A GOOD CASE OF Wobbly Feet
While it may be not the most popular cut of a hog, the pig’s trotter makes for a piquant and collagen-rich Teochew delicacy when turned into a gelatinous dish
Ham, pork belly and pork ribs are parts of the pig we are most familiar with, as they are widely consumed around the world. But the same cannot be said for the pig’s trotter, which is often overlooked.
While the trotter lacks a significant amount of meat, it contains a good proportion of skin, bones, fat and connective tissue, which adds a flavoursome punch to any dish. The trotter’s large quantities of fat and collagen also allow it to gelatinise and be turned into pig’s trotter jelly, a traditional Teochew dish known for its “lip-sticking quality”, says chef Ng Chong Guan of JUMBO Group of Restaurants. This traditional delicacy’s origins can be traced back to Swatow, a city located in China’s Guangdong Province.
Pig's trotter jelly must be served cold and preferably immediately out of the refrigerator, as the jelly-like texture will disintegrate if left at room temperature. In the olden days, it had to be left outdoors to cool and gelatinise naturally—the cooler climate in Swatow helped. Ng shares that an alternative to pork would be to use parts of the shark, since the fish’s skin has similar gelatinising properties as the trotter, due to the high amount of collagen it contains.