Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mangalitsa Dinner at Monsoon

I just got home from eating a six-course Mangalitsa dinner at Monsoon. Mark Fuller and Johnny Zhu did a great job. It was the best meal I've had all year.

The chefs went all out exploiting the Mangalitsa fat - whipped lard, braised belly, shoulder confit, leg stuffed wtih a forcemeat, succotash cooked in lard and a deconstructed tart made with lard. They must have used yet more Mangalitsa fat in the course of making the meal - but I didn't spot it.

It was great to see the guests appreciate the Mangalitsa. It was neat to see chefs make things (like the Vietnamese-style pork belly) that my Austrian friends would recognize as Mangalitsa yet non-European.


Changren said...

Hi Heath. It was an honor to meet the person who brought this wonderful pig to this country. I didn't get the chance to talk to you last night at the dinner but i want to thank you for your introduction to the Mangalitsa pig before the dinner started.

Heath said...

Changren -- you are welcome. I'm happy that you and others like the food so much. If you ever visit the U-Disrict Farmers Market, please stop by.

I'm very happy to see chefs and diners enjoy Mangalitsa. If I was the only one who thought the stuff tasted good, it wouldn't be nearly so much fun.

What was your favorite dish?

Changren said...

My favorite dish was the Mangalitsa belly. That was the best piece of pork that i have ever tasted. In fact, i would say that was the best piece of meat that i have ever tasted, period.

Heath said...

Changren -- That is very interesting.

Funny you say "best piece of meat that i have ever tasted, period" - because the purebred Mangalitsa belly is pretty much all fat.

The mouthfeel of the fat was amazing. The (miniscule amount) of meat on mine was a little tough. I think Chef Zhu might have seared it a bit too long or at too high a temperature.

That said, that belly was the best braised pork belly I've ever eaten.

I really enjoyed the shoulder confit and the roulade (leg with stuffing). If I had to pick one, I'd probably take the roulade again.

My choice surprises me, because the legs are by far the least sought after pieces of Mangalitsa. The loin, belly and shoulders always sell first.