Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Treated like royalty and so delicious to eat, Iberian black pig comes to China’s kitchens

Posted by Kimberly on July 5, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
July 05 2007, page 2 735 words)

 

An agreement was signed last week between China and Spain to have Iberian black pork imported into China.
Called the king of pigs, the highly valued pork can fetch as much as $US45 per kilo.
Speaking at a dinner held at the Educational Restaurant of the Institute for Tourism Studies [IFT], Carlos Alves, General Manager of the exporter Damicarnes in Portugal said that he has had very favourable feedback from the guests and hopes that this venture will prove successful.
Jimmy Zhang, Managing Director of the Shama Group in Hong Kong said, “I think the product is very good. So I think it will be very popular.
“I think they will have a very good business,” he said.
“They [the Shama Group] are going to help us to introduce the ham in Shanghai,” said Mr Avles.
Mr Zhang added that a store had already agreed to begin selling the premium meat.
Asked whether there were any thoughts to expansion, he said, “Well, I think we’re going to do this step by step.
“I think you should let the people know your product, because I know, in Shanghai, the five star hotels and buffets have the Pata Negra [cured ham] but the quality is not so good.
“I think it will be very popular in Shanghai,” he said.
“We are doing the first step with him [Mr Zhang]. We hope we will be very successful in Shanghai because he’s a very well-known guy there,” said Mr Alves.
With a population of 20 million people, Shanghai is the ideal environment, said Mr Zhang.
“It is twice as big as Portugal so if you can successfully introduce into this area maybe the next choice is Hangzhou.
“Hangzhou is very near to Shanghai. it is a most beautiful city in China. To buy a product like this, it must be in a rich area so I know which areas are rich and who will buy for their family and their children,” said Mr Zhang.
The Iberian black-hoofed pig is fed on acorns and wild plants and allowed complete freedom.
From the moment they are born, the pigs are treated like royalty, allowed to eat, sleep and forage under open skies.
They live for about two years in such a paradise, feasting on between seven and nine kilograms of acorns each day, allowing them to gain as much as one kilogram of weight a day.
The exercise they receive on a daily basis is key to the end quality of the ham produced.
Several of the guests present, many of whom were top chefs at the restaurants in Macau’s casinos, had nothing but positive statements to make abut the quality of the meat.
“I think the meat’s a brilliant product, very very good,” said Mr David Wong, Executive Assistant Manager at IFT.
“The char siu is done by the chef from Crown. Its probably never been done before, using black pork to make char siu, and it works very well,” he said.
Mr Luis de Heredia of the Macau Government Tourist Office said, “Well, I think without any doubt, the texture and the flavour brings something very different to what we use here.
“It was amazing to taste the Chinese style, and the the Portuguese style and then grilled, which shows really the flavour of the meat itself. I believe it could be used in any area of the kitchen, I’m sure.
“The two big points I wanted to say was about the texture and the taste. There is a flavour that is very unique. That is due to probably what they eat all the time. Really good. For me the big surprise was the Chinese style. It brought the lot to the dish itself,” he said.
He believed that the product brings a different taste to what was available in Macau.
Mr Yves Duron, Executive Chef at the Mandarin Oriental said, “Beautiful. It’s very nice, tender and tasty. It’s almost like game. We are using it currently [in their food].
“We are using it from time to time in the all day dining,” he said.
Crown casino’s Chef Kwok Fung Tam, who created the popular char siu using the black pork said, “I was always looking for some interesting ingredient to play around it. And pork for Chinese is a major ingredient and I thought why not?
“So this pork and our char siu is definitely a good match.”

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