Lechon Kawali (fried pork belly)

Lechon Kawali (fried pork belly)

Lechon Kawali is definitely in my top 10 for favorite Filipino foods.

1. It is pork belly
2. It is fried
3. It is crispy.
4. See # 1

What more could you ask for?

Pork belly is most widely used as bacon but is used quite often in Asian cuisines on dishes meant for any time of the day. In our household, we eat it stewed, slow-cooked, grilled, fried, or in soups. We cook Lechon Kawali maybe once every 3 months and consider this a cheat meal. Served with white rice, and liver sauce dip (Mang Tomas liver spread). Another favorite dip is vinegar with finely chopped garlic. Try it, it is yummy!


2 lbs of pork belly


3 cloves of garlic

3 tbsp fish sauce

1 bay leaf

2 tsp of peppercorn

2 tsp five spice

oil for deep frying

Clean pork belly.  Place the meat in the pot together with garlic, fish sauce, bay leaf and peppercorn. Cover the meat with water. The meat must be fully submerged in water. Bring to a boil over high heat. And lower the heat to low. Let it simmer for about an hour or until tender. Strain the meat and place them on a tray, skin side up. Using a fork, poke the whole surface of the skin repeatedly to let release oil and make the skin very crispy during frying. Sprinkle the five spice on the skin and spread. I cut the meat into smaller pieces, for easier cooking. Let it air in room temperature for at least 2 hours. Preheat oil to 375 deg f.  Slowly place the meat into the pan.  (Please be careful in frying pork belly. It splatters and oil may overflow the pan. I recommend using a deep fryer with a lid and vent to release steam. If you don’t have deep fryer, use a tall wide pan with the oil not more than a quarter of the pan.)  Cook it for about 8-10 mins. Until crispy. Serve with rice.




Thai steak salad

Thai steak salad

I love Thai food, and one of the things that makes its taste distinct is the flavor of fish sauce. Fish sauce is widely used in Asian cuisine, and it is one of my favorite seasonings. Some people may find the smell offensive, but I think it can make anything taste good. Another element I love about Thai cuisine is the heat and spice in the dishes. This recipe is a keeper for the household – I drew inspiration from Chrissy Teigen’s mom’s yum nua (beef salad), and added some elements to make it more to my family’s liking. You can use any steak cut you prefer, but I made mine with ribeye, because who doesn’t love fatty steak cuts? For the greens I used a spring mix, but you can substitute with romaine, iceberg, or Boston lettuce. For an extra kick, add grilled jalapeños, charred but still with some crunch in it. I hope you enjoy!

Makes 2-4 salads

1 inch thick slice of ribeye in room temperature

2 tsp olive oil

4 small radishes, cleaned, and thinly sliced

1/4 c of cilantro leaves only

1/2 red onion, sliced into strips

2 jalapeños

2 tomatoes, sliced

For the dressing:

zest and juice of a lime

3 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp palm or coconut sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp sambal oelek

1 tsp rice vinegar

thai chili powder or flakes

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing. Adjust the taste using fish sauce and red pepper flakes and set aside to allow the flavors to settle.

Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Generously season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron grill on high. Add olive oil. When the pan is smoking hot, place the steak and cook it for 4 mins.Flip once and cook it for 3 mins more. Place the steak on a baking tray, and into a pre-heated oven. Bake until your desired doneness*.

Quickly grill the jalapeños in the cast iron pan (about 2-3 mins) and set aside. Meanwhile, add the radish into the dressing to marinate.

When the steak is at your desired doneness, remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for ~10 mins. Then cut into thin slices.

Marinate the steak slices and onions in the dressing. Cut the jalapeños into thin slices. Combine all the ingredients onto a plate and serve with lime wedge.

*I prefer medium rare about 130-135 deg internal temperature. I cooked mine for 8 mins.