Think laing but not as mushy. Instead of taro leaves, there’s kai-lan and, instead of pork pieces so soft that they melt in the mouth, there are chunks of lechon kawali with the crackling-like rinds still crisp, contrasting vividly with the creaminess of the sauce. There’s heat from the chilis that blend perfectly with the natural sweetness of the coconut milk. What’s not to love?
And that’s a traditional Filipino dish? No, it isn’t. Lechon kawali is traditional, yes, but not the dish itself although vegetables cooked in coconut milk is a very traditional way of cooking a wide variety of vegetables in the Philippines. If I were a celebrity chef, this would be called a fusion dish. But since I am no celebrity chef, the usual snobs and purists will probably label this as bastardized Filipino cooking. But then who the heck cares about the small minds of snobs and purists? This is a delicious dish and worth making once, twice and over and over again. »