There was one occasion here in New Zealand where me and a friend of ours had some reminiscing stories to share as we both lived in Baguio, Philippines during the 90′s. The story revolved around Session Road, Tiongsan, Spirits, the cinema in Session road without aircon which we forgot the name and the countless street food and popular establishments you can find there. One thing I took note though was this Cathy’s Lechon Rice as I really need to post this one here at Ang Sarap, why? Because I really enjoyed it a lot when I was a university student as it was cheap, the serving size was hefty and it’s delicious, I remember we used to eat a lot in this establishment before and after a good lunch there is a guy nearby selling 1 peso shot of gin to warm you up.
The last time I tried Cathy’s lechon rice was more than 2 decades ago but I think I can still recreate this dish based on memory, all I remember is it is made out of a rice served with good amount of crispy pork alongside vegetables drenched in a thick brown savoury gravy. For those interested trying this one in Baguio then I am not sure if it is still in business and located at Diego Silang Street where jeepneys usually park but if not or you are far away from that pace I hope this recipe of mine would help.
Ingredients (Crispy Pork)
1 kg pork belly, whole
6 cups water
freshly ground black pepper
1 whole garlic
1 large white onion
oil for deep frying
Ingredients (Side Vegetables)
1 pack baby bok choy, roughly 10 bunches
1 carrot, sliced
5 cloves garlic
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp cornstarch
Method (Crispy Pork)
1. Combine all crispy pork ingredients in a large pot apart from the oil, bring it to a boil then simmer for 1 hour.
2. Drain reserving the liquid then place pork in a plate skin side up then pat it dry with a paper towel. Place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or until it cold.
3. Prepare a wok, add enough oil for deep frying and place it on high heat. Once oil is hot enough for deep frying get the pork from the fridge then place it carefully in the hot oil, this will spatter a lot so take care. Cook until the skin turns golden brown and crispy.
4. Remove from the wok then drain excess oil. Let it rest for 5 minutes before chopping into manageable pieces.
Method (Side Vegetables)
1. In a separate wok add oil used in deep frying then sauté garlic and onions.
2. Add baby bok choy and carrots then stir fry for a minute.
3. Add 1 cup of liquid from the reserved stock, thin with water if it’s salty. Bring to a boil.
4. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of stock then pour into the boiling vegetables, simmer until it thickens then turn heat off. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
1. Place 1 large cup of rice in a plate.
2. Pour sauce on the sides.
3. Put some vegetables on the side.
4. Place chopped pork on top, serve.