What got me started in charcuterie: the quest for “proper” bacon in Japan. For me, it would be pork belly that is cured but not smoked, usually with something sweet added to the cure to offset the saltiness. I’ve made this bacon with white sugar, Demerara sugar, Okinawan brown sugar and different types of honey but so far the best results have come from using Japanese kibisatoh from Hokkaido. Some Englishmen may argue that bacon should be made with loin, to make the kind of back bacon common to the greasy-spoon English breakfast; the same recipe works just as well with that cut too, with a slightly longer curing time. Anyone can make this bacon at home without any specialist equipment or fuss, and it is a far, far cry from the horrid watery abominations on offer in Japanese supermarkets.