Whenever Filipinos hold a party here, they would usually order and buy a tray or two of Fried Porkchops and Calamares in one those many small Chinese food courts located in the many plazas in the suburbs. Each tray I think is about $15 or less, depending on the size, and it’s usually overflowing. How can you beat that? It’s definitely a bargain as against going through the buying and the deep-frying of loads of thinly sliced chops to serve hungry and awaiting guests.
I also noticed that these chops are perfect beer partners. That’s the bottom-line, and I’m guessing that’s one of the many reasons why many Filipinos buy them. I’ve only encountered these trays here. I’ve never seen them growing up in Manila or maybe I was just too naïve to know what was happening outside of my village. I only saw noodles served in trays and that was about it. Nevertheless, they are practical, delicious and gargantuan enough to serve a hundred. Filipinos also expect their guests to drink. That’s the ‘fun’ part of the party alongside the greasy, fried morsels of meat, fish and crackers and the no nonsense conversations which make you laugh your belly out until drunk.
Honestly, these get-togethers and gatherings are totally new concept for me. I learned late how to deal and somehow socialize with other individuals; growing up in a quite secluded and guarded atmosphere almost a third of my life. When I started handling people fifteen years ago, I learned how to deal with other people properly and it was indeed a learning experience. I treasure those learning moments. Today, I am wondering what had happened to the staff I’ve worked with for so many years before moving to this side of the world.
Anyway, I’ve tried several times how to recreate these chops. They are just too addicting like chicharon and I can’t seem to stop munching on the first bite. That’s how good they are. When I eat something as good as that, I would usually proceed to the Chinese Meat Market and find the source. I know they’re just there sitting somewhere. True enough, I saw the chops and had them ‘cut’ as thinly as possible. Vendors ask their customers for ‘cut’ or ‘no cut’ everytime. Same goes for hocks. I’m a happy man. This is my version of those chops. I avoid deep-frying as much as possible for personal reasons and opted to pan-fry them instead without actually losing the essence or texture of those I have tasted. I also omitted MSG, but included it otherwise in the ingredients; knowing that it’s a major taste factor in many Asian Fried dishes.
- 2-3 Pork chops (Very thinly sliced)
- 1 Bird’s Eye Chili
- 2-3 Cloves Garlic
- Salt & Pepper
- Five-Spice Powder
- Szechuan Pepper & Salt
FRIED GARLIC AND CHILI:
Pat dry the chops with paper towel or let the moisture out as much as possible by letting them hang on a strainer before dredging.
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and dredge in cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat a wok or a pan and pan-fry the chops until golden. Remove from the pan, and let the chops drip dry on a paper towel or oven tray, and season generously with salt and ground black Pepper. Discard the oil and wipe the wok clean with a paper towel.
SALT & PEPPER: Stop at step 2.
FIVE FRAGRANCE: Follow the first two steps and season with five-spice powder. Adjust the seasonings to taste
SALT & SZECHUAN PEPPER: Instead of salt and ground black, season with Ground Szechuan Pepper and Salt. I’ve used this seasoning for deep-fried fish.
Garnish with finely chopped green onions.