Filipinos share the love for the pig belly with the Americans. If the Americans love bacon to the max, Filipinos love belly pork in all forms. Yes, we are liempo-maniacs. Liempo is the Tagalog word for pork belly, the most used part of the pig in the Philippines. Be it a soup, stew, roast or even vegetable dish, the ingredient is always liempo. Such is the affliction of liempo-ma: death by pork rather than by chocolate. Pork is so delicious, fatty, addicting and bad for you that it's almost obscene to eat...and there lies its charms.
Liempo is fattier, more tender and sliced thinner back home. Simple seasonings and a quick stint on glowing charcoals is all it needs to transform it to the best dish you can ever eat.
The closest I can get to the same flavour is by using pork belly rashers. For grilling, I have to pre-cook it in the oven for a while to attain the necessary tenderness. This is as close as I can get to Filipino inihaw na liempo. A simple dipping sauce of vinegar with garlic and chilli is all that is needed to make it taste great with steamed rice. To die for.
1 kg. 1" thick belly ribs, skinned and cut in half (to about 4" in length)
1/2 c. cola
2 tbsps. brown sugar
3 tbsps. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
Marinate the belly ribs in a mixture of the rest of the ingredients. Leave to sit for at least an hour.
Transfer the ribs, including the marinade, to a baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake in a pre heated oven 350° F/180° C for 1 hour.
Pre-heat the barbecue. Grill the belly rashers for 10 minutes on each side, brushing with the drippings occasionally.
Chop into 1/2" thick pieces before serving.
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