Pork guilt – noun. Deep sense of shame and remorse that envelops consumers of pork buns within twenty to thirty minutes of the disappearance of the last pork bun crumb. Sufferers have been known to drown their sorrows in a side of cheese chilli fries.
There are times in life when you just know that what you’re eating is incredibly bad for you. There’s no point even trying to rationalise it to yourself. “Oh it’s a great source of protein”. “Oh but I haven’t had lunch today”. Really, there’s no use. You’ve moved beyond the point of no return. You’re swimming in an ocean of deliciousness and there’s no land in sight. So you might as well float on your back, bask in the warm oven sunlight, breathe in that salty succulent pork scent, and succumb to your taste buds.
This is precisely the position I found myself in last night, standing on the pavement outside Mr Crackles. I had heard good things about his pork crackling, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for the pork feast that awaited.
The window display. How could you not photograph that enormous hot mess.
Crackling waiting for a good home.
Crackles Classic – crispy skinned slow roast 5 spiced pork belly served with vietnamese salad in a roll ($10). I absolutely loved the presentation – it looked almost geometric with its perfect little cubes of pork, placed in a horizontal line across a heaving mound of salad. The pork was incredibly soft, and the crackling was just perfect.
Mmmm look at those shiny little heads.
Tonkatsu pork bun – Japanese crumbed pork, lightly pickled red cabbage and ginger salad, wasabi mayo ($12). Amazeballs. Now I’ve had a lot of tonkatsu in my time (I was basically raised on it), so I know my crumbed pork. And this was beautifully cooked, extremely well seasoned, lightly crispy on the outside to reveal a lovingly soft interior. The wasabi mayo added incredible flavour, and the specks of black sesame seeds just carried it to perfection.
Sweet pork bun – Masterstock braised pork belly served with a cabbage salad, mayo in a soft white bun ($11). This was my absolute favourite. So sweet and so soft, it was like biting into a cloud. Although it looks like stewed rhubarb (from the pictures), I can assure you it was not. The meat was just that soft and splintered. Scrumdiddlyumptious! (It was that good, I don’t even care if you’re judging me for using that word).
D did complain about the width of the buns, in the sense that they were too wide for him to jam into his mouth, and he developed side-mouth aches shortly after. A small price to pay for an amazing piece of meat.
Another hot mess. But incredibly delicious. Chilli cheese fries ($8.50) – thinly cut fries smothered in cheese and chilli con carne. D and I were quite surprised that the fries actually came with meat. We assumed that the fries would just be seasoned with chilli, but no, they were an entire meal on their own. The fries were incredibly snug under their thick blanket of cheese and meat, it felt almost cruel to remove them from their warm beds. Oh well.
So if you think you can handle the pork guilt, give this place a go. If anyone is worth feeling guilty for, it’s Mr Crackles.
Until next time.