Pork skin noodles – making noodles out of pig skin

uncooked pig noodles

This is not your usual noodle dish. The noodles are made of pig skin. It’s not pork noodles – it’s pig skin noodles! The noodle is not the carbohydrate in this dish – it’s the protein! I first came across this in an episode of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods America. I did a quick search for the restaurant that serves this and came across a blog post that describes exactly how to make pig noodles out of pig skin.

making pig noodles

I had to source for the pig skin – most butchers don’t sell pig skin. It’s either discarded or meant to be sold with the cut of meat. However, I went to Sanbanto – an organic farm-to-table butcher cum restaurant and made my unusual request.

pig skin softening

The clerk was puzzled for a second while processing what I really wanted and took a bag from under the counter. She gave it to me free of charge. I wonder why it was bagged like that in the first place but it didn’t register right then coz I got into a conversation of what I wanted to do with the pig skin – to make noodles!

pork belly skin

The pig skin I got is from the belly (as can be seen from the teats) and I tried slicing it but the skin proved to be way too tough for any of my knives so I decided to wait until I’ve finished it. I wanted to make pig skin noodle ramen like the post I read in From Belly to Bacon – but with a different twist. I’ll do a two animal broth!

chicken carcass pork bone

You will need:

  • Pig skin (find sheets so it’s easier to cut strips of noodles)
  • Pork bone for soup
  • Chicken carcass
  • Edible flowers

chicken pork stock

I used a chicken carcass and a large pig bone for soups in my cooker. There are ramen places like Santouka Ramen that’s famous for their chicken broth and other Japanese ones who use the traditional pork broth. I wanted a combination of both.

pig skin sheets

The rice cooker was filled up to 1.8 litres of water, after the displacement made by the chicken carcass and pig bone. I also threw in the pig skin so it’ll be easier to cut once it’s tender and cooked.

making pig skin noodles

I took:

  • 14 hours
  • 4 litres of water
  • 4 refills

stirring stock

to boil the ramen stock. It was an overnight event with alarms set to refill the cooker.

boiling stock

However, I made a *very big mistake* – I left the pig skin in too long. I should have taken it out at the 2 hour point and cut strips out of it. I left it in for the entire 14 hour duration and it was a soggy mess when I attempted to slice it into strips of noodles.

pig-skin

It was quite a feat since everything in the cooker was pulverized and reduced into a very yummy and gelatinous goo. I did manage to slice it and poured the broth (it’s way thicker than what you’ll associate with this word) over it for a bowl of ramen.

refill broth

This is my first attempt. I would like to do two things differently next time:

  1. Take the pig skin out after 3 minutes of boiling to cut into strips of pig noodles
  2. Freeze and strain the gelatinous broth through muslin cloth to create consomme – a very clear broth – to highlight the pig noodles better

reduced broth

The end result after 14 hours of boiling – very hearty and thick semi-liquid with a consistency more like lard than water. We both liked a small bowl but eating more than that would be quite a challenge due to the heavy stock.

slicing pig skin

This is quite soggy but ideally the pig skin should just be soft enough to slice though…

sliced pig noodles

…and retain a very al dente texture!

pig noodles carb

My better half managed to eat her bowl though. I did hers with some rice vermicelli to provide some carbohydrates – the pig skin noodle is the protein in this dish!

pig skin noodle ramen

The stock is simply poured out after layering the pig skin noodles in a bowl. I also did some decorating with edible flowers – not just for aesthetics but to provide a refreshing crunch and a (semi) balanced meal. smirk

pig skin noodles

Mine was a pure pork skin noodle made out of pig skin ramen with broth from the chicken and swine stock. It was a fun and interesting cooking experiment that I’ll like to try again with consomme and a quail egg! :)

8 delicious (and strange) food at Phuket Town Night Market

1. Sunny side up quail eggs

fried quail eggs

This is a whole lotta cholesterol in a package but it’s delicious! Perfectly fried quail eggs sold in a packet containing nine (9) sunny side up eggs with a toothpick. You can opt for a dash of pepper and soy sauce and it’s absolutely delicious! The feeling of slipping 9 eggs into your mouth for just THB 20 (about RM 2) is awesome! :)

quail eggs

You can opt for the soft boiled version with a packet of soy sauce too – just crack all the eggs into the bowl and enjoy!

2. Pork floss (jerky) with sticky rice

pork floss rice

This is also THB 20 and consists of two types – a tough jerky type pork floss and strips of marinated BBQ pork. I went for the latter and was very satisfied with the bed of fiber rich sticky rice!

thai pork satay

Watch out for the famous Thai satay too – it’s a piece of marinated BBQ pork on a stick for THB 10 and it’s the most tender and juicy pork you’ll ever eat!

