We’re eating: Chicarrón / Pork Rind / Fried Lard Bits (猪油 / 猪油渣)

What makes Char Kway Teow glistening smooth?
What makes Kuala Lumpur’s Hokkien Mee irresistibly fragrant?
What makes an exceptional Bak Chor Mee stand out from a mere good one?

It is… (I don’t want to break your hearts but I have to say it)… Lard. I know the health-conscious readers are probably going to skip this post right away, but hold on – Lard isn’t all that bad. It surely isn’t an angel, but it’s not a devil either. In fact, lard lends an unforgettable and distinctive flavour to many dishes unbeknownst to most people. The silky smooth hot soup in a basket Xiao Long Bao probably contains more lard than a big bowl of Bak Chor Mee.

This is Part III of our special Chai Tao Kway Week at TummyTroll, and one might wonder if this is even necessary – Do we really see lard in our Chai Tao Kway? The answer is yes, as it used to be prepared with lard, but more hawkers have opted for vegetable oil since then for health concerns. Lard is hardly used these days, but we have included it nonetheless! Enjoy :)

And so, I was rendering some lard from a thick portion of loin fat that I’d cut out from some chops previously. And I just couldn’t resist frying the lard into crispy little bits (or pork rind as they are commonly known, or Chicarróns to our Spanish readers)

From a creamy skin-coloured shade…

Into crackling golden bits of porky goodness, a great throw-in for Chinese stir-fries. Most importantly, a taste of home for me… Everyone in my family is such a great fan of pork rind. Guess that explains why we’re all a little on the rotund end, for the lack of a better explanation.
Note: For some real advice on how to render lard from pork skin/fat, head on here http://eatthebestfoodintheworld.com/2011/07/22/rendering-lard-or-making-chicharones/
Posted by #phangchewfat 
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