Smoky, succulent and tender enough to tease apart with your fingers, pulled pork is an American barbecue classic. The quintessential Southern dish, however, is still a rarity in Japan, where the slow-cooked hog has yet to make significant inroads with Japanese foodies.

That's why it came as a pleasant surprise for Jonathan Levin, owner of Fatz's The San Franciscan restaurant, when his pulled pork sandwich began being touted as the next "big thing."

"Do I think it's going to be the next tapioca? No," says the 38-year-old, referring to the recent craze over Taiwanese bubble tea. "Making good pulled pork requires time and space, something difficult to come by in Japan. But maybe you'll see a pulled pork sandwich being sold in convenience stores," he says. "And that's good for us, because we're going to take the time and we have the space. If you want to eat authentic pulled pork, we have it."