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Advice: Chinese "marinated" pork belly

I purchased a piece of packaged pork belly at a chinese grocery a few months ago. As the english on the packaging is often suspect with specialty international items like this, I will describe it below for recognition beyond the english description on the package.

As a starting point, here's what the package calls itself: "UNCOOKED CHINESE STYLE PORK BELLY BONE IN & SKIN ON". As I say, I purchased it at least 2 months ago. I opened it right away and, as the grocer suggested, chopped it into small bits and let it cook with my rice. It was sweet and delicious! A few days later I put it in a pot with a small amount of water, rice wine and soy sauce and let it simmer til tender. This too was delicious. Since then it has sat well sealed in my refrigerator - it is recommended to refrigerate after opening (it was shelved at room temp in the store, in a airtight plastic wrapper).

My concern, and my question for someone who feels qualified to advise me, is whether I can use the meat now after several months in the fridge.

I just opened the package and sniffed the contents. If I did;t know it had been in the fridge so long, I would not suspect. It has an exotic sweet smell which I imagine could mask meat-gone-off. I am adventurous though, and my digestion has suffered the consequences on occasion. It's not an expensive item, but I live in a small community and am not frequently able to visit an asian market.

So the promised further description: There is actually no bone in - maybe a fluke. Before cooking it has a very rubbery consistency, and looks quite similar to the familiar bbq pork you see hanging in chinese butchers and restaurants windows, but there is no questioning the bbq variety is cooked - ready to eat, while you wouldn't dream of slicing up the stuff I have and throwing it uncooked on some rice, heated or not.

Finally, in case it helps, I'll list the listed ingredients: Pork Belly, Sugar, Dark Soya Sauce, Salt, Grain Alcohol, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Erythorbate.

You can tell I want to eat it since I make such a fuss over 1/2 a $4 piece of meat. Your safety advice is appreciated, as would be any recipe suggestions. And maybe an anglicized or phonetic name I could call this interesting food.

I sprouted my own mungbeans and they're ready for dinner tonight. Hope I can include the pork belly in my chinese feast.

Many thanks!

PS I just realized I can attach a picture

Mar 17, 2009
chrisx in General Topics

Ethnic on Yonge St Line

I'm coming in from out of town, where I am restaurant deprived, particularly of asian cuisine. I'm meeting a friend for lunch on Saturday. Our circumstances require that we go somewhere within an easy walk of a Younge St line subway station, A strange category I know, but just a few suggestions would be most useful. I was thinking of meeting at the Eaton Centre, but any other stop would be fine.

My first choice would be (respectable, not exceptional) sushi. (sorry purists!)

After that, falafel, indian buffet, phø. I guess something fairly reasonably priced. Obviously we'll expect to pay more for sushi than the other options.

Sorry if these suggestions are already all over the site (and I'm appreciating them, believe me, and will take advantage of the info as I choose other meals during my stay), but it is really difficult to compare according to location without a separate thread.

So.. any standouts on Younge St? Thanks!

Feb 19, 2009
chrisx in Ontario (inc. Toronto)