolah

          I make dim sum too for fun too. What kind of dumplings? :)

          Anyway, here it is. If you are going to use it for say cookie, pie crust ...etc, then I would lean toward using leaf lard. To quote wikipedia:

          "The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from the "flare" visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin. Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in baked goods, where it is valued for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts"

          You won't want a chocolate chip cookie which taste like pork meat and possibility pork blood, right? :)

          Now, if you are going to use lard for cooking or for making the filling for meat dumpling, then it probably does not matter as much, since the final foods have a lot of meat taste, so you can use lard from other areas or cut off pork fat on your own.

          I suggest you go to a local farmer market to look for leaf lard or buy it online. I once bought packages from Flying Pig. Not cheap, but it is an option.

          Finally, as mentioned before, you can always go to a butcher shop and ask for the pig lard or possibility the trimmed off meat (with a lot of fat). I did that once, but there are some work to it, and you have to render the fat.

          Oh, one more option, which I personally have not tried. You can always resort to armour lards. They are not pure lard. It is partial lard and partial hydrogenated lard and other additives.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I'm preparing to enter pastry baking and leaf -lard and I are having to get to know each other (ie, I don't know my ass from my elbow, and am intimidated). I don't know who have to [insert any act here] to get leaf-lard in this town, but I'm certainly coming up empty. Flying Pigs (who I talked to at Union Square green market) has none for the next five weeks. I can get a lbs of pig skin at Faicco's--their minimum order, which will keep me in stews until 2030--but no fat. Ditto Otamenelli's, both clans.

            Ditto suet. I asked in another thread, but came up empty, about the taste/results of using cow kidney fat. I'll throw that on the table here.

            And, the differences in using shortening, as long as I'm here. Julia Child says use vegetable shortening and leaves it at that. I bought some vegan shortening at Whole Foods, which needs to be refrigerated; I wonder what that implies relative to Crisco, et al. I haven't used anything yet....

            My sense, and what I've read is the supermarket packaged lard--I've only seen the ones marked in larger letters the Spanish word for it, manteca, is nasty, with the hydrogenation and other additives, not to speak of it being lard from who knows where on the pig.

            So, back to the main topic: are there any outer-borough places for good lard or suet (?) nowadays?

            PS. I've seen headlines about some sort of bacon shortage...? Could the lack of good lard be related?


            1. re: rbraham

              Just found this, leaf lard:

              $16 / 1.5 lb
              $56 / 4.0 lb
              But, add $10 for smallest shipping box, which holds up to 8 lb. Oy.

              1. re: rbraham

                Not in the outer boroughs, but you might try calling Harlem Shambles:

                I think, but am not positive, I've seen lard there.

                (If you do go, get one of their Cornish pasties. The pastry is a bit undersalted, but otherwise they're really delicious)

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I would just go to a Latin Supermarket ( there are many in Inwood) and buy some Manteca, its lard with some preservative, but it is pork fat and meant to cook with. You can get pork belly and just render the fat off of it. but the Manteca will be much easier and taste as good.

          2. The East Village Meat Market on 9th and 2nd has it prepackaged and labeled as "schmaltz" (which I found pretty amusing).

            East Village Meat Market
            139 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

            2 Replies
            1. re: lucyj

              Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat, used like butter, or added to chopped chicken livers.

              1. re: JMF

                Oh, I'd just read and assumed OP meant rendered, whoops

            2. Do you mean rendered pig fat? Or just fresh fat:? Any Asian market will have fresh pig fat.

              20 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  For shrimp dumplings for start. I actually have no idea. I've come across pig fat as the ingredient in some of the dim sum dumplings recipes, but I actually have no clue what the heck they mean for sure. I know for mandoo, my family sometimes use minced pork w/ plenty of fat attached. Somehow I don't I could do that for these dumplings. Also, given that it'll be my first time, I want to adhere to the recipes as close as possible.

                  1. re: lulumoolah

                    Ok, so you are not entirely sure if it is rendered fat or unrendered fat, right?

                    Shrimp dumpling is tough. The filling is easy, but it is very tough to get the skin right. I am still working on mine.

                    Anyway, I am pretty sure we are talking about the fat for the dumpling skin/shell. Because we are talking about the fat for the dumpling skin, I am 100% sure we are talking about rendered fat. Even if we are talking about fillings, there is a high chance that we are also talking about rendered fat.

                    So when you go out, either (a) buy rendered fat, or (b) buy unrendered fat and render the fat on your own. In case, you have not done this, just google rendering lard, and you will see the instruction.

                    If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.


                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Actually, the pork fat is for the filling which is why I thought it might be along the line of what my family does when we make mandoo with a little ground pork. But then again, I'm not absolutely sure.

                      1. re: lulumoolah

                        I just googled a bunch of Chinese shrimp dumpling recipe resources, the consensus seems to be that for the filling, you use pork fat / fatty pork, while for the skin, you use lard.

                        So, I think your answer is unrendered pork fat. I'd ask for pork fat from a butcher, then do whatever you need to it per the recipe.

