A traditional porchetta rubbed with Vietnamese 5 spice powder.
Recently we've been on a culinary quest to make a holiday pork roast with the most irresistible crispy, crackly, and bubbly skin possible – the type of crispy crackling that will have guests fighting over and craving for more. What immediately came to mind was the Italian style porchetta of San Francisco fame, Roli Roti, and the Vietnamese preparation of roasted pork belly called heo quay, also called sieu yuk in Chinese, and lechon kawali in the Filipino version. The common thread among these versions is the unmistakable crackly skin, but how to achieve that in the home kitchen is another matter entirely. The Internet is replete with crispy roasted pork recipes advocating different techniques from deep frying, to salting, and basting with rice vinegar to achieve that holy grail of pork skin crispiness.
So in the last month, we've tried both the salt and vinegar method to see what works best. However, we also roasted one doing neither. The only method we didn't try was deep frying. No doubt deep frying the pork skin works, but it can get quite messy and for our purposes of a big roast, not something we were interested in trying. After these attempts, we're not 100% convinced that it's the salt or vinegar that makes the skin crackly and bubbly. In fact, we also had great results doing neither.
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