Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roasted Animals Are Tasty (Oink)

Pulled Pork Sandwich

I was in Edinburgh more than two weeks ago, and I have since visited Cardiff and Paris, so this post is more than a bit overdue. Now I know what other bloggers mean when they say they've fallen behind on their posts. Anywho, as I was wandering the streets of Edinburgh in search of a quick lunch near the castle, I came across Oink. First off, what a great name. Seriously, Oink? Add to that the fact that the storefront is accented with a flamboyant shade of hot pink, and you've caught my attention from afar. But wait, it gets better. As I approached the storefront, I was greeted by the sight of a whole-roasted pig, head and all, staring back at me through the window. Sure, I loved Babe just as much as the next child, but any time a roasted animal is presented to me, any affectionate childhood memories I may have had are pushed to the backburner.

Since I'm Chinese, I am perfectly comfortable with and used to seeing animals cooked whole, head and all. Suckling pigs, steamed fish, and roasted chickens are all commonly prepared and served with their heads still on, so seeing a cooked animal head isn't particularly shocking. But for some reason, many Americans get freaked out or disgusted by seeing animal heads. Does the fact that the animal's head is still on somehow make the food seem more alive or less suitable for consumption? I don't know, it just seems so irrational to me when someone is grossed out by seeing a cooked chicken head but is perfectly content with eating chicken wings and drumsticks from the KFC down the street. They all come from the same animal, so what's the big deal? Besides, when was the last time you had a whole-roasted animal that wasn't delicious? Right, never.

Insert comment about glass' refractive index here
Okay, moving on to the actual food. Well, if you couldn't tell by the name of the store or the fact that there's a roasted pig sitting in front of the window, Oink specializes in hog roasts. There's one thing and one thing only on their menu: pulled pork sandwiches. The only choices you have are the size of the sandwich and the type of roll, spread, and relish. Since I'm a fatass and of the belief that there is a positive correlation between the amount of meat on a sandwich and said sandwich's tastiness, I went with the "Grunter," which has more than eight ounces of pork stuffed inside of a soft roll. Topped with haggis and both the apple and chili relishes and crowned with a piece of crispy pork crackling, this was a behemoth of a sandwich and quite a sight to behold. Not greasy in the slightest and with all of the subcutaneous fat rendered, the pork crackling was superb, reminiscent of the crisp skin that you would get with a Chinese suckling pig. The sandwich, overflowing with so much meat that you can't even see the bottom bun in the pictures, was exactly what you would expect more than half a pound of pork stuffed inside of a roll to taste like: insanely delicious and fatty. The meat was actually a bit on the dry side, but that's where the haggis, apple relish, and chili relish came into play, as they all helped to add a bit of moisture to the sandwich without completely soaking the bun. 

Ten minutes and countless napkins later, I sat back in my seat with an immense feeling of satisfaction. I'm no pulled pork connoisseur, but this was most certainly a terrific rendition of the sandwich, so much so in fact that I hopped back on line to get another sandwich for my dinner on the train ride home that evening. £4.60 for a sandwich of this size is an extremely fair deal, and I walked away perfectly sated and content. If I should ever find myself back in Edinburgh sometime in the future, Oink would definitely be near the top of my list of places to visit. 

34 Victoria Street
Edinburgh EH1 2JW
United Kingdom


  1. We spent 3 days in Edinburgh this summer. This was the best meal by far. Loved that pig, loved the condiments, loved that it was sunny and warm so we could enjoy the food outdoors on Grassmarket, sitting on a bench with the pigeons.

  2. @Anonymous: I'm glad that you loved the pork as much as I did! I wasn't patient enough to take the sandwich out to the Grassmarket; I just plopped down at the counter and scarfed my sandwich down. #imafatty