5.298 Braised Pork Belly with Taopok

Cycle 5 – Item 298

30 (Thu) October 2014

Braised Pork Belly with Taopok

3.5

at Tao Yuan

-Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines-

with colleagues

Try Every Item at Tao Yuan (14) (see also TEITY)

Eating my way through the restaurant’s entire menu, currently at 222 items.

Tasted 8 new items tonight, bringing the total to 64 items tasted thus far, 158 items remaining, averaging 4.6 items per visit, on pace to finish at TEITY 49.

Chicken Feet with Taosi (0.5): nibbled an itty bitty piece to make it count but that’s as much as I could handle.
Mixed Mushroom with Ox Tongue in XO Sauce (2.0): thankfully, the tongue was sliced so thin that it was indistinguishable from the mushrooms.

While I don’t have any dietary restrictions, I generally prefer to avoid any part of an animal on the outside (e.g., skin, ear, tongue, foot, penis, ball) or the inside (e.g., central organs).  The only exceptions would be oxtail in soup, lower intestine as sausage casing, upper intestine via barbecue.  Otherwise, I’ll stick with the nice and clean muscle tissue in between.

Scallop with Minced Vegetable Soup (2.0): green = spinach.
Sesame Ball with Bitter Melon (1.0): should be called “Bitter Melon Ball with Sesame.”
Happy Birthday Noodles (1.0): grainy noodles and quail eggs – I’ve never eaten a quail egg in my life, totally creeps me out.
Fried Rice with Salted Fish and Diced Chicken (1.0): not a fan of salted fish.

The occasion was lunch with staff to commemorate my position this week as the unit’s acting coordinator, which I’ve assumed by virtue of everyone above me being away on duty travel.

A win-win situation, as Filipinos tend to like outer/inner parts of animals, the opportunity allowed me to order dishes that I wouldn’t order for myself.

Curry Fish Head (0.5): supposed to be the showcase dish, but it took over an hour to arrive, by which point we were ready to leave and got it wrapped to go; it would’ve been the worst dish of the meal, way too oily/creamy from the coconut cream.

Taopok is a Singaporean dish.  Deep-fried, with soft wrinkly skin and spongy interior – similar to the tofu used to make Japanese inari sushi.  May be stuffed with additional ingredients or added on its own as a component to a stir-fry.

At Tao Yuan, the Braised Pork Belly with Taopok was excellent.  A harmonious trifecta of soft and squishy textures from the taopok, pork belly, and mushrooms.  Garlicky brown sauce, complemented by bright chunks of bell pepper.  A strong contender for the permanent rotation.

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

(See also RESTAURANTS IN PHILIPPINES)

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