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Thai experts: a whole pig question

Professor Salt | Jan 30, 200805:55 PM

One day, I'm munching happily away on a Northern Thai pork dish at a particularly well known Thai restaurant. It's a terrific dish of lean pork loin bits in a vicious curry. I'm enjoying tender, high on the hog, muscle meat parts. Nothing wrong with that.

Then my mind starts wandering. I think any cuisine that reveres the pig is gonna make good use of parts like pig ear, snout, belly and (probably) do wonders with a whole pig on those celebratory occasions when folks throw a big party. And I suddenly wonder what this restaurant's kitchen would do with a whole pig.

The Chinese work miracles with a whole pig. So I'm guessing that Chinese diaspora in Thailand, Vietnam, et al have influenced whole hog cooking in those countries. Yet I've never seen it offered in Thai restaurants in L.A. (where I'm told, we have the largest population of Thai emigres in North America) .

Can someone who's been to Thailand comment on how it shows up there? Is it roasted until crisp-skinned like a Cantonese pig? How is it flavored? Is it strictly a banquet feast, or are they every day staples like in Cantonese BBQ restaurants, where busy folks take home a kilo for family dinner?

Question part two: how are the cheaper pig parts like pork belly (skin on?), and pig ears used in Thai cooking?

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