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Club soda is usually just carbonated water, and the carbon dioxide will be quickly driven by heating. If this recipe came from China instead of Toronto, I'd postulate that the club soda was used because the water was purified, but I think tap water is drinkable in Toronto. Looking at the recipe, blanching with plain water would produce the same end result.

I'd be more concerned that pork belly is really the cut of meat used. The recipe calls for pork belly with skin and bones. In my experience, pork belly doesn't have bones. This sounds more like a cut like what is sold in my neighborhood as uncut country-style ribs.
 

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I just learned something very interesting that might relate to the pork in club soda.
Heston Blumenthal is a chef from England ( where they have water with a high level of minerals, aka 'hard' water) and he was sying that sometimes he cooks lentils in bottled water because it has less calcium in it than tap water, and calcium toughens protein.
Just an idea, but maybe the club soda is just to help the meat stay tender.
 

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I've had meat (usually pork) marinated in Coke/Pepsi or Sprite/7-Up and other flavourings. I have no idea if using just water and more sugar would have produced the same texture and flavour, but those grilled pork dishes are usually very tasty, tender and moist. There's also baked ham glazed with Coke; I haven't tried that, but I've seen it on at least a couple of food shows.
 

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I was actually hoping that someone else had tried the ham with a Coke glaze. I've never tried it myself, but it's in Nigella Lawson's How to Eat and her recipes usually taste quite good to me. I just haven't had an occassion to bake a whole ham.
 
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