3. Bananas dipped in chocolate

chocolate banana

There are several versions of this THB 20 dessert on a stick. The plain version is just a peeled banana on a skewer that has been dipped in chocolate. There’s also sliced and re-skewered bananas, which is the one I got – it’s been sprinkled with hundreds and thousands colored sprinkles and absolutely tasty in the hot muggy night market.

4. Deep fried insects

deep fried insects

The night market also has deep fried insects and quite a wide variety of them too. The lady will ask you to “contribute” to the photography tip jar if you take a photo without purchasing anything. I didn’t coz I didn’t like her tone. ;) I just had the same ones in Bangkok. I ate deep fried grasshoppers and other insects just two weeks ago.

5. Salt grilled fish

salt grilled fish

This is a Thailand speciality and it’s an entire fish that has been liberally packed with coarse salt and then grilled over a charcoal fire. It’s surprisingly cheap for an entire fish and you’re meant to eat the inside of the fish e.g. the salt covered outer skin is discarded.

6. Thailand orange juice

thai orange juice

You MUST try this when you’re in Thailand – it’s the local orange, squeezed into a bottle and it’s fabulous! I had the ice blended version for THB 40 and it came in a thong like plastic bag. Thirst quenching stuff – walking around the night market in the hot weather armed with this makes it a more pleasant trip!

7. Agar fruits with mung bean filling

agar fruits

This is an interesting snack – it is a mung bean dessert that’s been shaped to look like various fruits and then coated with agar agar (a Jello like substance). I was surprised when I popped one into my mouth coz I thought it was fruit! It goes for THB 40 for a packet containing every type of “fruit” they have – from grapes to guava.

8. Tiny pineapples

mini pineapple

OMG! This is the best find I had in the Phuket Town Night Market. The mini pineapples are much smaller than your fist and intensely *sweet and juicy*!

tiny pineapple

I bought one (it’s sold by weight – mine was about THB 25) and they cut it into four segments for your enjoyment. I can’t believe there’s such tiny, yet fully formed pineapples out there! It’s marvelous! :)

Eating Fried Insects in Bangkok: Beetles, grasshoppers, frogs, crickets, worms, red ants!

fried insects

It’s a veritable feast of creepy crawlies! The first thing I think of when I see, say, a spider, is to throw a shoe at it. The Thais go about it in a completely different way. The immediate thought seems to be “I’ll fry and eat it!”. smirk

fried insect stall

I found this street vendor selling all sorts of deep fried insects on the streets of Bangkok. Okay, frog is not actually an insect but she also had grasshoppers (huge and small ones), crickets (not the sport), beetles (which I am secretly scared of) and even red ants! Deep fried red ants! Imagine that!

deep fried insects

I bought a pack of large grasshoppers for 20 THB and a mixed bag of every single insect she had for 30 THB (RM 5 total). The street vendor laughed and complied with my request – a deep fried cricket here, a sprinkling of deep fried red ants there. There’s even two types of beetles (water beetle and weevil). It’s supposed to be a delicacy here.

fried bugs thailand

I ate it sitting on the steps where my girlfriend took this video of me eating all the deep fried insects:

I also made her eat some, much to her disgust, but at least now she’s tried it. :)

I’ll give a quick review of the insects:

fried grasshopper

Deep fried grasshopper
Surprisingly crunchy and delicious but the legs can have spines that can cut your tongue.
Deep fried frog
These are tiny frogs that can fit in my hand. They don’t even remove the bowels! Tasty and crunchy.
Deep fried beetle
The wings can be hard to swallow coz it sticks to the top of your mouth like peanut butter.
Deep fried cricket
Tastes like grasshoppers but has more of a bee-like texture to it.
Deep fried bamboo worms
Tasty and creamy!
Deep fried red ants
Highly toxic when consumed in large quantities. It makes my mouth itch just thinking about it.

eating insects bangkok

I’m not a huge fan of deep fried red ants – it’s hard to pick up (they’re tiny) and I find their venom to be a bit hard to take. It actually made me sick!

snacks insects bangkok

I was feeling slightly unwell after eating all these, she thinks it might be coz of the fried grasshoppers, I thought it was the toxin from the deep fried red ants. It’s an interesting experience nonetheless! :)

Posted: 10:30 am Bangkok time (GMT +7)

Braised pigeon, roasted meat (siu mei) and waxed meat (lap mei) in Hong Kong

hong kong siu mei

Siu mei shops can be found all over Hong Kong. These places specialize in Cantonese-style roasted meat – they have everything from plain steamed chicken to roasted goose. They also serve up a gamut of pork dishes – I’ve even seen an entire pig being displayed at one of these restaurants.

roasted meat hong kong

It was a rainy night when we stumbled upon one of the best siew mei (roasted meat) places in Hong Kong. We weren’t really hungry, we just wanted a place to sit down.

eating pigeon

We had spent the best part of the night browsing at Temple Street and I noticed this hole-in-the-wall place which is dirty, slightly dodgy, very loud, and thronged by locals.

