It was lunch so we (hubby and I) decided to walk to CRYSTAL JADE RESTAURANT which serves my favorite xiao long pao (meat dumplings with a bit of soup inside). On the way, I bumped into my friend, Jojo. He had opened a new business (he has a clothing store inside Greenhills Theater Mall) and it was Balamban Liempo.
For those not familiar with liempo- it is pork belly. It is a popular dish here in the Philippines and we like it either roasted over a rotisserie or fried crispy. For Jojo, his version came from the south of the Phillipines- Cebu style. He offered me a free taste and asked his staff to chop up some for me. (I was shy so I said half a slab would do.... but hey, it was free so who am I to say NO?)
I looked over as the girl was chopping and I could see the pork belly was stuffed with different kinds of herbs. Jojo said one of these was tanglad (lemongrass). I tasted a piece and it was quite flavorful. Lemongrass is often used to stuff roast pigs and chicken so I knew it would impart a nice flavor to the meat.
I peeked over the counter and saw several pre marinated, ready-to-cook liempo.
"How do you cook these?" I asked
Jojo smiled and answered, "We just put them on a skewer and let them roast on the rotisserie.."
"Won't the filling fall out?" I asked as I surveyed the plump uncooked leimpo looking like it was about to burst.
"No, they sew it shut and the fillings don't fall out"
I opted to bring the take away box to the Crystal Jade. (Hubby wanted to just buy rice and eat by the wayside).
Inside Crystal jade, aside from ordering some of the regular fare, we order rice so we could taste the liempo. I kind of picked at the filling and tasted it while waiting. It was really delicious. As with any cook, I was mentally thinking of what was put into it. I think the meat was super marinated by the way it was colored. It reminded me of TAPA (without it being rubbery)
|so full of delicious fillings|
The meat itself was very tender and juicy, like being roasted in the oven for hours. Maybe the marinade had something to do with it. (sooo curious)
You know how sommeliers swirl the wine around in their mouths? or how coffee tasters gargle the coffee? Well, I was finding myself munching and swirling the filling of the pork around trying to get the "flavors" of the herbs. (yum... more pls!).. I just stopped munching when I ran out of the filling! hahahaha
Aside from the liempo, they also have some other items that they serve with rice. On fridays, they have "specials" like pancit (stir fried noodles) with liempo topping for only 35 pesos. I'd say that is a great deal!
If you are in Greenhills- you might want to stop over and try this. It is waaaay better than any Andok's.
BALAMBAN LIEMPO is located at
Promanade walkway near Greenhills Theater Mall
right across San Juan Police Station