How to Make Chashu (Marinated Braised Pork Belly)

Thinly Sliced Chashu (Marinated Braised Pork Belly)

Thinly Sliced Chashu (Marinated Braised Pork Belly)

Chashu—slow-braised marinated pork belly—is a much-loved ramen topping. The glistening pork is used in many styles of ramen and is often served thinly sliced, floating near the top of bowl. Today I’m going to show you how to make chashu.

Ramen is a slow art. Making a bowl of ramen can be a multi-day affair—the stock alone can take days. It takes time to develop the flavors from each of the ingredients. If you’re in Japan, you can let the experts do the work and grab a quick meal at a ramen shop; however, if you’re in America and aren’t lucky enough to have a quality ramen restaurant near you, then you might want to invest the time and energy to make it yourself. Plus, it’s fun learning how dishes are made and cooking them at home (at least, I think so)!

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Eating Tsukemen (Dipping Ramen) at Fuunji in Tokyo

special-tsukemen-with-extra-chashu-pork-at-fuunji-restaurant-in-shinjuku-tokyo

Special Tsukemen with Extra Chashu Pork at Fuunji Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Despite howling winds and lashing rain from an approaching typhoon, Corey and I braved the streets of Shinjuku in search of a delicious meal. It was our second night in Japan and we couldn’t let two days go by without having any noodles!

Originally, we’d planned to eat soba in memory lane our first night in Tokyo at Kameya Shinjuku, but that had been thwarted by the Obon holiday. So we weren’t going to let the weather stop us from eating at Fuunji!

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Hama-Rikyu Gardens – Tokyo, Japan

Hama-Rikyu Gardens - Where the Past and Present Collide

Hama-Rikyu Gardens – Where the Past and Present Collide

Corey and I recently went on an amazing trip to Japan. In my next few posts, I will be writing about our travels and the many wonderful experiences we had there, including all the tasty food we ate (I’ll be sharing recipes too). I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures and that these posts provide insight into the wonders of Japan.

Hama-Rikyu gardens provide a glimpse into the past through its Edo-style landscaping and architecture. It’s located near Tsukiji Market in the Chūō ward, a heavily trafficked commercial and shopping district in central Tokyo, and it fronts on Tokyo Bay.

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Picking Peaches in Georgia at Gregg Farms

Bucket of Freshly Picked Peaches from Gregg Farms

Bucket of Freshly Picked Peaches from Gregg Farms

Picking your own seasonal ingredients from local farms is a great way to freshen up your cooking with high-quality ingredients. Not only that, but it allows you to connect with the land that your food comes from, and to harvest some of the “ugly” fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted. Incredibly, somewhere between 25 and 40 percent of all the food produced in this country goes to waste, so picking some “ugly” produce can be a tasty (if minor) way to reduce that figure.

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Stone-Ground Grits and Nora Mill Granary

Nora Mills Granary Storefront

Nora Mill Granary Storefront

Grits are a Southern classic, made from ground corn kernels and simmered until they get thick and creamy. While usually served for breakfast, grits can also be presented as a side dish, or as part of a main course for lunch or dinner (for example, in shrimp and grits).

The most flavorful grits—way better than instant grits—are stone-ground grits. I was first introduced to stone-ground grits in college when my mother-in-law sent me a bag. My husband and I weren’t big grit eaters at the time; we had mostly eaten instant grits while backpacking, so we imagined grits as more or less a bland texture or base.

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