Question - Pork fat at the supermarket

Is the pork fat sold in the fridges near the meat at the supermarket refined, or just rendered, does anybody know? There’s no information to this effect on the package for the products I’ve seen at PX and Carrefour.

By refined I mean put through the machinery you would for any typical seed oil, degumming, deodorizing etc. In contrast, in some more regional areas of Taiwan I believe you can buy rendered pork fat from the butcher, which is obviously a far less processed product. I have my suspicions, but curious which one the one at the supermarket is.

Back when there was a pork fat food safety scare, there were a lot of discussions on the subject. I think most pork fat on the market is directly heated and then went through some machinery to remove unwanted bits and shaped into a block.

The process more common in the UK and the US heats the pork fat in water, and slowly brings the water to a higher temperature and collects the fat on the surface.

There are some pork fat here in Taiwan that also claim to use the water method, just a lot less common.

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Id just buy some fatty pork, fry it and collect the oil to use in cooking

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My feeling is this step is just a regular tallow refinement process, as why would they invent a bespoke process just for pork lard right?

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The pork fat at the market is literally cut out of a pig, not processed at all. But it isn’t hard to process it yourself. Just heat it and the fat renders out, and filter it with a cheesecloth to get the unwanted bits out.

I don’t know about PX mart but considering how they are refrigerated, they are probably not all that processed. This is in contrast to lard sold in the US which is not sold refrigerated but in the pantry, which means they are partially hydrogenated to make them shelf stable. That makes them less healthy.

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There still must be massive amounts of fat by-product, from both the chicken and pork stalls at the markets. I’m presuming it is all bought back and processed up for tallow. There’s no way it is wasted. The chicken vendors at the markets are always keen to take the skin off your chicken breast, I’ve seen it goes into its own little pile, presumably bought back in bulk off the vendor.

If you mean the stuff in 500g pots, it’s a tasteless, neutral fat. So I’m guessing it’s processed in some way. Rendered pigfat is more pig-flavoured.

I do mean that stuff in 500g tubs, it is technicolor white and aesthetically faultless, just as the Taiwanese consumer demands!

It’s great for making tamales.


I just enquired at the markets for a point of comparison. You can buy what looks like a collection of skin and caul fat, for 35 per jin, at least at my local markets. You then obviously have to render this yourself.

Comparing to the refined product available at the supermarket, aside from the obvious benefits of longer shelf life and neutral taste, it’s plausible that refining would likely have removed some of the heavy metal contaminants, if present, in the raw product. And using it is less work.