No Need to Travel to China. The Best Pork Belly is Found in Selah, Washington
A food I've heard of for years but haven't actually tried until maybe a few years ago is something simply called pork belly. Think of it like chopped up super juicy pork chop but the skin on top is basically a pork rind on top of each bite. They're amazing! A few Chinese restaurants in Seattle serve this but not very common outside of hyper-Asian areas so Seattle was my closest option for my pork belly fix. That is, until I saw it on the menu at a restaurant in town.
Get Pork Belly at Tailgaters Bar and Grill in Selah
One of my kids and I found ourselves in Selah and figured we'd grab lunch. Admittedly I've never been to Tailgaters Bar and Grill though I've heard great things about it from so many of my friends in town. Kids are welcome so we found our seat, I grabbed a local IPA and we started looking at the menu for a few things to try. The pork belly jumped out at me immediately as it's something I didn't think I'd see on a menu in Eastern Washington. It couldn't be what I think it was but, to be sure, better order it to find out. Even if it wasn't what I was thinking I'm sure it'd still be good. We also ordered their famous mac & cheese and parmasian fries to share.
The pork belly came out first. To my surprise, it was exactly what I had in mind. These pre-sliced nuggets of happy taste buds; these cubes of crispified, perfectly seasoned other-white-meat. I couldn't wait. Fork? Nope! I just grabbed one with my fingers and popped it straight into my mouth-hole like I was swallowing a key from a victim in a cartoon. It was perfection.
It's hard to describe the exact flavor. They're not just pork chops. It's like a cut of pork (the not-very-good for you kind, but totally good for the soul) near the skin as the skin gives it that cripsy texture like a pork rind and it's all super flavorful with Asian seasonings with, like, black pepper and brown sugar, maybe? Hard to identify but, like not asking the magician how the coin was in your ear, I don't wanna ask. I want it to be a mystery.
The rest of the food was fantastic, and the beer and ice water were super cold (especially welcome on a hot day in our area) but this pork belly appetizer will definitely give me a reason to visit Tailgaters again soon.