Pork and apples. It's one of those flavour combinations that just works. Think of the beautiful English classic pork roast: all golden crackling accompanied by a bowl of tart apple sauce, made from big green Bramleys. Think of Spanish morcilla (made, of course, from pig's blood) fried with chunks of apple. Or a glass of rough, medium-dry cidre de Normandie served with a ham-stuffed buckwheat pancake. Yum. Factor in the other sweet, sour and pungent ingredients in this Asian-accented dish - the sweetness from the palm-sugar glaze, the tang from the pickled watermelon, the heat from the ginger and chilli - and a sweet, appley drink becomes an even more obvious choice of liquid partner. Sweet cider is traditional in most apple-producing countries: you'll find deep-golden examples made from bittersweet fruit in the West Country of the UK, and wonderfully rich doux (sweet) cidre from Normandy. I find many Australian sweet apple ciders lack the complexity of these Old World classics, but there are very good examples of pear cider being produced locally that do manage to achieve some lovely layers of flavour and balanced sweetness. Cheers.
Pork and apple are perfect partners, writes Max Allen, but occasionally you can allow a pear to come between them.