Best Bites: Phat Thai's Pork Belly and Brussels Sprouts

January 2013

One of the axioms of Southeast Asian cuisine is the enticing interplay of salty, sweet, hot, and sour flavors. At Phat Thai in Cherry Creek, the crisp sweet pork belly with Brussels sprouts embodies that balancing act. This small plate (which, in actuality, is large enough to share) is chef-owner Mark Fischer's winter spin on the popular crisp pork with watermelon dish that appeared on the summer menu.

Here, sweet cubes of lacquered pork (these are rich enough to stand in for dessert) join fried-to-crispy, halved Brussels sprouts. Those two ingredients alone are a lock for a crowd-pleaser, but Fischer pushes the flavors further. He offsets the meat's decadence with slivers of crunchy, tropical-tasting Green Dragon apple, a tumble of fresh herbs heavy on the cilantro and Thai basil, and a douse of sour-funky fish sauce vinaigrette.

Try this dish and I think you'll find it as magical as I do. Order it as an entrée (and at $10, a well priced one), or share it around the table.

Sip This: For drinks, I'm partial to the Thai tea, a strong and sweet iced tea mixed with evaporated milk, or the drinking vinegars.

2900 E. Second Ave., 303-388-7428

Follow Amanda M. Faison on Twitter at @5280Eats and on Pinterest.