lap mei

It serves waxed meat (lap mei) as well! I’m quite fond of the stuff so I decided to check it out.

hong kong local siu mei

The interior had a couple of tables and chairs thrown together and it’s full of old men. There’s definitely no English menu – it’s a place catering to locals. Perfect, that’s just the way I like it. :)

eating pigeon hong kong

Anyway, we ate about five meals a day while on vacation in Hong Kong so we decided to order a braised pigeon to share. The pigeon (squab is the proper name for a young pigeon like this) is served whole so you can see the small head and beak perpetually frozen in a mid-squawk of dismay. ;) It doesn’t have a lot of meat on it, but it’s very tasty. The meat is slightly tough but the flavor is excellent. I absolutely loved it.

braised pigeon

The lap cheong (waxed Cantonese sausages) in Hong Kong is pretty good too. The flavor is almost neutral. I know, that doesn’t sound very appetizing but it’s great! It’s not as salty as the usual lap cheong we get over here – this one is slightly sweet and has a good ratio of pork fat and meat.

hong kong siu yoke

I had worked up an appetite eating the pigeon so I ordered a plate of siu yoke as well. Besides, it was still raining outside and I got the distinct impression that you’re supposed to leave when you’re finished with your meal coz there were people waiting and the tables are shared. Heh.

siu yoke hong kong

Now, Hong Kong siu mei shops takes great pride in their product and although I was pretty full by then, I couldn’t resist eating it all. The siu yoke tends to lean towards the fatty side (smirk) and has a crispy layer of skin on top. You get the whole experience of crispy skin, fat and meat and it’s very tender and juicy – positively orgasmic when you eat it with the mustard it’s served with.

siu yoke takeaway

Hell, it was so good I ordered a portion to take away and eat in the hotel for supper.

temple street siu mei

I also noticed that they serve steamed fish with rice, which a lot of people ordered. It’s an unassuming shop specializing in roasted meat, waxed meat and the odd fish somewhere near the fringes of Temple Street. It’s one of the best discoveries we made in Hong Kong, totally loved the pigeon and siu yoke. I wish I had tried the fish though, it looked very promising.

eating siu mei

However, it wasn’t very cheap – the dinner and takeaway cost HKD 340 (about RM 142) for the two of us. You can’t say much about the presentation but it’s the best siu mei we had in Hong Kong and it was worth every single red cent. :)

Turtle eggs preparation recipe and report

turtle eggs

Turtle eggs are considered to be very nutritious and purportedly
have a lot of health benefits. Unfortunately, they happen to be illegal
due to the wildlife preservation enactments to prevent rampant poaching
of turtle eggs (which is a protected species) in Malaysia. However, I
managed to hook up with someone who sells turtle eggs through a
coworker.

turtle eggs sandy

The transaction was very covert, which I found amusing – the turtle
egg seller called to tell us where he is and we got him to deliver it
to the office. He was an overweight slightly grimy looking man carrying
one of those tote bags with probably 100 turtle eggs inside (and also
some porn VCD’s on the sides). I bought 10 turtle eggs off him for RM
15 (it’s RM 1.50 per turtle egg). The turtle eggs are still sandy from
the beach and each one is about the size of a ping pong ball.

turtle eggs wok

I don’t know how to cook turtle eggs, so we brought it downstairs to
solicit the help of Kakak (literally “Sister” in Malay) who works
downstairs. She told us that it can either be eaten raw, or heated lightly (emphasis on lightly) with boiled water. Thus, we set the wok (there’s a kitchen downstairs, sorta) on boil with some water.

turtle eggs washed

The turtle eggs are washed by putting them under running water to
get rid of the sand. The interesting thing about turtle eggs is that
they’re very pliable – it’s so soft that pressing on it will
make indentation marks (as can be seen in the first two photos). The
turtle eggs in their natural configuration also has that property -
surrounding eggs impact each turtle egg by forming recessions around
each other.

turtle eggs cooking

The turtle eggs were then put into the water for a short (less than a minute) amount of time and left to simmer for a bit.

turtle eggs kakak

I also got Kakak to pose for a photo beside the cooking wok with the turtle eggs in it. ;)

turtle eggs cooked

This is what the slightly heated turtle eggs look like. The eggs are
soft and slightly translucent, so that you can see the yolk inside.

turtle eggs bowl

You can eat the turtle eggs by opening up the shell (it’s so soft,
it’s almost like peeling instead of opening) and eating it as it is. It
tastes surprisingly good…it doesn’t need any flavoring for the turtle
egg taste to shine through. Unlike other eggs, turtle eggs have a
distinct musky aftertaste to it.

turtle eggs single

However, I’m told that the proper way to enjoy turtle eggs is too peel off a small hole at the top…

turtle eggs single sauce

…and put a drop of soy sauce inside to flavor it, before sucking the whole egg contents.

This method of consumption is more visceral and much more enjoyable. :)

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