It began as a craving from Teenage Son #3. According to nutritionist Deanna M. Minich, crunchy food cravings are more about texture than taste. She analyzes the crunch craver as attention-seekers, with every bite saying "hey look at me!" Deanna says, "maybe there’s something they are trying to say, but can’t. Perhaps they are angry and want to “snap” back at someone, but they feel restrained." Is my son trying to tell me something, like Back off on my homework, or The eleven o'clock curfew is ridiculous?
Or is it because Lechon Kawali is simply delicious? No instant gratification for this craving, though, as it takes at least 2 days to meticulously complete the steps toward the proper crunch. The pork belly's journey to deliciousness began fourteen hours ago, marinating overnight in the fridge. I spent the next day boiling, skimming, and simmering the meat for an hour. The tender bellies went straight into the oven for half an hour, and slowly air-dried for another four hours! Then, finally, into a pot of hot oil to blister and crisp the skin.
Your patience has been rewarded, Son. Dig in.
Rub the pork with 2 tablespoons of the salt, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
While simmering the pork, preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Transfer the pork to a roasting pan fitted with a wire rack, pat the pork dry with paper towels, and brush both sides with the vinegar. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes to dry, turning once. Remove and place in a cool place to dry for another 4 hours.
Wipe the pork dry with paper towels. Fill a large pot with enough oil to submerge the pork belly pieces. Using a frying thermometer, bring the oil to 360 deg F over medium-high heat. Fry the pork until the skin is blistered and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using tongs, transfer pork belly to paper towels to drain. Pull out the bone, and cut into 2-inch slices. Serve with a soy sauce-vinegar-garlic dip or lechon sauce.