Although the name of this appetizer may not sound appealing to taste for most westerners, but for asians, especially southeast asians, it's a relish! When I used to live with my parents during my early college years, I would always look forward to have a couple of those sour pork munchies with my mother after a long day's of school classes, and my mother's long day at work. As we would savour these spicy asian tidbits with a wonderful glass of Porto or red Martini, my father never really appreciated wine or any other famous digestif that marry well with this authentic and popular vietnamese finger food. On the other hand, my mother and I had made it a ritual to have our aperitif late afternoons rendez-vous. Now that we both live in different cities, my mother always makes sure that she brings some to Montreal everytime my parents come to visit every now and then, so that we can both enjoy the apperitif together like the good old days. The sour taste of the pickled pork and the sweet dry taste of red Martini or Porto blend exceptionally well, and creates an indescribable sensation of satisfaction and relaxation. Meaning, it's break time, time stands still and no one or nothing can take that precious moment away from you. For most it's an acquired taste, and for those already experienced, it's a "Calgon-take-me-away" moment.
I have to admit that I have never prepared these appetizers as they were always readily available in local asian grocery stores. Apparently, my mother had prepared it a long time ago, and it doesn't seem that hard to make. In case you are interested, the recipe is as follows:
Recipe "au pif":
1 pound pork loin, sliced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
4 ounces pork skin (instead of preparing the pork sking you can buy it frozen)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup uncooked rice, roasted
ground banana leaves
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small red chili, sliced
1/2 cup pickled baby leeks
Pound pork meat thin and marinate with a portion of the salt, sugar and fish sauce. Cook pork skin until golden; allow to cool and cut into fine strips. Gently saute the garlic in oil until fragrant, then add remaining fish sauce and sugar, and reduce to a thick consistency.
Combine pork meat, pork skin, garlic, fish sauce and the rice meal. Shape into patties and place on banana leaf. Add a slice of garlic and a slice of chili before wrapping the "sausage" in the leaf. Refrigerate for 2 days. Serve with pickled leeks.
But if you're lazy like me and know that the already available pickled sour pork goodies can be easily purchased at local asian grocery stores, and are as good as home made versions, by all means, get one already made!