Over reading week my friend Curtis from Foodobyte.com invited me as his +1 to media tasting event for a new type of pork being sold in Canada for the first. Akakuro-buta pork is bred and raised on free range farms in Alberta and the techniques used to raise these pigs mirrors those used by the Japanese to raise their ‘kuro-buta’ pork (known as the Kobe beef of pork). The hogs are fed on a diet of barley, which results in a lot of marbling of a high quality fat. Until recently, the pork was exclusively exported to Japan but for the first time it is being sold to Canadian consumers (only available at T&T Supermarkets through Wingtat Game Bird Packers).
- Slightly acidic and spicy like kimchi but also a lot ‘meatier’ because of it being tomato. Delicious way to start off the afternoon!
Marinated Tuna Tataki
- Lightly seared albacore tuna marinated served with a ponzu jelly. The ponzu jelly added a nice citrus flavour to the dish and it was overall very well done.
Tonteki (Japanese Style Pork Steak)
- Pork loin lightly marinated in onion and garlic, lightly floured, and then grilled in its own fat. Served with a slightly sweet sauce.
- This pork was prepared very simply, as a way to showcase the quality of the meat. The marbling in the pork makes it very tender and tasty. The sauce really completed the dish
Damso Modern Korean Cuisine
- Korean beef tacos served on a handmade tortilla (think Peking duck pancake). Slightly sweet and spicy.
Kimchi Jim with Akakuro-Buta Loin
- Pork loin marinated in kimchi juice overnight and then slowly roasted. The kimchi and marinade juice are then boiled down into a sauce for the pork!
- Served family style and meant to be pulled apart like pulled pork. The pork was very tender from being slow roasted and it soaked in a lot of kimchi flavours. Definitely reminded me of American BBQ, in a good way! This was my favourite dish of the tour.
- The pork was cooked sous-vide for 24 hours which left it extremely tender
- Served in a broth made of pork stock, chicken stock, and dwengjang (Korean fermented soy bean paste). The stock gave the dish a definite fermented ‘funk’ to it, and while the pork was very good I preferred the other one more.
- House made yuzu sorbet (that was supposed to be a snowman, mine fell over) that was refreshing after all of that pork.
Burnt Apple Crusted Akakuro-Buta Collar Butt
- Pork butt coated in burnt apple seared for 3 minutes on each side to medium rare
- This was probably the first time I’ve had pork done medium rare! The burnt apple made the pork extremely fragrant and it was extremely juicy and tender. It was like eating a good steak! Although this was not my favourite dish of the tour, I think it showed the quality of the pork better than any of the others.
- A sampler featuring some caramel corn, a meringue, a marshmallow, a jelly, and a chocolate. It was a nice gesture and way to end off the tour.
The Akakuro-Buta pork dishes that I was served today will be on special for the month of March at each of the restaurants! It is definitely a high quality, versatile meat that is well suited to several different cuisines. I hope they start to sell other cuts of this pork (like pork belly) because it would probably be amazing!