Best of Indy: Trendy Ingredient—Pork Belly

Six great pork-based plates to seek out citywide.

Pork Bun

H2O Restaurant & Sushi Bar
The dim sum classic gets an upscale makeover, as tender steamed buns are sliced crosswise, not stuffed, to make way for a slice of rich pork belly. Crisp pickles, tangy-sweet hoisin, and Sriracha lend this generous appetizer a complex kick. 1912 Broad Ripple Ave., 317-254-0677,

Pork Belly with White Beans and Collard Greens

10-01 Food & Drink
Pork and beans gets elevated to gastropub elegance with a liberal piece of tender, slow-cooked pork belly perched atop creamy braised beans and some of the tastiest collard greens in the city. Get the Southern-style jalapeño cornbread, too. 1001 Broad Ripple Ave., 317-253-1001,

General Tso’s Pork Belly

Late Harvest Kitchen
The fatty underbelly meat is sliced into hunky strips and braised in classic pungent-sweet Hunan flavors in this interpretation of your cardiologist’s worst nightmare. A gingery stir-fry base of broccoli rabe, greens, and mushrooms sets off the meat’s richness. 8605 River Crossing, 317-663-8063,

Braised Pork-Belly Slider

Plat 99
Among the small-plate nibbles at The Alexander’s lobby bar, a pair of braised pork-belly sliders layers thick-cut slabs of porcine decadence with frizzled red onions and a cherry chutney that brings out the candied sweetness of the meat’s seared side. Gone in three bites, the sammies are smooshed inside soft slider buns that keep the stickiness in check (because you wouldn’t want to leave fingerprints on your coupe glass). 333 S. Delaware St., 317-624-8200,

Mangalitsa Plate

You never know how the chefs at The Alexander’s restaurant will prepare pork from one pig to the next. Their full repertoire comes into play on this sampler platter of belly from the namesake swine, a succulent, fatty breed hailing from Hungary. The chefs might serve it brined and braised today, or cured for a four-flavor bacon flight tomorrow. You’ll just have to come back until you’ve tried them all. 339 S. Delaware St., 317-870-1320,

Chengdu Twice-Cooked Pork

Szechwan Garden
This Chinese standard-setter downplays the ingre-dient by labeling it simply “pork,” but make no mistake: It’s belly. Simmered first with spices and then sliced and cooked again in a wok, the crown jewel of Szechwan standouts comes with a spicy glaze and tender, steamed baby bok choy. 3649 Lafayette Rd., 317-328-2888.

This article appeared in the December 2013 issue.