How much pig is too much pig? 16 of us found out last night at Hong Kong Eatery on Harrison in Chinatown.
9Lives hooked us up with the heretofore unknown concept of buying a 16 pound suckling pig and actually consuming it at the restaurant. Seems this really is a rare happening, but the nice folks there rose to the challenge.
Said suckling piggy was presented in all its glory in a wooden trough. Some hounds couldn't resist the opportunity to break off crisp cracklings from around its ears and tail. In fact, the tail got passed around for pre-pork festival nibbles.
The kitchen staff then whisked the pig away and proceeded to hack it up into chunks -- back to the table came 6 HUGE platters of porky goodness. We also ordered a few dishes of greens with garlic and some rice, but really the pig was the focus of the meal.
Served with an intriguing "pig sauce" that was a little like hoisin with pig drippings mixed in (mmmmmm.... pig drippings) and chili oil, the skin was shatteringly crispy and the meat, when you could find it, was delicious.
Our pig should have spent a little more time on the eliptical trainer, however, since some hounds found it to be too fatty (and this from some pig fat lovin' hounds!) For those of you wondering how fatty is too fatty, well, compare and contrast with the melting goodness of the pig's foot at Sichuan Garden if you've had it. That fat has sort of dissipated into the meat leaving its juiciness behind. What is left is easily pushed aside by the diner. This was more like a thick white layer between skin and meat. Maybe this is what suckling pigs are all like? I don't know. I *do* know that the last suckling pig I had in January was leaner, but that was at St. John's in London and they use free-range British pigs, so maybe that's the difference....
Lots of beers were consumed, and lots of porcine fun was had by all. The staff was very accomodating, making sure we were loving our pig the whole time. The main waiter told us that HKE supplies the roasted pigs to many Chinese restaurants in the suburbs who don't have a reason to roast their own. Everyone who wanted some took home leftovers, and one hound even threatened to make pork stock with the bones.
Other hounds will have to chime in on how the snout, tail, and trotters were. I'm thinking about what to do with a big box of leftover roast pork.