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Japanese food experts: Is it true? Can buta kakuni (Japanese braised pork belly) really be good for you? [Moved from Home Cooking]

cgfan | Dec 13, 200609:36 PM

As I'm sure a lot of other Chowhounds do, I love the taste of a well-made buta kakuni, so soft and tender and full of flavor. Though I'm one who will eat just about anything regardless of whether it's considered unhealthy or not, I've always been intrigued hearing that buta kakuni is actually good, or at least not unhealthy, for you. I've heard it said from several Japanese friends and acquaintances of mine, including some chefs. Also Tetsujin (Iron Chef) Masaharu Morimoto was claiming that as well in the TV documentary, "Morimoto: Raw".

In Tsuji's book "Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art", he calls out for a 2-day process to cook the kakuni, and a Japanese friend of mine has said that the preparation can last almost a week. Puportedly this is one of the clues to why it is considered healthy. Could this be true? What would be the reasoning behind the claims? I've heard it explained before in a very broad and sweeping manner that the long cooking times renders out much of what's bad. But exactly what is it that's being rendered out? Certainly some fat, but much still remains. Is the remaining fat somehow changed in some way?

I have searched the Internet in vain for answers to this question. But with the collective knowledge of all of the Chowhounders out there, someone here may know at least part of, if not the entire, answer...

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