                        1. re: Cheeryvisage

                          "you use pork fat / fatty pork"

                          Pork fat, sure, but I cannot imagine using fatty pork (that is pork meat with good amount of fat) for shrimp dumplings. I have never had shrimp dumplings with other meats in them.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            You're right, it was more of a translation error on my part. That recipe ( said 肥猪肉 and when I read the instructions further, it was clear it meant (unrendered) pork fat.

                            1. re: Cheeryvisage


                              Actually, I am the one who is wrong. That recipe did write "肥猪肉", which really refers to fatty pork (pork meat with a lot of fat). Hmm, interesting recipes which call for using pork. In fact that much pork too. 500 g of shrimp vs 180 g of fatty pork.

                              It couldn't possibly be lard, because a mistranslation or typo won't explain it.

                              180 g of pure lard is A LOT. Can you imagine eating 500 g of shrimp along with 180 g of pure oil/fat? So it has to be fatty pork. Man, it is just that I have never had shrimp dumplings with pork in them.... especially not that much. A 2-to-5 ratio. A lot.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I think there's a bit of gray area when you consider what 肥肉 is and what the ratio of fat to lean meat should be. It can be anywhere from very little lean meat (almost pure pork fat) to simply lean meat with a lot of fat (fatty pork). I wish that recipe has a picture of the pork fat / fatty pork, so it's clearer which it meant.

                                Anyway, that recipe is the only one where there's some ambiguity. The others I googled were all fairly clear that the filling used pork fat.

                                1. re: Cheeryvisage

                                  :) Yes, you are correct there is no exact fat ratio of 肥肉. However, this is exactly why I am baffled. Because it won't make much sense to me no matter that ratio will be. The problem I have is the following:

                                  1) The more meat this fatty meat has, then the less this recipe resembles the shrimp dumplings I know. There will be a lot of pork meat.

                                  2) The more fat this fatty meat has, then the less likely the recipe is even edible. Can you imagine 180 gram of fat mix with only 500 g of shrimp? Even if we are talking about 90 g of oil is a lot. No, no, even 45 g of oil is a lot. I can imagine maybe 1 tablespoon of oil at most 2 tablespoons, and 1 tablespoon of oil weighs about 13-14 gram.

                                  Anyway, I think we have ventured outside of the original poster's question. Nevertheless, you can imagine why I am confused by that recipe.

                        2. re: lulumoolah

                          Ok, your recipe is different than my recipe for shrimp dumplings....

                          May I ask if the recipe is written in Chinese or English? Or whatever language it may be.

                          If it actually say "pork fat" in English, then it is unrendered lard. If it just say "Lard", then usually it means the rendered lard.

                          If it is written in Chinese, then 豬油 means rendered lard, and 豬肥 or 豬脂 means unrendered lard.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            So this is the recipe I was planning to use. Should I use rendered or unrendered pork fat?


                            1. re: lulumoolah

                              ".......2 tbsp of minced pork fat......"

                              That is unrendered pork fat. Since there is nothing to "minced" if it is rendered pork fat.

                              "...1 tbsp of lard..."

                              That part is rendered lard.

                              In short, your recipe asks for both.

                              Can you get hold of wheat starch? Some people have trouble finding it. Most Asian/Chinese supermarkets should carry it.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I'm hoping that Hong Kong Supermarket sells the wheat starch. As for the lard in the dough, I was thinking about using oil since the recipe cited it as an acceptable substitution. Unless you think it's better to use lard. It'll be my first time making this and I'm not familiar at all with any Chinese cooking.

                                Hong Kong Supermarket
                                157 Hester St, New York, NY 10013

                                1. re: lulumoolah

                                  It most likely does. If not, try the newly opened New York Mart near by. It's like a block or less away.

                                  New York Mart
                                  128 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                                  1. re: lulumoolah

                                    I have never been there, so I cannot be sure. Most likely it should, as long as it is a full size Asian supermarket. Put it this way, I have not been to a single Asian supermarket which does not carry wheat starch. You have to look for it. You may not have the brand you want, but it is very likely that it will carry at least one brand.

                                    You probably have to ask them in Chinese. Print out the following Chinese characters if you cannot speak or write Chinese.

                                    It is known as 澄粉 or 澄麵粉


                                    Good luck

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Thanks! I definitely will print it out. If all else fails, I'll try and drag one of my Chinese friends along.

                                      1. re: lulumoolah

                                        Good luck. I had tried making the shrimp dumplings twice, but both times the skin come out on the dried and tougher side, not the soft and slightly chewy texture I had from the Dim Sum restaurants.

                                        Mine actually LOOK fine, but does not taste nearly as good. So if yours shrimp dumplings work out, let me know and I will try that recipe you have posted.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Will do, though I don't know when I'll be able to tackle the recipes. Probably not until mid-December. But I'll be sure to let you know what worked and what didn't work.

                  2. I'm assuming it's unrendered pork fat based on the recipe.