No. 81, Braised Bacon at Break of Dawn

No. 81, Braised Bacon at Break of Dawn

Any Break of Dawn regular goes through phases with Chef Dee Nguyen's diverse offerings. I first obsessed over the tempura eggs before flirting with various other options: the cinnamon roll, sausage and rice, breakfast skillet, benedict, and kabocha squash soup with spring rolls for dipping. 

My latest love is the $6 side, or rather, slab, of braised bacon.

That might seem a pretty penny for a side dish, but this pig's the "$5 milkshake" of morning swine: Pork belly cured for seven days in ginger, rosemary and black pepper, then dried overnight, smoked and finally braised in the oven until it slumps from the weight of its own juices.  The belly is sliced thick, then seared to order and served with a vibrant smear of beet emulsion, a streak of tomato and raisin "fondue" and soy syrup. 

Each piece delivers three distinct tastes and textures: Crunchy, salty skin; a bright-white inch-thick stripe of greasy, melting pork fat; and fall-apart strands of meat. The sauces impart sweetness and tang; both serve to cut through so much richness.

Add two eggs, a Vietnamese coffee, and call it a day. It doesn't get much better than this.

The list so far:

82. Cake Donut at Cream Pan
83. Bistec de Pollo at Mercado El Rey
84. The Rhino at Rancho a Go Go
85. Cabernet Brownies at Blackmarket Bakery
86. Cookie Monster at Lola Ice Cream and Deli
87. Polenta Board at CUCINA Enoteca
88. Falafel Taco at Taco Asylum
89. Wagon-Wheel Bread at THE RANCH Restaurant
90. Toothpick Tacos at Mexico Supermarket
91. Hoppin' John at Memphis at the Santora
92. Free Beans and Chips at Taqueria Zamora
93. Pig in a Blanket Waffle with Gringo Bandito at Cafe Calacas
94. "Pork Hash" at Huong Giang
95. Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla At Kogi
96. Licuados at Mil Jugos
97. Hawaiian Ahi Poke at California Fish Grill
98. Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
99. Fiesta Noodles at Jollibee
100. Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California

Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2010!
Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2011!

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