It all started a couple of weeks ago, when Rhea of Euphorhea created a Porkaholics group on Facebook. Now, Rhea had first grabbed my undivided attention when she posted a recipe for Bacon Whisky Jam on her blog. Any woman who could find a recipe for bacon jam and try it out was sure to be a fantastic moderator for a group of Porkaholics. I signed up as soon as I saw it.
There were a few familiar friends and foodies already on the group and a lot of others whom I knew nothing about, except that they shared my obsession for all things "pork"
They started talking about having a pig out sometime soon & since I had a trip to Mumbai coming up, I begged them to have it while I was in town so I could join the fun and they all very sweetly acquiesced. The Pig-Out was planned for 26th July at Lings in Colaba (behind Regal cinema, same road as Mondegar) and I could barely contain my excitement until D-day.
So we met up today & the meal was so yum, that I had to snap out of my blogging ennui & write about it, even though its 3am & I have an early start to the day tomorrow too.
Kurush & Rhea had a chat with Baba Ling and finalised the all pork menu with a bok choy thrown in for a friend who needs at least 1 side of veggies in a meal (a major problem for her when she visits me) :) and 12 of us assembled this evening at the Lings temple to pay homage to Porcine goodness.
For starters we had the most amazing Char Siu Bao. The Chinese bun was exactly the texture & sweetness that I love filled with a simple pork mince (pics are from top to down and then look left). This was served with a mustard sauce with a fierce kick, roasted chilli sauce and sweet chilli sauce. I have now plagiarised Kurush's dream to visit Lings and eat only the Char Siu Bao until I can eat no more.
The soupy pork dumplings were momos filled with pork mince + soup that exploded into a riot of flavours in my mouth. Taking Kurush's expert advice (he's been a regular at Lings for aeons) we topped each dumpling with a few drops of vinegar. The toughest part was waiting for the dumplings to cool down enough, so we could eat it without burning our tongues.Burning my tongue is de-rigeur for me at any sizzler place, but I knew 8 more fantastic dishes were to follow and I wanted to be able to savour them all.
The Chilli Garlic pork ribs were completely boneless slices of pork - batter fried and tossed in chilli garlic. Inspite of being deep fried it was still very light and easy on the stomach.
The final starter was Baba Lings special sliced roast pork. A slightly sweet sauce caressed the softest tenderest bits of roast pork that I have eaten in a long time.
While we were raring to order more helpings of the starters, we knew there was more in store and resisted as hard as we could.
The bok choy with stir fried garlic was good, but the die hard porkaholic in me just tasted it for tastings sake. As a rule, I do not fill my tummy with "ghaas poos" when good quality protein is in sniffing distance. (When I downloaded the pics, I also realised that I hadn't even bothered to click a pic of this dish!)
The dry Pork with blackbean sauce and mushrooms was a very unusual flavour combination, that I haven't tried before. The chillies in this were dynamite and had a lovely smoky flavour.
The pork stew with bamboo shoot was the lightest dish of the day. Suprisingly the Shitake mushrooms in this dish were much, much tastier than the pork itself (Given the meaty flavour and texture of Shitaake, they are completely exempt from my "ghaas poos" dismissal.
The twice cooked pork with bell peppers and Shitake mushrooms were the surprise hit of the meal, this disappeared from the table in 3 minutes flat. If you eat only one item at Lings, then this is THE ONE that you should order!
The last main dish was an innocuous looking mass of meat surrounded with a bit of liquid - but a ton of flavour was packed into it. Pork mince with a bit of soup. I could happily sit with a bowl of this dish, add a little more soup and maybe a few strands of noodles. It could keep me happy on any night. Warm, soul food. Goodness in a bowl!
The suprise of the evening was Steamed rice with chinese pork sausage. Rice cooked in a clay pot topped with thin slivers of Chinese Pork sausage. This sweetish sausage looked so pretty when topped over the rice. The little flecks of fat gleaming like jewels in the light.
Chinese tea was constantly replineshed and left me with a light stomach inspite of how much meat & fat I was consuming.
The first part of the meal was ingested in almost complete silence. We were all immersed in offerring it the respect it deserved. It was only when were more than half way through the meal, that we looked up from our plates & started being more social with one another. The conversations between the 12 of us, only finally took off at full velocity once the meal was finished, the empty platters (about 30 of them) were taken away and we started fantasising about what would be the perfect dessert for a pig-out. Bacon ice cream got the most "likes", but we had to settle for lychees & ice cream.
The split bill cost around 1000/- per person and it was definitely VFM given the quantities that we gorged on.
It was so much fun to meet people whom I've only known through their blogs and so many others who all share my love for pork and I hope I get the opportunity to keep coming back to meet them and join in more such fantastic assemblies.
As Rhea says "May the Pork be With You!"