This year we're marking the hundred-day countdown to Best of Phoenix 2015 by sharing some of our favorite dishes at restaurants all over the Valley. Have a suggestion for a dish you'd like us to try? Leave it in the comments section or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Pork Belly Buns at Nobuo at Teeter House
Every time I dine at Nobuo at Teeter House for lunch, I sit in the quiet dining room of the downtown Phoenix restaurant, surrounded by several empty tables, and wonder why the hell the place isn't packed. After all, where else can you get food from a James Beard Award winning chef at these kinds of prices? We're talking about $10 for a soft-shell crab sandwich and $14 for a warm duck salad that features perfectly cooked slices of fowl and a bowl of gently wilted lettuce. It's beautiful stuff and you could spend more for a burrito and chips at Chipotle.
So, when you're at chef Nobuo Fukuda's Heritage Square restaurant for lunch (probably kicking yourself for not getting there sooner), do yourself a favor and order the pork belly buns. These aren't just some ploy to put "pork belly" on the menu because it's a trendy cut of meat. These are sandwiches that require both hands for eating and come stuffed with thick slices of possibly the best pork belly you'll ever eat.
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Fukuda cooks the pork so that the meat is tender and moist, but not running over with fat. And it's just the right balance between sweet and savory. Topped with pickled mustard greens and a slice of cucumber, these buns make a perfect sharable starter or a deeply satisfying light lunch. Even the fluffy white mantou buns are like something out of a dream. When you've devoured all the ingredients they once cradled inside, take joy in the fact that the pork belly juices will have seeped in and left you with an ideal final bite.