Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The Black Pig Chase
Since the beginning of time, man has been tracking and hunting down animals for food. His hunger and the need for survival drives his forage into the forests. Fast forward to today, man still has this same instinct and drive but now does so with a twist. So after gathering information by sight, sound and maybe intuition, a few food bloggers tracked down the Black Pig trail and ended up in Tampopo. One pig-friendly (wo)man went after an eel.
At the basement of Liang Court, we laid an ambush and waited quietly. Then at the sight of the Black Pig, out flew nets, spears and cleavers. Squeals of joy filled the air as we tied the Black Pig to a pole and carried it to the fireplace to make Tonkatsu and Ramen Soup. Okay, so maybe the Tampopo staff did all that for us while we just sat our ass down on wooden seats. But other than that, service that day was not much to be desired.
It's not often that I go to Liang Court so I decided to try the rather famous Black Pig. I found the menu for Black Pig Tonkatsu a little confusing. Different cuts of the meat were used and each at a different price (totally understandable) but hardly any details were furnished. There was no description of any particular cut or what diners who opted for it could expect. For example, I found the $3 price difference between the 'Top Grade Loin Cutlet' and 'Loin Cutlet' difficult to justify. Asking two different staff at two different times about the difference between 'Top Grade Loin' and 'Normal Loin' was pointless, with answers that displayed lack of product knowledge and worse still, simply brushing us off with "I don't know."
Anyway, I opted for the Top Grade Loin Cutlet. How special was Black Pig? If there was a plate of normal Tonkatsu and Black Pig Tonkatsu in front of me, I wouldn't be able to tell too much of a difference. Distracting breadcrumbs and tempting sauces do not help. Maybe I should opt for other methods of cooking to allow the delicate flavours to emerge.
Here's a comparison of the Black Pig Cutlet ($24.50) and my Top Grade Loin Cutlet ($21). Confusing names now for two Black Pig dishes? The top piece was Top Grade Loin Cutlet and the right halve of the meat was white while the left halve was 'blackish'. The bottom piece, courtesy of Jasmine, was the more expensive Black Pig Cutlet. This seemed to consist only of the 'blackish-coloured' meat. Containing more fat streaks of fat, it was also more juicy and tender.
Do try some of the interesting sauces that are available. The sour plum sauce (left) gave an nice sourish edge to the Tonkatsu.
For desserts, we shared the Scooped Strawberry Shortcake. It was more cream than sponge but thankfully the cream tasted fresh and surprisingly light.
Looks like the year of the pig may usher in more pigging out and Black Pig adventures. But hopefully the service at Tampopo will be less boar-ish should I return.
Liang Court Shopping Centre (Next to Medi-Ya Supermarket)
Chew On This: Black Pig aka Kuro Buta aka Berkshire Pork is what Waygu is to beef. More fat marbling promises a more tender and flavourful pork. And no, the meat is not as black as the name suggests.